Art: Forgotten Frescoes

The modern world has never seen more than a faded hint of the magnificent frescoes executed by Raphael for the Vatican Palace's second-floor loggia. For three centuries after they were painted, the gallery's 13 bays had no windows; wind and rain tore at the pictures. Man was even more cruel: the frescoes were mutilated during the sack of Rome in 1527, later by Napoleon's troops in 1798; since then they have been botched by well-meaning restorers.

Last June workmen repairing a building connected to the loggia probed a wall which Pope Paul III had put up across one end of the gallery...

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