The crowning of Charlemagne, which took place in St Peter's on Christmas night in the year 800, forms the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire. It is quite likely that the fresco refers to the Concordat of Bologna drawn up between the Holy See and the kingdom of France in 1515, since Leo III (pontiff from 795 to 816) is in fact a portrait of Leo X and Charlemagne that of Francis I.

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header image: School of Athens, detail
Raphael, 1510

Rebecca Daroff DiMattia • © 2006-2016 Contact
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