The Chigi Chapel, located in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, is home to one of Raphael’s most celebrated works. Commissioned by wealthy banker Agostino Chigi, the chapel was completed during Pope Alexander VII’s reign and is considered a prominent monument in the basilica. The chapel was designed by Raphael with a ground plan attributed to him preserved in the Uffizi in Florence.
Inside the chapel, visitors can view rare and expensive stones that decorate its walls and stunning frescoes depicting four Sibyls painted by Raphael around 1515. These Sibyls are ancient oracles from Greek mythology who foretold important events such as the coming of Christ. Raphael masterfully portrayed these figures with a grace and classical beauty that influenced many later artists.
In addition to his work on the Sibyl frescoes, Raphael also planned another Chapel dedicated to the Madonna di Loreto inside Santa Maria del Popolo. This second Chapel features a unique pyramidal design that showcases his innovative approach to architecture.
Overall, Raphael’s contributions to both Chapels have secured their place as important landmarks within Italian High Renaissance art history. The careful preservation of these religious buildings allows visitors from around the world an opportunity to experience first-hand some of Italy’s most celebrated artwork from centuries past.