Monday, November 26, 2018

St. CATHERINE OF THE WHEEL

S. CATERINA DELLA ROTA
Piazza di S. Caterina della Rota
Mentioned in the Mirabilia Urbis Romae, a guide for pilgrims who visited Rome, in the twelfth century as S. MARIA IN CATERINO or IN CATERINE
Mentioned by a papal bull in 1186 as S. MARIAE IN CATHERINA

There are two hypotheses to explain the present name:

1) Maybe it comes from a certain Caterina, who must have founded the church, and whose name must have been kept in the name of the church, just as it happened for the churches of S. Lorenzo in Lucina or S. Lorenzo in Miranda

2) Maybe it comes from a misunderstanding: attached to the church there was a hospital for prisoners rescued from the hands of the Muslims of Tripoli and Tunis. They used to hang their chains at the altar of the Virgin Mary, in memory of the liberation, hence the name de catenariis

Over time, this expression was transformed into Caterina (Catherine), and then the cult of St. Catherine of Alexandria replaced that of the Virgin Mary
The rota refers to the instrument of torture of the saint who was killed in the early fourth century
Restored in the eighties of the sixteenth century by Ottaviano Nonni aka Ottaviano Mascherino (1524/1606) and about 1730, the period to which dates the fa├žade designed by an unknown architect
Restored again in the years 1857 and 1879
It is since 1929 the church of the palafrenieri (grooms) or the papal sediari, people who supported the gestatorial chair of the pope and accompanied the papal carriage

WOODEN CEILING
1587/88 moved here from the destroyed Church of St. Francis near Ponte Sisto (Sixtus Bridge) destroyed in 1879 to build the Tiber Walls

1st NICHE ON THE RIGHT
Above the altar “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” and in the lunette “Two prophets and two putti” 1549 by Girolamo Muziano (1532/92)

“If in the lunette the influence of Michelangelo is evident, in the night scene of the panel, the artist resorts to Venetian models (Tintoretto, Sebastiano del Piombo) who had such a big part in his training” (Daniele Ferrara)

“Many elements of the style of Muziano remind us of Sebastiano del Piombo: the attitude full of quiet dignity of his figures, their restrained movements, the simple nobility of the clothes' motives, the wide technique, which still recalls Venice, the colors mostly gentle and harmonious” (Hermann Voss)

2nd NICHE ON THE RIGHT
“Wooden crucifix” maybe of the end of 1500s maybe by an anonymous Flemish artist

3rd NICHE ON THE RIGHT
“Altar of St. Anne” 1933. Sculptural group “St. Anne and the Virgin Mary” from the Monastery of the Most Holy Conception in the Campus Martius

MAIN ALTAR
“Glory of St. Catherine of Alexandria” painting of the nineteenth century by a certain Zucca
On the right fresco “God the Father in between angels and cherubs” maybe by Francesco Nappi (c. 1565/1630)
Nappi also painted the fresco in the apse to the left of the high altar beneath which there is the painting “Sts. Peter and Paul” by an anonymous artist of the end of the seventeenth century influenced by Carlo Maratta

“A sort of expressionistic epilogue of the parable of Francesco Nappi” (Claudio Strinati)

To the left of the main altar there is a “Case for the Holy Oil” of the beginning of the sixteenth century, in the form of a marble shrine

“The chorus joins the nave with three apses and, with its plan as a clover, it is the most interesting element of the structure of the church: Mascherino's drawing depicting the layout of the church kept in Rome at the National Academy of St. Luke is not still a sufficient element to understand whether the rare form with three apses would be his creation or if it would constitute a medieval legacy instead” (Daniele Ferrara)

3rd NICHE ON THE LEFT - DE MONTE ALTAR
Frescoes “Madonna and Child with Sts. Catherine of Alexandria and Apollonia” 1569 maybe by Domenico Zaga or Michele Grechi

2nd NICHE ON THE LEFT
“Miracle of St. Valeria” nineteenth century copy of Francesco Kech from the original painted for the Basilica of St. Peter by Giovanni Antonio Galli aka the Spadarino (1585/about 1653)

According to tradition, St. Valeria was beheaded for her faith and then she took her head in front of her bishop, S. Martial, who had made her convert

1st NICHE ON THE LEFT
“Funerary Memory of Giuseppe Vasi (1710/82)” engraver, architect and landscape painter born in Corleone in Sicily, famous for his detailed views of Rome

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