Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Cathedra Petri (Chair of Saint Peter)

Did Peter sit here? Dizzying but unified, light and gold glorify this sacred place.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Cathedra Petri (or Chair of Saint Peter), gilded bronze, gold, wood, stained glass, 1647–53 (apse of Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Rome)

According to tradition, Saint Peter himself, the founder of the institution of the Church and considered the first pope, sat on the ancient wooden chair that is encased within this larger bronze and gold chair.

Additional resources

Chair of Peter from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia


Smarthistory images for teaching and learning:

[flickr_tags user_id=”82032880@N00″ tags=”StPetri,”]

More Smarthistory images…

Cite this page as: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker, "Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Cathedra Petri (Chair of Saint Peter)," in Smarthistory, August 24, 2022, accessed April 16, 2024,