For more than 400 years a small chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo has been a showcase for the talents of two of the greatest masters of Baroque art.
On July 8th, 1600, Monsignor Tiberio Cerasi, treasurer-general to Pope Clement VIII (r.1592-1605), acquired the rights to a chapel in the church. Cerasi commissioned the architect Carlo Maderno to redesign the chapel, while turning to Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) to provide the paintings.
As the chapel was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin May, this theme became the subject of altarpiece, which was painted by Carracci. For the side walls Caravaggio created images of Rome's two patron saints: the Crucifixion of St Peter and the Conversion of St Paul.
For some reason, Cerasi rejected Caravaggio's paintings and the artist had to come up with two more. The first version of the Crucifixion of St Peter has, sadly, disappeared, but that of the Conversion of St Paul is now in the Palazzo Odescalchi.
Tiberio Cerasi died on May 5th, 1601, and is buried in the chapel.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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