Vatican City, Aug 7, 2010 / 15:05 pm
The place of Raphael's “Transfiguration” in an art museum and not in a place of worship means the “most beautiful painting in the world” has lost most of its ability to speak, an article in L'Osservatore Romano has claimed. The Vatican newspaper says that the venue rendered the artwork into little more than an object.
Raphael's final work, the "Transfiguration" was painted on a wooden surface over a period of four years up until his death in 1620. Centuries ago it hung in a church. Since then, it has been on display in the Vatican Museums' Pinacoteca, or picture gallery, for the last 200 years.
The painting draws from St. Matthew's Gospel. In its upper portion is the Transfigured Christ with Moses and Elijah. At their feet are Peter, James, and John. In the foreground are the other Apostles and onlookers, including a possessed young man recounted in the gospel.
Giorgio Vasari, Raphael's 16th century biographer and noted artist himself, described the work as "the most famous, the most beautiful and most divine."