Painted by Raphael’s workshop, the frescos in the Vatican Museums’ Hall of Constantine tend to receive less attention than those in the three other famed Raphael’s Rooms executed by the Renaissance master himself. Although Raphael had designed the entire room, he died prematurely in 1520, leaving behind his sketches for students to follow. New findings, however, reveal that he actually did leave his mark on the hall, in the form of two allegorical female figures portraying the virtues of Friendship and Justice.
As the Vatican Television Center first announced, the discovery occurred during the hall’s restoration, which began in March 2015. The figures are easy to overlook, both positioned at the fringes of frescos, away from any main action. Friendship, who wears a blue gown, is tucked into a corner of the hall, perched to the left of a seated portrait of Clement I, which occupies the edge of the Vision of the Cross. ... As art historian Arnold Nesselrath explained to the daily La Stampa, 16th-century sources had noted that Raphael had painted two figures in the rooms; experts, though, were unable to confirm the works until the recent restorations, which showed that “they are of a much higher quality than what’s around,” according to Nesselrath.