POSI, Paolo
(b. 1708, Siena, d. 1778, Roma)

Biography

Italian architect, active mainly in Rome, but worked also in Narni, Viterbo, and Naples. His fame is mainly due to the ephemeral fake buildings erected for the fireworks of the "Festa della Chinea" (the white horse donated every year by the King of Naples to the Pope). These fake buildings, made of wood and papier maché, were often erected to celebrate the appointment of a cardinal or the arrival of a new ambassador. The materials used and the fact that the constructions (or machines, as they were called) lasted a few days allowed all sorts of extravagant and theatrical effects.

In 1771 Paolo Posi was asked to design the tomb of Maria Federica Odescalchi Chigi. The Chigi had already a family chapel (designed by Raphael and completed by Bernini) in Santa Maria del Popolo, but Posi felt that the severe atmosphere of the chapel was not the proper setting for the tomb he had in mind, so he put it outside the chapel in the nave.