The Pazzi Chapel in Santa Croce church in Florence is considered one of the cornerstones of Renaissance
architecture, and to most scholars, it marks one of the highlights of the career of the great architect Filippo
Though funds for the chapel were assembled in 1429 by Andrea Pazzi, head of the Pazzi family, whose wealth was second only to the Medici, construction did not begin until about 1442. The chapel was completed in 1443, after Brunelleschi's death. The building is considered to be an Early Renaissance masterpiece.
The main purpose of the building was the cathedral chapter house (meeting room for the governing chapter) and use as a classroom for the teaching of monks and other religious purposes. The chapel was a physical representation of the Pazzi family's power, wealth, piety, generosity, and status.
Formerly considered a work of Filippo Brunelleschi, it is now thought that he was responsible for the plan, which is based on simple geometrical forms, the square and the circle, but not for the building's execution and detailing. Scholars now consider the chapel as possibly the work of Giuliano da Maiano or Michelozzo.
The tondi of the seated Apostles are by Luca della Robbia, who also did the terracotta decorations in the cupola of the porch. The pendentives that support the folded dome show the four evangelists with their symbols (Andrea della Robbia) and the Pazzi family crest.°
«In the pendentives of the apse are wonderful immense grey scallop shells, and in the pendentives of the room itself, outranking the Apostles, sit the four Evangelists, cast in glazed terracotta by Luca della Robbia on Brunelleschi’s designs, each with his attendant symbol and companion: Saint Luke with the Bull, Saint Mark with the Lion, Saint John with the Bird, and Saint Matthew with the Angel in the form of a Man. The colours of the terracotta glazes are clear and intensely beautiful in the severe grey-and-white room. The Bird is raven-black, the Lion chocolate, the Bull brown; the robes of the Evangelists are glittering, glassy white or yellow or translucent green; and these four great Teachers with their books are placed in wavy blue backgrounds, as though they were sitting comfortably at the bottom of the sea.»