Antoniazzo Romano Chapel
The Chapel of the Annunziata has undergone several changes over the centuries, but the most important and which is still visible today, was that provided by Carlo Maderno, an Italian-Swiss architect of the XVI-century century. Among the main works that are located on the inside, there is the funeral monument of Pope Urban VII of the artist Ambrogio Buonvicini.
In the centre of the chapel, there is the famous "Annunciation" of Antoniazzo Romano, Italian painter who lived in Rome from 1430 to 1508, as well as two paintings representing Dominic and Saint Hyacinthe. The scene of the Annunciation, on gold background, was painted by A. Romano between 1499 and 1500 in view of the Jubilee desired by Pope Alexander VI.
The work was commissioned by the Confraternity of the Annunziata, a fraternity founded by Cardinal Juan de Torquemada (1388-1468), uncle of the famous inquisitor Tomãs de Torquemada, who had as charitable objective of "give a dowry" to the poor girls: in effect, the dowry was a sum of money which gave them the opportunity to find a husband and therefore not resorting to less decent activities, such as prostitution, in order to meet their needs. In this painting, the Virgin Mary - when Archangel Gabriel announced to her the virginal conception of Jesus – she is busy giving their dowry to the young girls dressed in white that are presented to her by Torquemada, himself dressed simply in the Dominican habit, but whose title is indicated by the red bonnet of cardinal placed on his leg.
The group of young girls presented by cardinal is here painted in smaller proportion, a typical medieval method, to differentiate the world of humans (represented by the young girls and by the cardinal) and the supernatural world (represented by Madonna and Archangel Gabriel). Today, the Order of Preachers is still concerned about the integral development of the person, a development which affects the spiritual and material sphere, which goes from preaching to school education and supporting the poorest countries, with many charitable missions and projects in all Continents.