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Sant'Agnese del Collegio Capranica is a private college chapel in the Almo Collegio Capranica, located on the Piazza Capranica in the rione Colonna. The fabric is 15th century, but the interior is mid 20th century or later. The parish church of Santa Maria in Aquiro is on the same piazza.

The dedication is to St Agnes.

History Edit

The chapel belongs to a seminary, founded in 1457 by Cardinal Domenico Capranica and properly established in his family home, the Palazzo Capranica, in 1478. This personal initiative was to provide an education for the priesthood for native Romans who were too poor to pay for it themselves and who lacked personal sponsors. An institution containing priestly candidates living and being taught in common, in dedicated premises, was an innovation which was taken up with very great enthusiasm by the Church in the following two centuries, resulting in the familiar modern seminary system.

The Council of Trent (1545-63) made the provision of seminaries a diocesan responsibility, but the Almo Collegio has survived as a separate institution through the centuries without being subsumed into the Vicariate's major seminary at Madonna della Fiducia in Laterano (as might have been expected).

The very old building was thoroughly restored in the Fifties, and the chapel was gutted and re-fitted in the process. The work was completed in 1954, leaving a vaguely neo-Renaissance interior.

Appearance Edit

Nave Edit

The external appearance of the college edifice is rather grim, in an authentic Roman mediaeval tradition. The chapel has no separate external architectural identity.

The worshipping space is rectangular, with a little semicircular apse having a conch. The nave walls are overall in a cream white, and are divided horizontally by a cornice that runs around the church from the archivolt springers of the triumphal arch of the apse. The far and side walls below this are divided into vertical rectangular zone by vaguely Tuscan Doric pilasters with posts above them in the cornice, and each zone contains a framed yellow marble tablet. Similarly, the walls above have horizontally rectangular zones with tables in the side walls, and square ones in the far wall -two on each side of the triumphal arch. The pilasters which separate these are blind, supporting an entablature which in turn supports the flat coffered wooden ceiling.

The ceiling is of high quality, using differently hued woods. The coffers are either square enclosing a hexagon, or large crosses. A large central coffer contains a relief wooden carving of the heraldry of Pope Pius XII.

There are four stained glass windows, depicting the Latin Doctors of the Church (SS Augustine, Gregory, Jerome and Ambrose).

A floating organ gallery, supported on corbels, occupies the width of the counterfaçade over the entrance. This has a solid balustrade, with a row of square yellow marble tablets matching the walls. The organ is a very high quality instrument by Mascioni, built in 1953 and restored in 2013.

Sanctuary Edit

In the late Sixties the altar was removed from the apse, and replaced by a white marble one in the nave. This stands on a black marble platform, and has a blank slightly incurved frontal. The tabernacle has been left in the apse, however.

20181106 Collegio Capranica, Rome-20181106-DSC08377

The Madonna and Child with SS Agnes and Blaise 

The apse conch has a dark blue mosaic, and is in three sectors. Unusually, the central sector is recessed over the archivolt of an arched recess containing the tabernacle, over which is a depiction of The Madonna and Child with SS Agnes and Blaise (the last-named is uncertain). This is by Antoniazzo Romano.

The spandrels of the triumphal arch have a pair of molded tondi containing more yellow marble.

Access Edit

The chapel is private, but ticketed organ recitals are apparently held here on occasion.

External links Edit

(The college does not appear to have a website. The URL given by the Diocese below is dead.)

Official diocesan web-page

Info.roma web-page

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