Monday, February 05, 2007

Tabernacle in The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament (Sistine Chapel), Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

To the right of the high altar in Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome is the domed Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

The tabernacle dates from 1599. It is now opened only on Holy Thursday.

The tabernacle or ciborium is held aloft by four bronze angels made by Sebastiano Torrigiani (active 1573-1596 and d. 1596). In the late sixteenth century he was one of the leading artists of bronze sculptures in Rome; his large bronze of St Peter, surmounting the Trajan column in Rome is renowned. Torrigiani was also responsible for the metal screen in the Sistine chapel and he made several life-size portraits of popes.

The tabernacle itself was made by L. Scalzo to a design from 1590 by Giovanni Battista Ricci (Italian, 1537-1627).

Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590) is buried on the right-hand side of the chapel. The tomb is by Domenico Fontana.

Opposite this tomb is the funarary monument of Pope St Pius V, also by Fontana.