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Past Exhibition

Altar Card Frames for the Cappella Paolina

Luigi Valadier (1726–1785)
Altar Card Frames for the Cappella Paolina, 1762
Lapis lazuli, silver, and gilt bronze
central frame, 19 1/4 × 22 7/8 × 4 in. (49 × 58 × 10 cm);
lateral frames, 13 5/8 × 11 3/4 × 2 3/4 in. (34.5 × 30 × 7 cm)
Museo del Tesoro della Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome
Mauro Magliani

These frames for cartagloria (altar cards) were created for the altar of the Borghese Chapel — the Cappella Paolina — in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Altar cards displayed specific prayers that were regularly recited during the mass and were meant to serve as memory aids for priests. The elaborate design and rich materials of these frames convey their prestigious patron.