Chapel of Saint Dominic

Here we are in the chapel dedicated to the founder of the Dominican Order, Saint Dominic. We can see in the canvas at the centre of the chapel, representing the Virgin Mary who delivers his image. The painting of Saint Dominic is a recent copy of an imagine realised by Fra Angelico. It was originally another image which is now preserved in the adjacent convent.

It is the largest Chapel of the whole basilica, today it is also called the chapel of the Holy Sacrament, and it is also the place where the brothers of the community celebrate daily mass. It is a place where one may stop to gather themselves, to pray and be in worship. The solemn monument of the tomb of Dominican pope Benedict XIII  is on the wall on the right: it was him who decided on the current appearance of the chapel. The architectural plan and the sarcophagus are of Carlo Marchionni, they represent the Roman Council chaired by Benedict XIII and they date from the beginning of the eighteenth century. To the right and to the left of the pontiff, statues are represented which illustrate purity and religion. 4 other popes are buried in the Basilica: Paul VI, in the Carafa chapel, Leo X and Clement VII, two cousins of the Florentine Medici family are buried in the choir, to the right and to the left of the main altar, and Pope Urban VII is buried in the Annunziata Chapel.

On the opposite wall, we can admire a valuable group of sculptures in alabaster representing the Virgin Mary with her son Jesus and the two small saints Jean: Baptist, the one who baptised Jesus and Jean Evangelist, the disciple to whom Jesus was particularly linked. The pedestal presents a very beautiful bas-relief eighteenth century illustrating the birth of Jesus.

In the niches, four statues represent Dominican holy bishops.

It is in this chapel that the famous French orator Henri Dominique Lacordaire took the Dominican habit, with the rite of vestition, the 9th of April 1839.