sarcophagus of Pius VI is on the left side of the Chapel. It displays
a cross in the center and two strigilled panels on the sides.
is a precious marble fragment of another sarcophagus (c. IV century)
from the collection of antiquities of the basilica. In the center,
two winged geniuses hold a plate for an inscription. To the left
is the story of Joseph pulled out of the wall and sold by his brothers.
To the right is one of the oldest representations of the Epiphany
from the first half of the 4th century. Mary is sitting on a draped
throne. She presents the Child to the Three Magi carrying gifts,
each one followed by a camel. Behind her is the cross. This is one
of the first representations in Christian art of the latin cross
to symbolize the life of Jesus (Child = beginning, Cross = end).
On the wall
above is an inscription which reads:
PII VI EXVVIAS QVEM INIVSTVM CONSVMPSIT EXILIVM
PIVS XII PONT. MAX. HEIC DIGNE COLLOCARI
AC MARMOREO ORNAMENTO ARTE HISTORIAQVE PRAESTANTISSIMO
DECORARI IVSSIT A. MCMXXXXIX
mortal remains of Pius VI, consumed in unjust exile,
by order of Pius XII
are placed in this dignified and decorous location, illustrious
for art and history,