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Exhibitions and records of works of art

Prince Albert recognised the importance of photography to record and document notable exhibitions and works of art


A study for the Disputa

c. 1857

Albumen print? | RCIN 2864402

A photograph of a drawing by Raphael (c.1509) currently in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle (RCIN 912732). The drawing is a preliminary study for the left half of the Disputa (The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament), painted by Raphael around 1508-09 in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican.

The decoration of Pope Julius II’s library in the Vatican Palace, a room now known as the Stanza della Segnatura, was Raphael's first major undertaking in Rome. The so-called 'Disputa' was probably the first of the large frescoes painted by Raphael in the Stanza della Segnatura.

Thirty sheets of studies survive for this fresco and the one catalogued here is the earliest surviving one. This drawing is laid out in a very similar way to the final fresco, with the exception of the role played by the architecture. See RCIN 912733 for a drawing by Raphael which represents a successive stage towards the definition of the pictorial programme of the fresco.

A copy of this photograph (RCIN 852394) can be found in the Prince Consort's Raphael Collection, portfolio 24 (970583)

  • Creator(s)

    After Raphael (Urbino 1483-Rome 1520) (artist)

    Charles Thurston Thompson (1816-68)


  • Acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

  • Subject(s)
    • Places
      • Europe
        • Italy
          • Lazio [Italy]
            • Rome [Lazio]
              • Vatican City [Rome]
                • Vatican Palace [Vatican City]
                  • Stanza della Segnatura [Vatican Palace]
                    • Vatican-Stanza della Segnatura-Disputa
    Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    Joannides 1983 : Joannides, P., 1983. The Drawings of Raphael, with a complete catalogue, Oxford
    p.181, no.197

    Clayton 1999 : Clayton, M. Raphael and his Circle. Drawings from Windsor Castle, London
    pp.68-72, no.16

    Jacoby/Sonnabend 2012: edited by J. Jacoby and M. Sonnabend, Frankfurt/Main 2012
    pp.131-3, no.15

    P&W : Popham, A.E. & Wilde, J., 1949. The Italian Drawings of the XV and XVI Centuries in the Collection of His Majesty The King at Windsor Castle, London
    no. 794