The Carafa Chapel, in the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, is notable for its frescoes by the Florentine artist Flipppino Lippi (1457-1504).
The frescoes (1488-93), Lippi's only work in Rome, were commissioned by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa.
The altarpiece depicts the Annunciation, in which Gabriel and Mary are joined by Cardinal Carafa and St Thomas Aquinas. On the shelf behind the curtain there is a carafe (a symbol of purity) and an olive tree branch (symbol of peace), visual references to the cardinal's name.
The fresco on the back wall is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, while on the right we see St Thomas Aquinas Confounding the Heretics.
The lunette depicts further episodes of the life of St. Thomas, such as the Miracle of the Book.
The vault has frescoes of four Sibyls. The Sibyls, who were symbols of wisdom and knowledge, are portrayed holding scrolls, on which are written quotations from St. Thomas.
One the left wall is the funerary monument to Pope Paul IV (r. 1555-59). A member of the Carafa family, his monument was designed by Pirro Ligorio (c. 1513-83). The statue of the pope was carved by Giacomo Cassignola.
Blogging about Rome,
its art, history and culture.
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
small-group walking tours
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