Raphael, Ceiling of the Stanza della Segnatura

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The Four Ceiling Tondos

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For the symbolism in the tondi, see the discussion of each of the murals over which they preside.

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The Four Ceiling Panels

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Each of the ceiling panels corresponds to one of the murals below:

Adam and Eve -- The Disputations

The Prime Mover --  The School of Athens

Judgment of Solomon -- The Virtues

Apollo and Marsayas -- Parnassus

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The Elements

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EARTH

Top: Roman Consul Lucius Junius Brutus sentences his own sons to death for their atempt to reinstate monarchy in Rome by raising Lucius Tarquinius Superbus to the throne.

Bottom: giants bound to the earth

AIR

Top: Amphitrite fleeing Neptune hides with protectors on the Island of Atlas.

Bottom: Amphitrite, mounted on a dolphin, uses the wind in a sail to flee from Neptune

FIRE

Top: Mucius Scaevola, to emphasize his willingness to suffer pain in the service of Rome, thrusts his right hand in the burning flame of the altar of the Etruscan king

Bottom: Vulcan at his forge

WATER

Top: The Sabine Mettius Curtius, rather than surrendering to the pursuing Romans, commits suicide by drowning in the marshy waters of the Lacus Curtius.

Bottom: Satyr anoints the heads of lovers a pair of lovers

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Keystone Panel with Papal Coat of Arms

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The two crossed "Keys of Peter" represent the divinely-given papal power to bind and release events on earth.

Above the keys, the tiara symbolizes the supreme authority invested in the papacy.

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