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Raphael's Skeleton at the Opening of his Tomb, c. 1833
After drawing by Vincenzo Camuccini
Lithograph. 380 x 505 mm
Inventory number: E1100
Raphael’s tomb in the church of S. Maria Rotonda (The Pantheon) in Rome was opened in September 1833 in order to see whether his skeleton was intact in its coffin. There was an old story to the effect that Raphael’s skull was not in the tomb. As a professor in the papal San Luca Academy of Art, Thorvaldsen was naturally present at the opening of the tomb. The skeleton was intact, and the artist Vicenzo Camuccini was given the sole right to portray the entire process of opening and closing the tomb. He did this in several drawings which were later made into lithographs by Giambattista Borani, so that they could be duplicated and sold in multiple copies. The present lithograph, showing the whole of Raphael Sanzio’s skeleton, is one of a series of four.