Recently, restoration work in the Vatican Museums led to the incredible discovery of two oil paintings by the famous Renaissance master Raphael Sanzio. The paintings were most likely his last.

One of Raphael's last paintings

One of Raphael’s last paintings Photo credit: CNN/ Channel 2 News

Recently, two oil paintings of the famous Italian Renaissance artist Raphael Sanzio were uncovered during the cleaning and restoration work of one of the rooms of the Vatican Museums. Experts claim that these paintings were Raphael’s last creations before he died prematurely at the age of 37 in 1520.

The figures of two women, one representing ‘Justice’ and the other representing ‘Friendship’, were painted on the walls of one of the rooms in the Vatican Palace by Raphael around 1519. However, he died before he was able to complete his work. After his death, other artists completed the artwork on the wall and the paintings were forgotten to this day.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Vatican restorer Fabio Piacentini told CNN. “Knowing these were probably the last things he painted, you almost feel the real presence of the maestro.”

In 1508, Pope Julius II hired Rafael to paint the walls of his private residence in the Vatican. The artist completed his work in three rooms, which later became known as the ‘Raphael Rooms’. He started working on the fourth and largest room and was planning to use oil paintings rather than his traditional fresco technique.

An ancient book from 1550 suggested that Rafael started working on the two paintings using oil. This clue led to the discovery. When the restorers had begun working on the walls, they identified two female figures painted in oil, while the rest of the room was done with frescos.