Wishes Do Come True: The Chigi Chapel

Looking into the chapel - the altarpiece is the "Birth of Venus," by Sebastiano del Piombo and Francesco Salviati

Looking into the chapel – the altarpiece is the “Birth of Venus,” begun by Sebastiano del Piombo and completed around 1555 by Francesco Salviati

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!

Ciao!

Dome - designed by Raphael; frescos by Francesco Salviati (1554 and 1557); mosaic by Luigi de Pace (1516

Dome – designed by Raphael; frescos by Francesco Salviati (1554 and 1557); mosaic by Luigi de Pace (1516

"The Prophet Habbakuk," by Bernini (around 1655)

“The Prophet Habbakuk,” by Bernini (around 1655)

"TheProphet Jonah," by Lorenzetto (around 1522)

“The Prophet Jonah,” by Lorenzetto (around 1522)

Agostino Chigi's pyramidal wall tomb, by Bernini (approximately 1655)

Agostino Chigi’s pyramidal wall tomb, by Bernini – on the opposite wall is the matching tomb of Sigismondo Chigi (both tombs done in approximately 1655)

Floor mosaic

Floor mosaic

"The Prophet Elijah," by Raffaello da Montelupo (1522)

“The Prophet Elijah,” by Raffaello da Montelupo (1522)

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4 Responses to Wishes Do Come True: The Chigi Chapel

  1. Nikki says:

    simply beautiful!!

  2. Meredith Prock says:

    Wow! Incredibly beautiful. And lucky you, another two years to look for churches that may even top this one.

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