The Twelfth Panel
On display at Chianti is a rare and beautiful bronze panel from the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican that is on display in the restaurant. The panel is one of three known copies of what was once the twelfth of 16 featured on the Holy Door of the Basilica. In 1949, famous Italian bronze sculptor, Vico Consorti, was commissioned by the Vatican to create these panels, each depicting one of the 16 Lessons of Christ. In September of that year, the Vatican approved each of the castings and the door was installed in St. Peter’s. Not long after its completion, Pope Pius XII realized that the 12th panel was incorrect: in the 12th Lesson there’s a “good thief” on Jesus’ right and a “bad thief” on his left. As the Lesson goes, Christ forgives of the “good thief,” so his head should look toward the right. The panel, however, featured Jesus turning to the left, and thus Consorti remade the panel to be correct.
Ultimately, three copies were cast in error before the Pope ordered the incorrect cast destroyed. From what we know, there is one copy in the Vatican Museum, another with the sculptor’s family, and a third, which has been held in the Zecchini family for many years.