I was so disappointment last June when I visited Santa Maria del Popolo and the Chigi (kee gee) Chapel was closed for restoration. I despaired of ever seeing it, because repairs in Rome take so long. After my haircut this morning I braved the rain (will it EVER stop?) and dropped by the church, where I was shocked to find the Chigi Chapel open! Mamma mia!
In 1507 the Sienese banker Agostino Chigi, one of the richest men in the Roman Renaissance, hired Raphael to decorate the Chigi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo. Chigi knew Raphael from his work on Chigi’s Villa Farnesina. Raphael designed the chapel to look like St. Peter’s Basilica and copied the entrance arch from an ancient model of the Pantheon. He died (in 1520) before work began, and the chapel was completed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini more than a century later.
Somehow I missed taking a photo of my favorite statue, The Prophet Daniel, by Bernini. I love the lion licking Daniel’s foot!
So here is my Easter present to you—the Chigi Chapel in all its glory. Buona Pasqua!