Friday, 17 May 2013

San Pietro in Montorio and other sights

From Santa Maria in Trastevere we climbed to the church of San Pietro in Montorio- a church I had heard about since it had been the titular of Giulio Cardinal de Medici who had commissioned Raphael's last great painting, "The Transfiguration". Originally intended for his Cathedral of Narbonne in southern France- the then cardinal had been simultaneously Archbishop of Florence, Archbishop of Narbonne and Bishop of Worcester- the painting had been unfinished at Raphael's death in 1520 and was installed instead in his titular church here where it remained until stolen by Napoleon. Returned to Rome following the Congress of Vienna  which dealt with matters arising from the Napoleonic Wars Raphael's painting found its final home in the Vatican Pinacoteca. Cardinal Giulio de Medici was elected Pope in 1523 as Clement VII in which role he was happily able to confirm that the marriage of Henry VIII and Queen Catherine was perfectly valid. Less happily, he had to retreat to the Castel Sant'Angelo(bottom picture) when Rome was sacked by the Imperial troops in 1527.
A curious feature of this church was the way we found the pews draped in heavy off-white blankets.These seemed somewhat heavy for dust sheets- which they reminded me of- nor did protection for repair work seem consistent with the unprotected sanctuary and altars.

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