Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Raphael Replica in the Malachite Hall

A replica of Raphael’s allegorical figures was created by the Italian painter of classicism Antonio Vigi in the Jasper Drawing Room. Vigi recreated the figures after the 1837 fire in the new Malachite Hall in the Winter Palace.

The central figure is called ‘Poetry’ from Raphael’s series ‘Stanza Della Segnatura’ in the Vatican. I describe in my book Vigi’s use of the old technique by order of Nicholas I in applying the figures on the white imitation marble. The seams visible on the wall, misidentified as cracks, reproduce the appearance of authentic marble.

Photograph (below) of Vigi’s replica of Raphael’s allegorical figure ‘Poetry’ in the Malachite Hall

Photograph (below) or Raphael’s ‘Poetry’ c1508 in the Vatican

The cupid on the left holds a tablet with the letters NVMI NE and on the right AFFLA TVR. What words do the Latin letters represent? If it was in English, Raphael would be known as another Nostradamus with the premonition, 300 years in the future, that Nicholas I (N I) and Alexandra (AF) would reign!

Photographs (below) of ‘Night’ and ‘Day’ allegorical figures next to ‘Poetry’ in the Malachite Hall


  1. Very interesting; I never knew the background of those images! One thing: in Ukhtomsky's watercolor of the room, there is a large, simple frame - gilded bronze, plaster, or simply painted on, I don't know - that surrounds and contains all three groups. I wonder when and why it was removed, and why it was never restored? (Frankly, I think that wall looks very odd without it.)

  2. The phrase is Latin, numine afflatur and means "inspired by the spirit". The usual word for the Holy Spirit is "spiritus" and "numen"

  3. Thank you very much. It clarifies for me a part of my book relating to the 2nd floor west section about Nicholas I and Latin!