Raphael Rooms Making Headlines
While the Sistine Chapel will be closed as the Cardinals gather to choose a new Pope, visitors of the Vatican can still enjoy the magnificent "Raphael Rooms". This particular fresco is called The Disputation of the Sacrament and was created in 1508/9.
Italian-Renaissance-Art.com explains the painting as "two groups of religiously minded people on either side of an alter. They are discussing, rather than disputing, the meaning of Heaven. Above them, seated on a cloud, are saints and prophets with Christ in the centre flanked by the Madonna and St John."
The NY Times just ran a very interesting story about the 30 year restoration process of Raphael's frescoes. In it, Prof. Arnold Nesselrath, a delegate for the scientific department and laboratories of the Vatican Museums explains how Raphael was a "very adventurous artist, and continually experimented, so from this point of view these frescoes are more unique than Michelangelo’s,” he said. Check out the full article here.
During my visit I took more pictures in the Raphael rooms than any other part of the museum. Sure the Sistine Chapel lives up to all the hoopla, but all of the Raphael frescoes are absolute masterpieces that deserve an equal amount of attention to those of Michelangelo.
To achieve quality exposures in a dark museum, it's essential to raise the ISO. In many cases I was at ISO 1600 with an aperture of f4 in order to attain a fast enough shutter speed to prevent camera shake.
For an educational look at more of Raphael's work along with detailed explanations of each piece, I encourage you to visit this wonderful site.