Raphael and Pinturicchio

Raphael and Pinturicchio Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral

Raphael and Pinturicchio used themselves as models in various scenes. For example, in the Canonisation of St. Catherine of Siena, the young man in dark red tights (center of this photo) is frequently interpreted to be the young Raphael standing next to the older Pinturicchio (with red cap).

The Piccolomini Library (Libreria Piccolomini) inside Siena Cathedral is a colorful Renaissance highlight in the otherwise predominantly Romanesque-Gothic Duomo. It was commission by Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini (1439-1503), archbishop of Siena, and later (for less than a month) Pope Pius III to honor his uncle Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (1405-1464) who was Pope Pius II (1458-1464).

The early 16th-century frescoes by Pinturicchio, with some help from Raphael, show ten scenes from the life of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini. They are further elaborated by painted architectural details and especially on the ceiling by mythological figures. Biblical symbols were rarely used.