The tomb of one of the richest men in Rome: Agostino Chigi

st maria del popolo arts in romeGetting into the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, set in the north area of the famous Piazza del Popolo, means take a glance to a large history of the roman art. In fact you will find Caravaggio, Carracci, Raphael, tombs dating from the XVI to the XVII century and decorated chapels which represent the new mania of the “grottesco” (that was the result of the discovery of the Domus Aurea). But there is a place where you will find the reasons why Rome could be consider as one of the best cities in the world: the Chigi’s Chapel, with the tomb of Agostino Chigi, the main member of the family.

The Chigi family arrived in Rome from Siena at the beginning of the XVI century, when the city started to become a modern place plenty of beautiful squares and churches, with large and long streets. A place in which each single italian artist would stay, in order to work at the rebirth of Rome. Popes like Giulio the Second or Leo X tried to change the face and the profile of the city, transforming it from a Middle Ages place to a modern one. This is the reason why many constructions sites were born in that period. But in order to built and rebuilt buildings and other, the Popes needed money. And…Who did the money own in that period? Of course, the banks! And Agostino Chigi was probably the richest banker and men in Italy. It was able to borrow money and money to the Pontiffes. In a certain way, if Rome managed to obtain new basilicas we should thank Agostino Chigi.

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Chigi Chapel

We have to consider that Agostino was a man of the Renaissance, who know a lot abut Ancient and Classical art. Moreover, he adored surround himself and his possessions (as Villa della Farnesina or Palazzo Chigi) with artistic masterpieces. He was able to called artists like Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Baldassare Peruzzi, Giulio Romano in order to embellished his homes. So, it was a powerful and rich man, and when he died his family wanted to celebrate him in a fantastic way. This is the reason why he bought a chapel in one of the most important basilica in Rome, asking to Raphael to project it. And then, after some years, a real genius took care about the Agostino’s tomb: Bernini. When you will stay in front of this pyramidal tomb, with the gilded inscriptions which celebrate a banker, a nobleman, a creator, you should think about how it was foundamental for Rome and its beauty. When Bernini accepted the work he knew why the Chigi family called him.

Try to take a glance just above you, looking the Eternal Father at the top of the little Raphael’s dome: he stands here to bless you and one of the men who managed to made powerful and wonderful the Church, its brand and the its city: Rome.

The wonderful perspective of “Villa della Farnesina”

arts in rome artsinrome master fine art romaVilla della Farnesina was erected at the beginning of the XVI century by [sg_popup id=”12″]Baldassare Peruzzi[/sg_popup], a man and an artist who gave many treasures at Rome.

Inside this wonderful villa, the main and the most gorgeous example of the Renaissance building in the city, Peruzzi managed to create and think something curious and beautiful: two rooms completely covered by frescos. Special frescos… We stay at the second floor of Villa della Farnesina which was commissioned by the rich man Agostino Chigi.  He was a banker, lending much money to everyone, particularly Popes. For this reason his patrimony was so large, quite enormous.

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Many noblemen in that period wanted to underline their power building graceful homes, plenty of artistic masterpieces.
In fact, Agostino Chigi decided to call one of the main artist of his period in order to realize his home and representative Villa: the architect was Baldassare Peruzzi, a friend of [sg_popup id=”13″]Raffaello Sanzio[/sg_popup].
Raphael too worked and embellished the villa, but today I wish to talk about to Baldassare Peruzzi, who created something incredible. Going in the first room, named “Salone delle Prospettive”, your look will be totally captured by the frescos of the wall, that haven’t no empty spaces. Everything was covered by colors and, mainly, false perspective.

What is it?

arts in rome artsinrome art master in romeWe have a perspective when the third dimension is set in a surface with just two dimensions. Peruzzi was able to create landscapes and panoramic viewpoints where there is just a wall… Moreover he used false architectural elements, as columns and balaustrades, in order to improve the sense of depth. Usually in that period the ancient art and elements which could remember the history of Rome and Ancient Greek were used to decorate villas, palaces etc. It was due to the incredible love, and sometimes mania, which developped in Rome during the beginning of the XVI century. This colorful room brought our mind in new dimensions, in a false reality which is totally different by the one that we know. But this reality is quite similar, with its ancient buildings and fantastic landscapes, to the ones which the Romans of the Empire searched in their wonderful villas outside the wall of the city centre. In this way we could understand how the Renaissance discovered another time not only the art of Rome, but also its functions.

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But there is also another room at the secondo floor of Villa della Farnesina, just beyond the first hall. In this case walls are totally covered by frescos depicting historical people and deeds, with Alessandro Magno and his life as main character. The general who conquered quite the entire world with his enomrous army, arriving in India and getting in touch with numerous populations and tribes, was in that period a symbol of powerful. For this reason Baldassare Peruzzi decided to choose him, in order to create a connection with Agostino Chigi. In this way the rich man could be consider himself as a sort of man who could rule the world with his main weapon: money