The St. Cecilia Altarpiece is a notable oil painting of the Italian High Renaissance era, by the master artist Raphael. It portrays St. Cecilia, who is regarded as the patron saint of church music and musicians, while listening to an angelic choir in the company of many other significant figures from Christianity. The painting was completed around 1516-17 and can be found in Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
A focal point of the St. Cecilia Altarpiece is how skillfully Raphael integrated various themes into his painting through characters’ symbolism. For instance, on both sides of St. Cecilia are figures that denote specific virtues such as purity regained through atonement or innocence and patronage within the church’s context.
This artwork is also notable for its adaptations across different forms beyond paintings. Reproductions appear in stained glass windows in churches across Europe; this gives a good indication of just how significant and pervasive Raphael’s artistry has been within religious cultural contexts.