Giulio’s earliest independent activity was encountered in the previous section, and his work as Raphael’s principal assistant can be seen in pictures throughout the other thematic sections of the exhibition. But while Penni’s independent activity producing easel pictures can be placed in the category of Small Madonnas and Holy Families, Giulio was a more ambitious and versatile painter.
The works in this section are representative of the ways in which Giulio’s work developed when it was not constrained by Raphael’s guidance. The Dëesis (Christ in Glory with Saints) from Parma was probably commissioned from Raphael, but the surface execution is entirely by Giulio. It is the picture that best represents his surface handling at the very end of Raphael’s life. The cartoon of the Stoning of Saint Stephen was made in preparation for an altarpiece in Genoa which was also apparently commissioned from Raphael but only furnished after his death, including numerous changes introduced by Giulio. The Flagellation from the church of Santa Prassede in Rome was commissioned from Giulio by Cardinal Bibbiena, although its attribution remains controversial and some scholars claim that it is a later replacement of a lost painting by Giulio in which execution Caravaggio participated.