Route: THE TWO MICHELANGELOS. BUONARROTI AND CARAVAGGIO
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You are along the route: THE AGE OF THE GREAT MASTERS. ROME AND THE RENAISSANCE
Piazza del Popolo, 12
Every day. Monday-thursday 08:30-12:30 and 16:00-18:30. Friday-saturday 7:30-19:00. Sunday e bank holidays 8:00-13:30 and 16:30-19:30. Free entry.
The church was originally a small Medieval chapel, where Gregory IX transferred the icon of St. Mary of the People to from the Lateran, hence its name. It was completely modernised and expanded by Andrea Bregno, as part of the extensive renovation of the city undertaken by Pope Sixtus IV between 1471 and 1477. In the early sixteenth century, the great architect Donato Bramante was commissioned by Pope Julius II, nephew of Sixtus IV, to reconstruct the core and a large apse decorated with frescoes of the Crowning of the Virgin by Pinturicchio and stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus and Mary by Guillaume de Marcillat. During these years, the chapel of Cardinal della Rovere was built, with the Nativity by Pinturicchio, as was the Basso della Rovere chapel, decorated by the school of Pinturicchio and paved with fifteenth century ceramics; at the same time, the monuments of Cardinals Sforza and della Rovere by Sansovino introduced an important element of classicism into funerary sculptures.
The Chigi Chapel, designed by Raphael for Agostino Chigi, who wanted to assign it as the family mausoleum, was started by Lorenzetto in 1513 and only completed thanks to Bernini in the years 1652-56 (statues of Habakkuk and Daniel, medallions on the pyramids and Death on the floor). The circular structures of the chapel, as well as the pyramid-shaped tombs of Agostino and Sigismund Chigi, are echoes of the burial buildings of antiquity; Raphael provided both the designs for which Luigi de Pace carried out the mosaic of God the Creator of the Heavens in the dome, and those for which Lorenzetto sculpted Jonah and Elijah. The Creation, The Fall of Man and The Seasons by Francesco Salviati and the Birth of the Virgin painted in oil on stone by Sebastiano del Piombo complete the decoration of the chapel.