A view down the loggia
A section of ceiling with scenes from the life of David

The Vatican loggias (Italian: Logge di Raffaello) are a corridor space in the Apostolic Palace, originally open to the elements on one side. Their construction was begun by Donato Bramante in 1512[1]. They were decorated in fresco around 1519 by Raphael's large team of artists, with Giovanni da Udine involved. Because of the relative unimportance of the space, and a desire to copy the recently re-discovered Domus Aurea style of Ancient Roman painting, no large paintings were used, and the surfaces were mostly covered with grotesque designs on a white background, with paintings imitating sculptures in niches, and small figurative subjects in a revival of Ancient Roman style. This large array provided a repertoire of elements that were the basis for later artists creating grotesque decoration across Europe.[2]

The loggias now form part of the ceremonial route for distinguished visitors, but are not otherwise on the tourist route.

Between 1787-1792 the architect Giacomo Quarenghi constructed a full copy of the loggias, called the Raphael Loggias, in the Large Hermitage, Saint Petersburg.


The layout of the scenes in the loggia does not always align when transitioning from bay to bay. As a result, the table below does not display the biblical events in chronological order, but according to the orientation of the loggia itself.

The scheme of the ceiling of the Raphael Loggia from north to south is as follows:

East South West North
Bay I - The Creation
Separation of Light and Darkness Separation of Land and Water Creation of the Sun and Moon Creation of Animals
Bay II - Adam and Eve
The Fall of Man Expulsion from Eden The First Children The Creation of Eve
Bay III - Noah
The Ark on Mount Ararat The Sacrifice of Noah The Building of the Ark The Flood
Bay IV - Abraham
God and Abraham Lot Fleeing Sodom Abraham and Melchizedek Abraham and the Three Angels
Bay V - Isaac
Abimelech Spies and Isaac and Rebecca Isaac and Esau God and Isaac Isaac and Jacob
Bay VI - Jacob
Jacob and Laban Jacob Returns to Canaan The Dream of Jacob Jacob and Rachel
Bay VII - Joseph
The Treachery of Potiphar's Wife The Dreams of Pharaoh The Dreams of Joseph Joseph Sold by his Brothers
Bay VIII - Moses (I)
The Water Gushing from the Rock The Crossing of the Red Sea The Finding of Moses The Burning Bush
Bay IX - Moses (II)
The Pillar of Cloud Moses Presenting the Law Moses Receives the Tablets The Golden Calf
Bay X - Joshua
Crossing the Jordan River The Fall of Jericho The Halting of the Sun The Dividing of the Land Among the Tribes
Bay XI - David
David Sees Bathsheba The Triumph of David Samuel Anointing David David and Goliath
Bay XII - Solomon
The Construction of the Temple Solomon and the Queen of Sheba The Consecration of Solomon by Zadok The Judgement of Solomon
Bay XIII - Jesus
The Baptism of Christ The Last Supper The Nativity The Adoration of the Magi

See also