Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome is Brimming with Artistic Treasures

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see filename (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in Santa Maria ...

Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Interior of Church Santa Maria del Po...

English: Interior of Church Santa Maria del Popolo in Roma Česky: Interier kostela Santa Maria del Popolo v Římě (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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see above (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome has a simple facade. But wait until you get inside; it is brimming with magnificent treasures!

English: Church Santa Maria del Popolo in Roma...

English: Church Santa Maria del Popolo in Roma Česky: Pohled na kostel Santa Maria del Popolo v Římě (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa Maria del Popolo, cappella Chigi, in Rom...

Santa Maria del Popolo, cappella Chigi, in Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa Maria del Popolo (Rome)

Santa Maria del Popolo (Rome) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is an Augustinian church in the Piazza del Popolo where Pope Paschal II built an oratory over the tombs of the Roman Domitia family. It is Iocated at the foot of the Pincian Hill.

Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, Italy: Chigi c...

Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, Italy: Chigi chapel. Incrustated floor with the coats of arms of the House of Chigi hold by the Death. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The church is very special and has almost as much artistic wealth as St. Peter’s Basilica. It includes treasures by several famous artists, architects and sculptors including: Raphael, Gian

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Self-Portrait

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Self-Portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Pinturicchio, Andrea Bregno, Guillaume de Marcillat and Donato Bramante.

Caravaggio

Caravaggio (Photo credit: Carmen Alonso Suarez)

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 4

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The dome of the Chigi Chapel is decorated with Raphael’s drawings of the Creation of the World. These depict God as creator of the heavens, surrounded by symbols of the planets.

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The original church was built on this site in 1099.  Bramante and Bernini made additions to the structure. Santa Maria del Popolo is packed with priceless art. Two of the Chigi cardinals are buried here; the mausoleum in the Chigi Chapel is by Raphael and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Cardinal Della Rovere is also here. I love the kneeling skeleton floor medalion with the Chigi coat of arms.

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 4

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Visit the gorgeous Della Rovere Chapel and be sure to admire the The oldest stained glass window in Rome by the French artist Guillaume de Marcillat. The tombs of Cardinals Ascanio Sforza and Girolama Basso della Rovere were designed by Andrea Sansovino and are located in the apse that was designed by Bramante.

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The Cerasi Chapel has two paintings by Caravaggio: “The Martyrdom and Crucifixion of St. Peter” (St. Peter was crucified upside down) on the right side of the Chapel and “Conversion of Saint Paul on the Way to Damascus” on the left side of the chapel.

The Conversion of Saint Paul

The Conversion of Saint Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These paintings were commissioned by Tiberio Cerasi in 1600.

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Caravaggio’s The Conversion on the Way to Damascus

I love the painting between the two Caravaggio paintings.

Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in Santa Maria ...

Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The altarpiece is the Assumption of the Virgin by Annibale Carracci; surrounded by marble columns and surmounted by a beautiful window. 

The Chigi Chapel is the most lavishly decorated. The wealthy Sienese banker Agostino Chigi commissioned Raphael to design and decorate the octagonal funerary chapel. On the altar, admire Sebastiano del Piombo, the “Nativity of the Virgin.”

“Jonah and the Great Fish” was done by Lorenzetto.

English: Jonah and the great fish, with the he...

English: Jonah and the great fish, with the head of the Farnese Antinous. Marble, drawn by Raphael and executed by Lorenzetto (1522–27), Chigi Chapel of the Church Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. Français : Jonas et le gros poisson, avec la tête de l’Antinoüs Farnèse. Marbre, dessiné par Raphaël et exécuté par Lorenzetto (1522-1527), chapelle Chigi de l’église Santa Maria del Popolo à Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other two statues of Daniel and Habakkuk are by Bernini. The angel is telling Habakkuk to take the basket of food to the famished Daniel in the lions’ den in Babylon.

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 3

Santa maria del polpolo, cappella chigi 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bernini also did the circular medallion portraits on the Pyramidal tombs of Agostino and Sigismondo Chigi.

Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, Italy: Chigi c...

Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, Italy: Chigi chapel. Adolfo Apolloni – Monument to Agostino Chigi (1915). Picture by Torvindus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Santa Maria del Popolo, Capella Chigi, Roma,

Santa Maria del Popolo, Capella Chigi, Roma, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the inscription on the floor of “Death”, Bernini added the inscription, “Death is the way to Heaven.”

In the dome, God the creator of the heavens is surrounded by the symbols of the planets guided by angels.

The main altar has as image of the Virgin. Below the 13th century image of the Virgin it says: “You are the honor of our people.” There are two statues of Augustinian saints on either side of the picture of the Virgin: Nicholas of Tolentino on

the left and William of Maleval on the right.

In Santa Maria del Popolo,  the Della Rovere Chapel has a beautiful fresco by Pinturicchio depicting the Nativity and the life of St. Jerome.

The Cybo Chapel has sixteen columns of Sicilian jasper with an altarpiece by Carlo Maratta, “Immaculate Conception with Saints.” On the sides of the chapel are the twin tombs of the Cybo Cardinals; Lorenzo on the left and Alderano on the right.

After all that magnificent art, have a Vino con Vista at the Rosati Cafe.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides. To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com.

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5 Comments

Filed under Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome is Brimming with Artistic Treasures

5 responses to “Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome is Brimming with Artistic Treasures

  1. rickzullo.com

    Great post! This is one of my favorite spots in Rome. My route to work everyday involves a change of trains at Flaminio and I often make a quick side trip into this church to admire the wealth of artistic treasures inside. As you mentioned, the contrast between Caravaggio and Caracci in the Cerasi Chapel is a lesson in Baroque art in and of itself. Brava!

  2. I’ve been to this church and didn’t even take in everything that there is there. I think Rome is just like that. you have to do everything more than once!

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