The great Italian artist Rafael Santi early became an orphan, but the first experience as a painter acquired in the workshop of his father, who painted at the court of the Duke of Urbinsky. Later in his work, Rafael focused primarily on the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The vast majority of his works interpret religious themes, the most famous of which is the Sistine Madonna. However, in addition to religious paintings, the painter also creates secular portraits. Contemporaries noted the incredible similarities drawn with models; so, looking at the oil-painted portrait of Pope Julius the Second, “the people trembled, as with a living Pope.”
Villa Farnesina was built on the banks of the Tiber by banker Agostino Chigi – at that time it was a country residence. Huge funds were thrown at the construction: Kigi bought up works of art for his country house in many, and Raphael and his students were invited to paint the walls and ceilings. The Loggia of Psyche, one of the rooms of the villa, got its name by the name of the fresco depicted on its walls. This is the most vivid and expressive room in the house, preserved in good quality to this day.
As a basis for the plot of the frescoes, Raphael took the works of Apuleius. According to this poet, Psyche was a woman of incredible beauty, which caused jealousy of Venus itself (Aphrodite). The goddess sent her son Eros (Cupid) to lime beautiful. But Cupid fell in love with his sacrifice, and, having passed through many trials, joined up with his beloved on Mount Olympus. Raphael depicted the key moments of this story – but the most famous part of the mural is a fresco depicting the meeting of Psyche with the gods on Olympus. Genre scenes are framed by giant garlands of flowers and fruits. Once Farnesina was surrounded by gardens with fruit trees, and these murals seemed to be a natural continuation of the blooming garden outside the windows.