Director, Vatican Museums
“In the summer of 1508, Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo and Rafael to come to Rome to paint the Sistine Chapel and the Room of the Signatura. It was like a miracle: two of the most important artists of the moment together in Rome, thanks to a pope that understood their genius".
The Dispute over the Sacrament is in the heart of the Vatican Museums and it’s celebrating 500 years of its completion.
It’s an allegory of theological truth. It represents this through the glory of the Eucharist adored by the triumphant Church in heaven and the militant one on earth.
The fresco is in the Room of the Signatura in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, right in front of one of Raphael’s other frescoes, the School of Athens, an allegory of philosophical truth. That’s why many interpret this room as a confrontation between theological truth and philosophical truth.
Besides being known as the “Dispute over the Sacrament,” this work of art has no intrinsic controversy.
Five hundred years after Raphael’s final stroke of his brush, it’s only an apparent controversy, because they aren’t truths that contradict each other.