Constantine's Vision of the Cross
St. Peter depicted to the left of Constantine's vision of the cross.
Raphael was commissioned to paint the hall in 1517, which was to serve as a state room where Leo X would receive his formal audiences.
Some scholars believe that the throne of the pope sat directly beneath the painting of Constantine's vision of the cross between the images of St. Peter and St. Clement, whose likeness was based on Leo X's face.
The Vision of the Cross fresco depicts a key event said to have been a step towards Constantine's conversion to Christianity. The fresco depicts the emperor in a military camp looking toward a giant cross in the sky that is surrounded by Greek words saying, "In this sign, conquer."
The images are based on the fourth century historian Eusebius' "Life of Constantine" with a notable exception: Raphael chose to paint Constantine's vision of the cross as taking place on the Vatican hill.
The Battle of Milvian Bridge
The largest fresco in the room shows Constantine's battle at the Milvian bridge with his brother-in-law Maxentius, a rival imperial claimant.
In the scene, Constantine is victorious. He rides triumphantly on his white horse leading the banners topped with crosses, while Maxentius drowns in Rome's Tiber River.
Raphael sketched the concept for this scene, along with Constantine's Vision of the Cross. However, according to art historian Philipp Fehl, Raphael originally intended the wall which became the Donation of Constantine to be a different scene depicting Constantine's vision of Ss. Peter and Paul instructing him to seek St. Sylvestor to cure his leprosy.
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The Baptism of Constantine
At the end of his life, Constantine was baptized by St. Sylvester. Romano and the other artists in Raphael's studio painted the baptism as taking place in the Baptistery of the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran. Pope Sylvester is painted with the likeness of Clement VII, who was pope at the time of the Hall of Constantine's completion.
The panel below the Baptism of Constantine depicts the 16th century construction of what we now know as St. Peter's Basilica.
The Donation of Constantine