Experience the splendours of the Renaissance from home on our virtual tour of the Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Museums with an expert art historian
duration 1 hour and a half
Relive the Golden Age of Renaissance Rome and get inside the mind of one of the greatest painters ever to pick up a brush on our virtual tour of the Raphael Rooms. Join art historian Dr Robert Huber to explore the magnificent suite of rooms that Raphael and his workshop frescoed in the Vatican palaces for the fearsome Pope Julius II at the start of the 16th century. With the aid of high quality photographs, videos and walkthroughs, find out why Raphael was considered to be touched with the divine by his contemporaries, and how his extraordinarily harmonious paintings at the Vatican would shape the story of art for centuries to come. Get the full story behind his iconic School of Athens, and learn all about Raphael’s epoch-defining rivalry with Michelangelo, who was hard at work in the Sistine Chapel as Raphael fashioned his own masterpieces nearby. Our virtual tour is the next best thing to being here: join us today!
Hi. I’m Robert. I grew up outside Philadelphia in Southern New Jersey. From a young age I was attracted to history, the arts and culture, which eventually led me to Europe several times. In 1995 I came to Rome to study the History of Art at the Temple University Study Abroad Program. In 2000 while attending graduate school, I received a Temple Rome Fellowship grant in Art History to research my Master’s Thesis and hold classes at the Temple Rome campus, where I continue to teach. In 2016 I passed the Italian state written and oral exams to become a licensed tour guide, which allowed me to give tours for Through Eternity of Rome’s churches, museums and archaeological sites ever since. After years of further research for my doctoral degree, I finally was awarded a PhD from KU Leuven, Belgium. I live in Rome and feel very fortunate to do so.
The world of travel might be on hold right now, but just because we're all staying at home to help the world overcome a common enemy doesn't mean we have to put our wanderlust on the back burner. Frustrated with not being able to get our travel fix, we decided to transform our award-winning tours into immersive virtual experiences, meaning you can still explore Italy’s spectacular archaeological sites and jaw-dropping museums from the comfort of your own home.
* Please note that the booking times are in US Eastern Standard Time and Rome, Italy CET is 6 hours ahead *
Fun and informative, our virtual tours take the form of online real-time presentations led by our expert guides. Combining videos, high-definition photos and more, our guides will be sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with you on these interactive walkthroughs of Italy’s most fascinating sites. The live format of our virtual tours means you’ll be able to ask your guide anything you wish, just like on a normal tour. We really believe it's the next best thing to being here!
If you cannot find a scheduled time for our virtual tours that work for you, please contact us directly and we would be delighted to set up a private virtual tour for you and your group!
As a sign of our gratitude to those who are on the front line fighting the Coronavirus, we would be more than happy to invite all first responders, health workers and NHS workers to join our Virtual Tours for free. Please message our office staff directly.
Please note that the proceeds from our online tours go directly to our guides, providing them with a valuable lifeline in these tough times for the world of travel. Thank you for your support!
Join art historian Robert to gain a unique insight into the mind of the man that history would come to know as the ‘Prince of Painters,’ an artist whose brush was thought to be guided by the hand of God himself. Born into the world of the Renaissance court in the spectacular hill town of Urbino, from his earliest years the precocious Raphael was amply endowed with the gentilezza required of the Renaissance courtier. After a highly successful apprenticeship with the Umbrian master Perugino, the ambitious Raphael made his way south to Rome and the Papal Court of Julius II, who was to become arguably the greatest patron of art the Renaissance had ever known.
Known as the ‘warrior pope’ for his fearsome personality, on ascending to the Papal throne Pope Julius soon decided that his private Vatican apartments weren’t up to scratch. On our virtual tour of the Raphael Rooms you’ll find out how Julius called in Raphael to adorn his suite of rooms with magnificent frescoes, an attempt to upstage the work that Pinturicchio had done for the Borgia pope Alexander VII’s apartments a decade before. Learn about the fearsome personality of Julius and his relationship with Raphael.
Each of the 4 rooms that Raphael and his workshop would paint for the Pope is spectacular in its own right, and you’ll get the lowdown on the meanings of the frescoes on our virtual tour. Robert will take you through each of the Stanze in turn: Sala di Costantino, the Stanza di Eliodoro, the Stanza della Segnatura and the Stanza dell’Incendio del Borgo.
Discover how Raphael painted the philosophers of antiquity with the faces of his contemporaries in his iconic School of Athens, and learn how the Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple is a masterpiece of papal propaganda. Admire the dramatic Liberation of Saint Peter, where the apostle is freed from prison by an angel in a blinding moonlit night painted with jaw-dropping virtuosity, and unravel the theatrically action-packed Fire in the Borgo, where Rome is in flames and only the Pope can save the day.
As Raphael and his workshop were busily adorning the Pope’s private quarters with frescoes, another towering figure of the Italian Renaissance was in the process of creating his own era-defining masterpiece nearby. On our virtual tour, learn how Michelangelo was painting his epic Sistine Chapel ceiling when Raphael arrived at the Vatican, and the rivalry that drove the two men to ever greater heights of achievement. Discover how Raphael and the cantankerous Michelangelo were polar opposites in their characters as well as their art, and the seismic impact that their rival theories of representation would have on artists for centuries to come.
5.0 (2 reviews)
As always, Rob is engaging, knowledgeable and interesting. His tours are so much fun and so informative.
Splendid Beauty Serving a Philosophcal Agenda
Throughout this endlessly fascinating virtual tour Robert uses his impressive research and erudition to take us deep "inside the mind of Raphael," as the overview promises. If you've been lucky enough to stand in awe in front of "The School of Athens" and other epic masterpieces in the four Raphael rooms at the Vatican, you know that it's impossible to pay attention to all the beauty and power of the frescoes while being jostled by so many people. If you have not yet seen the works in person, Robert will prepare and motivate you to observe them with your eyes, mind, and heart fully engaged. Situating Raphael and this papal commission within cultural and intellectual contexts, Robert is especially gifted at unpacking the iconography, the allegorical, philosophical, and political meanings behind the paintings. Some may wish for a little more direct attention to the overwhelming beauty, to the aesthetics of the frescoes--to their "splendors. " But few could ask for a deeper dive into Raphael's sophisticated artistic agenda.