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Santa Maria degli Angeli: Cappella delle Rose

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Cappella della Portiuncula     Portiuncula Indulgence     Portiuncula Altarpiece 

Cappella del Transito            Cappella delle Rose


The chapel is reached from the corridor on the left-hand side of the right transept.  The corridor first passes a rose garden on the left, which is said to be the spot where St Francis rolled in rose bushes to ward off temptation before receiving the Portiuncula Indulgence from Christ. 

St Francis (1916)

This bronze statue  of St Francis and a lamb, in the garden on the left, is by Vincenzo Rossignoli

The corridor continues to the Cappella delle Rose. 

Cappella delle Rose 

This chapel was built in front of the site of what is said to have been the cell used by St Francis.  A grill now separates the chapel into two spaces:

  1. St Bonaventure commissioned the rear part of the chapel (illustrated above) in ca. 1260, and it was enlarged or rebuilt in 1344; and  

  2. St Bernardino of Siena commissioned the oratory in front of it in the early 15th century.

Frescoes of the Rear Chapel (1506)


These frescoes, which are attributed to Tiberio d' Assisi, depict:

  1. St Francis and his first twelve companions (on the back wall, above the opening of St Francis’ cell);

  2. SS Bonaventure, Bernardino of Siena, Louis of Toulouse and Antony of Padua (on the left);

  3. God the Father (in the vault); and

  4. SS Clare and Elizabeth of Hungary (on the right).

Frescoes of the Oratory (1516)

These frescoes, which are also attributed to Tiberio d' Assisi, depict the granting of the Portiuncula Indulgence.  Tiberio re-used a number of the scenes from the cycle that he had painted in the Cappella delle Rose in San Fortunato, Montefalco in 1512. 



In these scenes:

  1. angels appears to St Francis as he rolls in rose bushes to ward off temptation;

  2. the angels guide him to the Portiuncula;

  3. Christ grants the Portiuncula Indulgence;

  4. Pope Honorius III confirms the Portiuncula Indulgence; and

  5. the Portiuncula Indulgence is proclaimed outside the church.  The last scene shows the Portiuncula as it was in the early 16th century.  Among the bishops behind St Francis is St Raynald, Bishop of Nocera, who wears a beard as required by his status as a monk from Fonte Avellana.

Continue along the corridor to the Museo della Portiuncula.

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