THE EXPULSION OF HELIODORUS|
FROM THE TEMPLE
1512, 24'4" at base, Fresco
Raphael placed the agonized high priest beside the
distant altar under the golden dome at the center of the composition;
on the right, as spoils are being carried out, Heliodorus is thrust to
the ground. His men are horrified by the miracle unfolding before
them. On the opposite side of the painting, Julius II, carried on his
litter, intensely follows the events. Onias, at the altar, also has
Julius's features, and his presence in this scene raises the
likelihood of its contemporary relevance; there is, in fact, good
reason to associate the painting with the rebellious cardinals who,
encouraged by the French king Louis XII, had called a council at
Pisa to depose Julius in 1511, but it ended in conspicuous failure.
The Apocryphal narration concludes with the sparing of Heliodorus's
life through the prayers of Onias.