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The Vatican to begin restoring two recently discovered masterworks by Raphael

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The "lost" paintings were the last the artist ever painted

Experts have discovered two lost paintings from Renaissance artist Raphael, on the walls of the Vatican. The allegorical images depict feminine forms of “Justice” and “Friendship.” We know that Raphael was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint his private quarters, now called “The Raphael Rooms,” but now it seems that Raphael began to paint another large room “The Hall of Constantine” before his unexpected death at the age of 37.

After his death, the Vatican hired other artists to complete the large hall, and the two ladies painted by Raphael were long considered to have been created by his replacements. It was not until the restoration of these walls illuminated the unusual colors Raphael used that experts began to suspect that the ladies in question may have been painted by the master. By studying the images in ultraviolet and infrared photos experts have determined from the palate and brush strokes that this is the work of Raphael.

The masterpieces were determined to be the last that Raphael ever painted. CNN has the Vatican’s chief restorer for the project, Fabio Piacentini, commenting on the discovery:

“Knowing these were probably the last things he painted, you almost feel the real presence of the maestro.”

Restorers are preparing to begin a much larger effort to restore the pieces to their original splendor. The process is expected to last until 2022, at a cost of 2.7 million euros — $3.1 million. Much of the bill will be picked up by the Vatican’s Patrons of the Arts.

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