Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo

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Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo
Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is located in Italy
Shown within Italy
Basic information
Geographic coordinates41°54′41″N 12°28′35″E / 41.911389°N 12.476389°E / 41.911389; 12.476389Coordinates: 41°54′41″N 12°28′35″E / 41.911389°N 12.476389°E / 41.911389; 12.476389
AffiliationCatholic Church
RegionLazio
ProvinceRome
Year consecrated1477
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusBasilica
StatusActive
Architect(s)Baccio Pontelli, Andrea Bregno
Architectural typeChurch
Architectural styleRenaissance, Baroque
Direction of façadeW
Groundbreaking1472
Completed1477
Dome(s)2
Spire(s)1
 
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Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo
Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is located in Italy
Shown within Italy
Basic information
Geographic coordinates41°54′41″N 12°28′35″E / 41.911389°N 12.476389°E / 41.911389; 12.476389Coordinates: 41°54′41″N 12°28′35″E / 41.911389°N 12.476389°E / 41.911389; 12.476389
AffiliationCatholic Church
RegionLazio
ProvinceRome
Year consecrated1477
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusBasilica
StatusActive
Architect(s)Baccio Pontelli, Andrea Bregno
Architectural typeChurch
Architectural styleRenaissance, Baroque
Direction of façadeW
Groundbreaking1472
Completed1477
Dome(s)2
Spire(s)1

The Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is an Augustinian church in Rome, Italy. It stands on the north side of Piazza del Popolo, one of the most famous squares in the city. The church is hemmed in between Porta del Popolo (the ancient Porta Flaminia) and the Pincio hill. Porta Flaminia was one of the gates in the Aurelian Wall as well as the starting point of Via Flaminia, the most important route from the north. The church contains works by several famous artists for example Raphael, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Pinturicchio, Andrea Bregno, Guillaume de Marcillat and Donato Bramante.

History[edit]

In 1099, a chapel was built by Pope Paschal II to Our Lady over the tomb of the Domitii Ahenobarbi. Tradition has it that the site was haunted by Nero's ghost or demons in the form of black crows; therefore the pope chopped down the walnut tree sheltering the crows and built a chapel in its place. The name del Popolo ("of the people") probably derives from its funding by the people of Rome, but some sources say it comes from the Latin word populus, meaning poplar and referring to a tree located nearby. The chapel was enlarged and became a church by will of Pope Gregory IX in 1235, and was given to the Augustinian friars, who still oversee it, in 1250.

Santa Maria del Popolo was reconstructed by Baccio Pontelli and Andrea Bregno in 1472-1477 on the orders of Pope Sixtus IV and was given to the congregation of Lombard friars in Rome. The result of the reconstruction was an early and excellent example of Italian Renaissance architecture. In 1655-60 the façade was modified by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who was asked by Pope Alexander VII to update the Renaissance church to a more modern Baroque style.

Interior[edit]

Apse[edit]

The apse was designed by Bramante. The oldest stained glass window in Rome can be found here, made by French artist Guillaume de Marcillat. Pinturicchio decorated the vault with frescoes, including the Coronation of the Virgin. The tombs of Cardinals Ascanio Sforza and Girolamo Basso della Rovere, both made by Andrea Sansovino, can also be found in the apse.

Della Rovere Chapel[edit]

The Della Rovere (or Nativity) Chapel is the first side chapel on the right aisle. It was built by Cardinal Domenico della Rovere from 1471 to 1484 after the reconstruction of the church by his relative, Pope Sixtus IV. The pictorial decoration is attributed to Pinturicchio and his school. The main altar-piece, The Adoration of the Child with St Jerome is an exquisite autograph work by Pinturicchio himself. The tomb of Cardinal Cristoforo della Rovere (died in 1487), a work by Andrea Bregno and Mino da Fiesole, was erected by his brother. On the right side the funeral monument of Giovanni de Castro (died 1506) is attributed to Francesco da Sangallo. The chapel is one of best preserved monuments of quattrocento art in Rome.

Cybo Chapel[edit]

The Cybo Chapel was radically rebuilt by Cardinal Alderano Cybo (1613-1700) between 1682 and 1687 according to the plans of Carlo Fontana. For the beauty of its paintings, the preciousness of marble revetments covering its walls and the importance of the artists involved in its construction the chapel is regarded one of the most significant sacral monuments erected in Rome in the last quarter of the 17th century.

Cerasi Chapel[edit]

The Cerasi Chapel holds two famous canvases painted by Caravaggio - Crucifixion of St. Peter and Conversion on the Way to Damascus. Situated between the two works of Caravaggio is the altarpiece Assumption of the Virgin by Annibale Carracci.

Chigi Chapel[edit]

Banker Agostini Chigi commissioned Raphael to design and decorate a funerary chapel in 1513. The dome is decorated with Raphael's mosaics Creation of the World. The chapel was later completed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. His additions include the sculptures Habakkuk and the Angel and Daniel and the Lion.

Burials[edit]

After Bernini's intervention, the church became a favourite burial place for the rich people of the city. Some of the people buried in the church are:

Cardinal Priests[edit]

Hyacinthe Thiandoum was the Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Mariae de Populo until his death in 2004. On 24 March 2006, Pope Benedict XVI elevated Stanisław Dziwisz to the position.

Image gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]