1. This Roman work of art came into being north of the Alps so far away, as a result
of a founder’s will, namely the bishop of Wrocław, Cardinal Frideric Landgrave of
Hessen who was a man of culture; an intellectual of a sophisticated artistic taste.* * 3 His
political and church career was strongly connected with the pope’s court in Rome. He
visited Rome many times. Sometimes his visit there lasted a few years, some were
even longer. He usually resided in palazzo Mellini-Cesi at Corso. It was there his artistic
and aesthetic taste was formed during his lively social contacts and direct observations
of the works made by Bernini, Borromini, Algardi and other artists that were active
at those times.
During his first visit to Rome in the years 1636 - 1637 he made close friends with
cardinal Francesco Barberini and cardinal prince Maurice de Savoya who supported
him in his intention of conversion and whose affection and help he experienced when
in poor financial state.4 Spending much time in the circle of Barberini Frideric must
have got acquainted with Gian Lorenzo Bernini who was just finishing the construction
of the family residence of his patron.5 Frideric’s successive visits to Rome fall upon
the years 1638, 1641 and the year 1652 when, owing to the emperor’s support and
some connections with cardinal Camillo Astali-Pampfili Frideric got the dignity of car-
dinal-deacon.6 After the death of Innocent X Frideric came to the conclave in January,
1655 and stayed in Rome for three years till the fall of 1658. He was one of the two
cardinals who in the name of Alexander VII welcomed Queen Cristina comming to
Rome in 1655.7 For rhany years, popular in Rome, il Cardinal landravio remained in
close contacts with the Queen and belonged to her closest circle which constituted one
of the most lively, interesting artistic and intellectual circles in the papal capital.8
The last cardinal’s visit he paid to Rome was in the period between the years 1666
and 1676.9 The visit that lasted nearly ten years. The idea of erecting a chaple must
have ocurred to him then. A chaple that could serve a double function; of a mausoleum
of the founder as well as a shrine of his rich collection of relics. The idea probably
Kilka uwag o wrocławskiej kaplicy św. Elżbiety ( W związku z pracą K. Kalinowskiego, Kaplica św. Elżbiety
prey katedrze we Wrocławiu), „Roczniki Sztuki Śląskiej” 1973, t. 9, p. 81 -86. Sculpture see also K. Ka-
linowski Rzeźba barokowa..., p. 121 - 124.
3 A. Räiss, Konvertiten seit der Reformation, t. 5, Freiburg 1867, p. 466 ff; Kratzinger, Beiträge zur
Geschichte des Landgrafen Georg // und seines Bruders des Landgrafen Friedrich, „Archiv für hessische
Geschichte und Altertumskunde” 1870, t. 12, p. 161 ff; P. Buchmann, Friedrich Landgraf von Hessen-Darm-
stadt, Breslau 1883, p. 10-20; F. Noack, Kardinal Friedrich von Hessen, Grossprior in Heitersheim, „Zei-
tschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins” 1927, Jg. 41, p. 341 ff; F. Noack, Deutschtum in Rom, Stuttgart
1927, t. 1, p. 176, 744-746; t. 2, p. 187; W. Dersch, Beiträge zur Geschichte des Kardinal Friedrich von
Hessen, Bischof von Breslau, „Zeitschrift des Vereins für Geschichte Schlesiens” 1928, Jg. 62, p. 274 - 281.
4 F. Noack, Deutschtum in Rom..., t. 2, p. 72.
5 R. Wittkower, Art and Architectur in Italy 1600-1750. London 1958, p. 70.
6 F. Noack, Deutschtum in Rom..., t. 2, p. 187; P. Buchmann, op. cit., p. 20. Titular church of cardinal
Frideric was S. Maria Novae and later S. Agatha.
7 S. Stolpe, Königin Christina von Schweden, Frankfurt a/M 1962, p. 223.
K R. Stephan, A Note on Christina and her Academies, in: Queen Christina of Sweden. Documents
and Studies, Stockholm 1966, p. 365 - 371.
yW. Dersch, op. cit., p. 280.