In the apse of St Peter's Basilica stands the magnificent monument known as the Cathedra Petri (Chair of St Peter), which was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) to enclose what, at the time, was believed to be the wooden throne of St Peter.
The Chair of St Peter (1666), which is crowned with two putti bearing the tiara and keys (symbols of the Pope's authority), is flanked by a quartet of bronze statues: two Doctors of the Latin Church (St Ambrose & St Augustine, both wearing mitres) and two Doctors of the Greek Church (St Athanasius & St John Chrysostom).
The monument is set against an extravagant gilt and stucco Gloria, its rays of light and billowing clouds peopled with a host of angels. The alabaster window in the centre bears an image of a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit. The window is divided into twelve sections, a tribute to the twelve apostles.
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 walking tours of Rome.
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