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Della Rovere Family Church with 2 Caravaggios



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Artists of the Italian Renaissance       Paintings by Artists of the Italian Renaissance









Santa Maria del Popolo, beside the Porta del Popolo (previously the the ancient Porta Flaminia, the gateway into Rome from the Via Flaminia).  Inside are two Caravaggios, frescos by Pinturicchio, a Carracci and outstanding chapel architecture and sculptures including several related to the della Rovere family (Pope Julius II was a della Rovere).  The rollcall of famous architects, artists and sculptors who were involved in creating today's church is shown in the sign above.


In early medieval times this then wasteland area was thought to be inhabited by devils, in the guise of crows, associated with the remains of the nasty Emperor Nero who was buried thereabouts.  In late 1099, in the confident wake of the capture of Jerusalem by the First Crusade in July, Pope Paschal II (ex Clunaic monk) cut down (or had cut down) the offending crow ridden walnut tree,  and founded a chapel on the site.  The Pope's role was symbolic - the project itself was paid for by public subscription - hence Santa Maria del Popolo.


Two rebuilds followed, in 1227 and the late 1400s, and eventually Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 - 1680 (82)) remodelled much of the interior.  Outside, a previous Renaissance project was the 1538 creation of the Piazza del Popolo to tie in the gate and old church and the  ends of the long straight roads - via del Babuino, via del Corso and via di Ripetta.  The final act was the 1600s addition of two large domed churches on the opposite side of the Piazza to Santa Maria del Popolo.  A photo of the Piazza and a fuller history of the church is shown at the base of the page.  


The building on the right above was an Augustinian convent, and it was here that Martin Luther (1483 - 1546 (63)) got to know what really went on in Rome when he was in residence in his late twenties in about 1511.






The Crucifixion of Saint Peter - Caravaggio c1600





The Cerasi Chapel sports two wonderfully restored Caravaggios painted in 1600-01.  Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 1573 - 1610 (37).


Above - The Crucifixion of Saint Peter


Below - The Conversion of Saint Paul


The chapel also has an Assumption by Annibale Carracci 1560 - 1609 (49) (below below) 





The most famous chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo is the Chigi Chapel - started by Rafaello (1483 - 1520 (37)), finished by Bernini (1598 - 1680 (82)), paid for by the powerful banker Agostino Chigi (1465 - 1520 (55)) but unphotographed by Paradox.



Cerasi Chapel



The Conversion of Saint Paul - Caravaggio c1600




Assumption of the Virgin by Annibale Carracci (1560 - 1609 (49))




Domenico della Rovere Chapel (1488-90) - Adoration of the Shepherds by Pinturicchio  (c1452 - 1513 (61)).



The Umbrian painter Pinturicchio c1452 - 1513 (61), whose self portrait can be seen in his most famous work - the frescoes of the Piccolomini Library in the Duomo in Siena, painted several frescos in Santa Maria del Popolo.  He was particularly good at Madonnas, but how well the deep lapis blues of her robes have survived depends on how much his patrons were prepared to pay for the secco lapis component.  We thought we remembered an Annunciation here, but can find no mention of it .... have to go back!




Basso della Rovere Chapel (1484-92) - Pinturicchio - Madonna and child with Saints Augustine, Francis, Anthony and an unidentified saintly monk.





Looking back across the Piazza del Popolo - via del Babuino (leading to the Spanish Steps), Santa Maria di Montesanto, via del Corso (behind an obelisk celebrating the triumphs of Rameses II (c1200s BC), brought to Rome from Egypt by the Emperor Augustus and moved to this location in 1589 as part of the piazza refurb under Pope Sixtus V), Santa Maria del Miracoli, via di Ripetta. 






US forces head north to the via Flaminia from the Corso through the Piazza del Popolo in 1945.








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