Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello—these names are now normally associated with those genetically mutated animals known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by the younger generation.
But some people both young and old would still associate these four names with the talented Renaissance artists Michelangelo Buonarotti, Raphael Sanzio, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Donatello Bardi.
These names definitely ring a bell because they were the hands behind famous sculptures and paintings such as the Madonna of the Clouds, Mona Lisa, The Creation of Adam, and the Transfiguration. The said artworks are known all over the world and people travel to Italian cities just to see these works of art with their very own eyes.
But did you know that some of them—including what is believed to be the last two paintings of Raphael—can actually be found in Vatican City?
During the restoration of the Hall of Constantine which started five years ago, two paintings were discovered by a team of experts from the Restoration Laboratory of the Vatican Museums.
The artworks discovered were Iustitia (Justice) and Comitas (Friendship), which were both parts of an iconographic cycle dedicated to Constantine, painted by Raphael just before his untimely death in 1520 at age 37. The rest of the paintings were then made by some of his students and collaborators, Giulio Romano and Giovan Francesco Penni, to name two.
The two artworks were then carefully restored and were scheduled to be unveiled on April 20, the 500th anniversary of the painter’s death. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event had to be canceled. Instead, it was presented on May 13 to Barbara Jatta, Vatican Museums director, and some 20 other people including experts and technicians.
Before the discovery of Iustitia and Comitas, it was thought that the last painting created by Raphael was the Transfiguration, which he made in collaboration with Sebastiano del Piombo. It can also be found at the Vatican Museums in Vatican City.