(b. 1571, Caravaggio, d. 1610, Porto Ercole)

View of the Chapel

Oil on canvas, 245 x 155 cm
Cerasi Chapel, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome

In 1600 Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio received a joint commission from Tiberio Cerasi to decorate his chapel in the Santa Maria del Popolo. Annibale was responsible for the design of the ceiling frescoes and painted The Assumption of the Virgin for the altar, while Caravaggio undertook the two lateral paintings, which depict The Crucifixion of St Peter and The Conversion of St Paul. It seems likely that Annibale received his commission first, and shortly after Cerasi commissioned two panels on cypress from Caravaggio, stipulating that the works should be finished within eight months. It was at this point that Tiberio Cerasi must have consciously decided to make his chapel the site of an unofficial competition between the two greatest artists of the day.