Around the year 1514 the wealthy papal banker Agostino Chigi commissioned Raphael (1483-1520) to design a small chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Pace. However, the Cappella Chigi wasn't completed until the reign of Pope Alexander VII (r. 1655-67), Agostino's great-nephew Fabio Chigi.
Raphael's contribution takes the form of a beautiful fresco of four Sibyls, to whom the future is being revealed by a host of angels. From left to right we have the Cumaean, Persian, Phrygian and Tiburtine Sibyls.
The fresco of four Old Testament Prophets was designed by Raphael, but executed by Timoteo Viti (1469-1523), one of his pupils. From left to right the prophets are: Hosea (not Habakkuk, as is written), Jonah, David and Daniel.
The very fine bronze relief of the Deposition is the work of Cosimo Fancelli (c. 1620-88), who also carved the marble reliefs of the putti and the statue of St Catherine of Siena. The statue of St Bernardino of Siena, however, has been ascribed to Antonio Raggi. Both saints hailed from the same Tuscan city as the Chigi family, hence their presence 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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