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Neoclassical, Art, Renaissance, Raphael, Frescoes, Vatican Stanze, Antique Print, Rome, 1722


Raphael Sanzio d’Urbino (1483-1520) (after)
Francesco Faraone Aquila (c. 1676-c. 1740) (engraver)
In Tertio Conclavi, Plate 16
[In the Third Room: The Battle of Ostia]

from Picturae Raphaelis Sanctii Urbinatis ex aula et conclavibus Palatii Vaticani
[Paintings of Raphael Sanzio of Urbino, the court and the apartments of the Palace of the Vatican]

Domenico de’ Rossi, Rome: 1722
Engraving, uncolored
18.75 x 26 inches, plate mark
19.75 x 27 inches, overall

Large architectural study from a collection of 22 copperplate engravings of the ornamental frescoes designed by Raphael for the four rooms comprising the public part of the papal apartments at the Vatican. This engraving shows a fresco of the Battle of Ostia that decorates in the third room, The Stanza dell’Incendio del Borgo, which was prepared as a music room for Leo X. The painting depicts the triumphant aftermath of a naval battle to repel invading Saracen pirates in which captured prisoners step out of a boat and are brought before Pope Leo IV, seated on a platform at left. In 846 AD, Saracens had sacked Rome and raided basilicas of their treasures, including St. Peter’s. In 849, with Saracen pirate ships massed near Rome, Leo IV came to the fort at Ostia and blessed an Italian fleet of Papal, Neapolitan, Amalfitan and Gaetan ships that had joined forces to defend the coast. The Italians prevailed and Rome was never again threatened by Saracens. A four-line caption in Latin in the lower margin of this engraving discusses the scene.

Product description continues below.


Collectively, the rooms have come to be known as the Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael’s Rooms) after the magnificent frescoes, which are among the great achievements of Renaissance art. The paintings were originally commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1508, continued under Pope Leo X after 1513, and completed after Raphael’s death in 1520 by his assistants. The British Museum has this print in its collection.

Raphael was one of the three greatest artists of the Italian High Renaissance and an accomplished architect as well. As chief archeologist to the Pope, he was involved in the excavation of the ancient Golden House of Nero, and adapted many of the elaborate Roman frescoes he saw there in creating his own innovative painted wall and ceiling designs in the Vatican and private villas in Rome. Prints made after Raphael’s drawings, designs and paintings were produced during his lifetime by the engraver Marcantonio Raimondi (c.1470-1482 – c. 1527-1534). Raphael prints by other engravers were especially popular in the neoclassical period of the mid 18th century and early 19th century coinciding with the tremendous revival of interest in the classical art of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as the classicism of the Renaissance. Some of these prints served as references for architects and designers because many were based on frescoes that had been incorporated into interior architecture. This interest in Raphael, often reflected in prints, continued throughout the 19th century as he achieved legendary status.

Among the more famous prints after Raphael are series from the late 18th century illustrating his frescoes in the Vatican stanze (notably Picturae Raphaelis Sanctii Urbinatis,Rome: 1722); the Vatican loggia (notably Loggia di Rafaele nel Vaticano, Rome: 1772-77) and the Villa Farnesina in Rome (notably Psyches et Amoris Nuptiae ac Fabula, Rome: 1693). One popular set, variously issued as engravings and lithographs during the 19th century, shows details of Raphael’s allegorical frescoes of 12 hours of the day and night. A related set of engravings depicts the gods and goddesses of the Roman pantheon riding in chariots in their heavenly domain, probably representing the seven days of the week.

Francesco Faraone Aquila was an Italian intaglio engraver. Born in Palermo, he was trained by his uncle, Pietro Aquila, a renowned engraver. He went to Rome around 1690 and spent the remainder of his life there. Aquila was a prolific and skilled engraver. Much of his work documented artworks in Rome: statues, antiquities, architectural interiors, frescoes and paintings, including masterpieces by Raphael and Correggio. He also produced engravings after his own drawings. He contributed 59 engravings to Domenico de’ Rossi’s Studio d’Architettura Civile (Rome 1702-1721) and 22 to de’ Rossi’s Picturae Raphaelis Sanctii Urbinatis (Rome: 1722).

Domenico de’ Rossi (1659-1730) was a publisher in Rome. Born Domenico Freddiani, he was adopted in 1679 by Giovanni Giacomo de’ Rossi, the most influential publisher in Rome in the second half of the 17th century, who made him his heir. Domenico ran the publishing house from about 1691. His first major work was the fourth volume of Nuovi Disegni delle Architetture e Piante dei Palazzi di Roma (1699), a continuation of one of Giovanni’s important works on Roman architecture. Subsequently he published the three-volume work for which he is best known, Studio d’Architettura Civile (1702-1721) a major study of recent architecture in Rome. That work proved highly influential, facilitating the development of an international Baroque style by introducing architects in other regions of Italy and abroad to Roman Baroque architecture. De’ Rossi also published other volumes documenting architecture and architectural decorations such as frescoes, including Disegni di Vari Altari e Cappelle nelle Chiese di Roma (1713) and Picturae Raphaelis Sanctii Urbinatis (1722). Around 1720, de’ Rossi turned management of the firm over to his son Lorenzo Filippo. In 1738, the family sold the publishing business to the Pope.

Full publication information: Raph. Sanct. Urb. Inu. in Pal. Vat. Fran. Aquila del, et incid. Romae Typis Dominici de Rossi.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling. Margins slightly short but include platemark. Custom gold-leaf frame by APF Master Framers now with the usual overall light wear.


“Battle of Ostia.” Wikipedia. 16 August 2013. (27 August 2013).

Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 1, p. 219.

Grönert, Alexander. “Domenico De’ Rossi” in Evers, Berndt, ed. Architectural Theory from the Renaissance to the Present. Cologne: Taschen, 2003. pp. 148-150. Online at Google Books: (26 August 2013).

“Picturae Raphaelis Sanctii Urbinatis [Plate 18].” British Museum.

“Picturae Raphaelis Sanctii Urbinatis [Plate 19].” British Museum.

“Raphael Rooms.” Wikipedia. 6 May 2013. (26 August 2013).

Additional information


18th Century