Borgia Apartment  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Borgia Apartment is a suite of rooms in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.



The Borgia Apartment was adapted for personal use by Pope Alexander VI (Rodrígo de Borgia).

In the late 15th century, he commissioned the Italian painter Bernardino di Betto (Pinturicchio) and his studio to decorate them with frescos.

The paintings and frescoes, which were executed between 1492 and 1494, drew on a complex iconographic program that used themes from medieval encyclopedias, adding an eschatological layer of meaning and celebrating the supposedly divine origins of the Borgias.


The works in the apartment are now considered part of the Vatican Library.

The upper part of the walls and vaults are not only covered with paintings but are further enriched with delicate stucco work in relief. The main subjects of the five rooms completed by Pinturicchio are:

A sixth room was repainted by Perin del Vaga.


There are a number of individual rooms in the apartment including:

  • The Room of the Sibyls
  • The Room of the Creed
  • The Room of the Liberal Arts
  • The Room of the Saints
  • The Room of the Faith.

However, as the apartment was closely associated with the disgraced Borgia family, it was abandoned in 1503 after the death of Pope Alexander VI.

Modern use

In 1889 Pope Leo XIII had the rooms restored and opened for public viewing.

Most of the rooms are now used for the Vatican Collection of Modern Religious Art, inaugurated by Pope Paul VI in 1973.

The collection includes about 600 accumulated works of painting, sculpture and graphic art; donations of contemporary Italian and foreign artists and includes works by Gaugin, Chagall, Klee and Kadinsky.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Borgia Apartment" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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