The Fire in the Borgo
ArtistGiulio Romano, following original design by Raphael
Dimensions670 cm (22.0 ft) wide
LocationApostolic Palace, Vatican City

The Fire in the Borgo is a painting created by the workshop of the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael between 1514 and 1517.[1] Though it is assumed that Raphael did make the designs for the complex composition, the fresco was most likely painted by his assistant Giulio Romano. The painting was part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. It depicts Pope Leo IV halting a fire in 847 with a benediction from a balcony in front of the Old St. Peter's Basilica.[1] The mural lends its name to the Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo ("The Room of the Fire in the Borgo").

Various perils are represented in this work. In one part we see a number of women whose hair and clothes are blown about by the terrible fury of the wind as carrying vessels full of water on their heads and in their hands they hurry to put out the fire. There are others bewildered and blinded by the smoke as they try to throw water on the flames. On the other side is depicted an infirm old man, distraught by his weakness and the flames of the fire, being carried (as Virgil describes Anchises being carried by Aeneas) by a young man whose face expresses his strength and courage and whose body shows the strain of carrying the figure slumped on his back. He is followed by a dishevelled, bare-footed old woman fleeing from the fire, and going before them is a naked child.


  1. ^ a b Regoli, Gigetta Dalli; Gioseffi, Decio; Mellini, Gian Lorenzo; Salvini, Roberto (1968). Vatican Museums: Rome. Italy: Newsweek. p. 125.

Further reading