The Raphael Cartoons are considered one of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance. These huge, full-scale designs for tapestries were created by Raphael – one of the most important masters of the Renaissance period. Commissioned by Pope Leo X, shortly after his election in 1513, for the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Palace, the Cartoons depict key episodes of the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the founding fathers of the Christian church.
The Healing of the Lame Man (Acts 3: 1 – 8)
This scene depicts the first miracle performed by Peter – an event which symbolises his spiritual healing power and conversion of the Jews to Christianity.
Peter, in the centre of the painting wearing a blue cloak and yellow tunic, holds the hand of a disabled man and asks him to rise and walk. The man is instantly cured and is able to stand and follow him into the Temple. The miracle takes place in front of the Beautiful Gate (Porta Speciosa) of the Temple in Jerusalem – the most sacred place in Judasim.
The corresponding tapestry was displayed in the Sistine Chapel on St Stephen day, 26 December, 1519. It is probable that Raphael saw it and even supervised its installation in the chapel.
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- Colour (visible paint layer) – Explore the Cartoon's paint layer, including Raphael's individual brushstrokes.
- 3D (surface layer) – Discover evidence of the Cartoon's treatment over the past 500 years, including any restoration work, by exploring its unique surface texture.
- Infrared (drawing layer) – Peer below the paint surface to Raphael's original charcoal underdrawings.
Select your layer from the key or use the scroll bar to transition between the layers and observe subtle differences between the charcoal underdrawing and the paint layer, and the paint layer and the surface texture.