Skip to main content

Public Statues and Sculpture Association

Antonio Raggi (1624–1686)

Sculptor and stuccoist born at Vico Morcote, near Lugano. He moved to Rome in 1645, basing himself there for the rest of his life. He worked initially in Alessandro Algardi’s workshop, but in 1647 became one of 39 sculptors working for Gianlorenzo Bernini on the decorations for St Peter’s. Raggi rose to become Bernini’s chief assistant, working from his master’s drawings and models on such important pieces as the figure of the Danube (1650–51) for the Four Rivers Fountain in the Piazza Navona, Rome. In 1657, Raggi was elected to the Accademia di San Luca and in 1662 received his first independent commission, a life-size marble relief, the Death of St Cecilia (completed 1666) for S. Agnese in Agone, also Piazza Navona. In the same years, he executed in stucco, for the interior of the dome of S. Andrea in Quirinale, St Andrew in Glory, with a ring of supporting figures. A major work of the 1670s is his cycle of stucco figures in the clerestory of the nave and transept of Il Gesù, framing Gaulli’s ceiling fresco of the Adoration of the Name of Jesus. Raggi also worked for the architect Carlo Fontana, contributing all the sculpture for the Ginnetti Chapel in S. Andrea della Valle (1671–81), including the life-size marble figure of Cardinal Marzio Ginnetti kneeling at prayer, a compelling display of the portraitist Raggi at his best. His most important work in England is his effigy of Lady Jane Cheyne for her funerary monument, installed in 1672 in Chelsea Old Church.

Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 73–77; Oxford Art Online: Benezit Dictionary of Artists and Grove Art Online; Wittkower, R., Art and Architecture in Italy 1600–1750, London (1958), 1982, pp. 310–12.

Terry Cavanagh November 2022