This chapel represents the Crucifixion, the fifth and final sorrowful mystery of the rosary. Construction was completed in 1623, but the interior decorations were not added until the second half of the seventeenth century. Dionigi Bussola (1615 - 1687) modeled no less than fifty life-sized figures and seven animals in terracotta for this group. It is not clear exactly when the sculptures were made but it is likely that Bussola worked on them over the course of multiple years, given the number of figures and the number of other projects he was engaged in during the mid-sixteen-eighties. Bussola was also active at the Sacro Monte of Domodossola beginning in 1661, which seems to predate his work at Varese. The figures here were probably finished in 1668, when Antonio Busca (c. 1626 - 1686) began work on the chapel's frescoes, since the Sacri Monti's sculptures were usually installed before painting began. Together Bussola and Busca went on to chair the departments of Sculpture and Painting at the Ambrosian Academy in Milan when it reopened in 1668/69. Like the other chapels on this part of the mountain, the Crucifixion Chapel was built adjoining the natural rock face and suffered greatly from the resultant humidity. In the nineteen-twenties the living stone was cut away from the walls of the chapel, but the use of dynamite caused further damage to the sculptures inside. Girolamo Poloni (1877 - 1954) carried out a comprehensive restoration campaign between 1926 and 1928 under the direction of Ludovico Poghliaghi (1857 - 1950), who had been his teacher at the Brera Academy in Milan. Poghliaghi lived on the mountain -- his house has since become a museum. He is best known for his sculptures on the central portal of Milan's Cathedral. Poloni repainted the damaged frescoes and it is unclear how closely he may have followed Busca's original composition. He also rearranged many of the sculpted figures. The chapel was designed with two access doors, which allowed pilgrims to enter and view the scene as if they were participants, just as Gaudenzio Ferrari had designed the original Crucifixion Chapel at Varallo in the 1520s. This is the only chapel at Varese that we can be sure was accessible to visitors at some point. Poloni used figures from other parts of the scene to block the doorways and fill the space in the foreground that was meant for pilgrims. More recent restorations, in 1985, uncovered some of this space but it was impossible to determine precisely how Bussola had arranged the sculptures. The horses' tack is period appropriate, but not original to the chapel. Similarly, a small collection of wooden arms and armor was tucked out of sight by restorers in 1985, because these objects are believed to have been added sometime after the chapel was finished. A peasant holding a pickaxe at the foot of the cross is believed to be a portrait of the Sacro Monte's architect, Giuseppe Bernascone. / The Sacro Monte sopra Varese is built on Mount Olona, also called Mount Vellate, which is believed to be the site of Saint Ambrose's final victory over an army of Arian heretics in the year 389. A church dedicated to the Madonna del Monte was erected on the site in the 10th century and rebuilt by the duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, in the late 15th century. Two local women established an Augustinian convent there in 1474 and, little more than a century later, another of their number proposed that a Sacro Monte be built leading up to the sanctuary. There are fourteen chapels and three monumental arches illustrating the mysteries of the rosary, preceded by a church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The final mystery is represented by the cult statue on the high altar, which is attributed to Saint Luke. The chapels were designed by Giuseppe Bernascone, il Mancino (1565 - 1627), an architect from Varese who trained with Pellegrino Tibaldi (1527 - 1596), or Pellegrino de' Pellegrini, and constructed quickly between 1605 and 1699. They are significantly larger than the chapels at any other Sacro Monte.