By Martina Bollini

Baroque sculptor Cosimo Fancelli died on 3 April 1688 in Rome. Son of Carlo Fancelli, a stonecutter from Settignano, Cosimo spent all his career in Rome. He and his brother Giacomo trained under Gianlorenzo Bernini and probably helped carving the colossal statue of the Nile for the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona.

Cosimo then allied with Pietro da Cortona, who in 1647 returned to Rome from Florence to work at the frescoes of Santa Maria in Vallicella. For this church, Cosimo provided stucco sculpture which made him an established master. Cosimo worked alongside Pietro da Cortona also at Santi Luca e Martina, Santa Maria della Pace, Santa Maria in via Lata, San Carlo al Corso and San Nicola da Tolentino.

After the death of Pietro da Cortona in 1669, Cosimo worked with Francesco Borromini (in the Magi Chapel in the Propaganda Fide building, Bernini (who assigned him to complete the Angel with Sudarium on Ponte Sant’Angelo), and Carlo Rainaldi (at the service of two of the foremost Roman families of the time, the Borghese and the Altieri).

Reference: Maria Teresa De Lotto, Fancelli, Cosimo, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 44 (1994).

Nile, 1647-48, Fountain of the Four Rivers, Rome.

Christ supported by Angels, flanked by Saint Catherine and Saint Bernardino (Ercole Ferrata), 1656-57, Chigi Chapel, Santa Maria della Pace, Rome.

Stucco work framing Pietro da Cortona’s nave vault fresco of the Miracle of the Madonna della Vallicella, 1662-1665, Santa Maria in Vallicella, Rome.

Angel with Sudarium, 1669, Ponte Sant’Angelo, Rome.

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