Thursday, July 25, 2019

St. PAUL FIRST HERMIT

S. PAOLO PRIMO EREMITA
1767/75 Clemente Orlandi (1694/1775) Luigi Vanvitelli's pupil. It was built over a previous church of mysterious origins
“The church stands on the site of an older one, for which the only source is a manuscript of Giovanni Antonio Bruzio. According to this manuscript some Hungarian and Polish monks, following the rule of St. Paul the First Hermit, previously settled in S. Salvatore in Onda and later in S. Stefano Rotondo, in 1669 bought this site on Viminal Hill from the Cistercians of St. Pudentiana and erected here a small church and a monastery” (Antonio Michelazzi - www.sanfrumenzio.it/archivio/paolo_di_tebe.pdf)
“It was the most important job, albeit late in his life, that Orlandi was ever given. His career, although celebrated with important academic awards, had consisted mainly in technical consulting, renovations and restorations. So he poured it into what was to be his masterpiece, all of his architectural culture, deeply rooted in the great tradition of the Roman Baroque” (Antonio Federico Caiola)
It is the last example of a Baroque style building in Rome
It became the new Hungarian church of the Order of the Pauline Monks after the destruction in 1777 of the ancient church of the Hungarians near the Basilica of St. Peter, for the construction of the new sacristy
It was also dedicated to the St. Stephen I (about 970/1038), the first king of Hungary who had promoted the conversion of the Hungarians to Christianity
Since 1801 it belonged to the Conservatory of the Most Holy Trinity
Deconsecrated in 1870 when the Savoy crest on the FAÇADE replaced a palm tree. The coat of arms is still however supported by two lions and a raven, symbol of the saint as the palm
It is now owned by the Ministry of Interior and it is the seat of the officers' club of the Italian Police

INTERIOR
A Greek cross with a dome with skylight windows. The original decorations is gone
St. PAUL OF THEBES lived in the third century AD and, according to tradition, when he was sixteen, during the persecution of Decius (249/251), fled into the wilderness where he lived for almost ninety years sheltered in a cave with a palm tree and a source of water, eating the bread that was brought to him by a raven
He would have died at 113 years in the year 341 AD
At his death, St. Anthony Abbot buried him in a pit dug, according to legend, by two lions
In the emblem of the Order of the Pauline Monks there are the symbols of St. Paul of Thebes that relate to his life: a palm tree, two lions and a raven with a piece of bread in its beak

St. PAUL AT THE REGOLA

S. PAOLO ALLA REGOLA
Founded according to tradition at the time of Pope Sylvester I (314/355) in a house that had already been converted into a chapel
It was known as SCHOLA PAULI (Paul's School) for the tradition according to which St. Paul lived here for two years. Tradition has it also that he wrote here his letters to the Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians and to Philemon which are part of the New Testament
The church was home to corporations including the ones of the Cappellari (hat makers), Vinai (wine makers), Barbieri (barbers), Cicoriari (chicory pickers) and Vaccinari (cowmen) 
Rebuilt since 1687 by G.B. Bergonzoni (1629/92) for the Third Regular Order of St. Francis of the Sicilian Nation
Consecrated in 1728

FAÇADE
Finished in 1721 with a project by Giacomo Cioli (?/1734) executed by Giuseppe Sardi (1680/1753)

1st RIGHT - CHAPEL OF St. ROSALIA
Above the altar “Sts. Chiara, Rose of Viterbo and Rosalia” maybe by Cristoforo Creo
Oval painting on the right “Martyrdom of St. Erasmus” by Biagio Puccini (1673/1721)

BETWEEN 1st AND 2nd CHAPEL ON THE RIGHT
“Tomb of Bishop Pietro Gioeni” d. 1761

2nd RIGHT - CHAPEL OF St. FRANCIS
Above the altar “St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata” 1695 by Michele Rocca (about 1675/1751) from Parma
Formerly erroneously attributed to Francesco Mazzola, who, just like Michele Rocca, was nicknamed Parmigianino

3rd RIGHT - CHAPEL OF THE CROSS
Above the altar “Bronze crucifix” attributed to Alessandro Algardi (1598/1654) or Pietro Bracci (1700/73)

ABOVE THE DOOR OF THE ORATORY
Oval painting “St. Thomas Aquinas admires St. Bonaventure who had fallen into a trance” by Biagio Puccini

ORATORY OF St. PAUL
Oldest area of the church built on the ruins of the house, maybe prison, of St. Paul
Rebuilt 1931 by Antonio Muñoz (1884/1960)
Mosaic “St. Paul” by Eugenio Cisterna (1862/1933)

MAIN ALTAR
At the center “Conversion of St. Paul”, on the right “Martyrdom of St. Paul”, on the left “Preaching of St. Paul” about 1701 frescoes by Luigi Garzi (1638/1721), a pupil of Andrea Sacchi later influenced by Carlo Maratta
“Luigi Garzi went to Rome from Pistoia when he was very young (...) He was at the school of Andrea Sacchi whose teachings helped to direct him towards classicism. Sacchi in particular advised him to study the works of Raphael, Domenichino and Nicolas Poussin. Garzi studied also other classicists Emilian painters such as Guido Reni, and he preferred Giovanni Lanfranco above all. He was, however, decisively influenced by Carlo Maratta, 'so that he can be considered, as a painter, on a minor parallel line to Carlo Maratta, but with interesting differences and anticipations of the eighteenth century' (Sestieri, 1994)” (Gerardo Casale - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
Eighteenth-century choir made out of walnut wood
ORGAN 1763 by Hans Conrad Wehrle (beginning eighteenth century/1771), German organ builder designer of numerous organs for churches in Rome and in the Lazio region, including that of St. Mary Magdalene
Marble tabernacle for the holy oils made in 1535

3rd LEFT - CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF GRACE
Above the altar fresco beginning of fifteenth century “Our Lady of Grace” believed to be miraculous, formerly at the entrance of the old church
Above the door of the sacristy
Oval painting “Virgin Mary delivering the Child to St. Clare of Assisi” by Biagio Puccini

2nd LEFT - CHAPEL OF St. ANNA
Above the altar “St. Anna receives the Child Jesus from the arms of the Virgin” by Giacinto Calandrucci (1646/1707) a pupil of Carlo Maratta
In the vault frescoes “Glory of St. Anna” and “Prophets” by Salvatore Monosilio (active since 1744/d. 1776) who was also a pupil of Maratta

1st LEFT - CHAPEL OF St. ANTHONY OF PADUA
Above the altar “St. Anthony of Padua with the Child in his arms” by Giacinto Calandrucci
Oval painting on the left “Miracle of the healing of the foot by St. Anthony” by Giacomo Dio
In the aedicula of the altar “Redeemer” fragment of a larger painting by an anonymous artist of the Veneto-Lombardy area

SACRISTY
1712 Alessandro De Grandis
Vault “St. Paul points out to St. John Chrysostom the Virgin Mary in Glory” by Ignazio Stern (1679/1748)
Walnut cabinets of 1736

Insula Romana di S. Paolo alla Regola

Ancient Roman Apartment Block of St. Paul at the Regola
Under PALAZZO SPECCHI, the building dating back to the sixteenth century to the right of the church, archaeologists found in the years 1978/82 a large brick building made out of four floors dating back to the imperial age with medieval phases of construction
Two of the ancient four floors are below the current street level 
The building was originally built at the time of Domitian (81/96 AD) to be used as a warehouse, maybe the HORREA VESPASIANI, used as part of the port and trading activities that took place along the nearby Tiber River
Two rooms in opus latericium (concrete covered with bricks) and two rooms with mosaic floors arranged on roads parallel to the Tiber and slightly sloping towards the river 
In the Severan period (early third century AD), the building was renovated and new warehouses, spacious halls and residential apartments were built. The new structures made the building rise to four stories in height
In the twelfth century on the ancient building a house with a tower was built, which is still visible behind Palazzo Specchi

Monday, July 22, 2019

St. PANTALEON

S. PANTALEO
Mentioned in the sources for the first time in 1186
Maybe restored in about 1216 by Honorius III Savelli (1216/27) who entrusted it to English prelates
Originally it had the orientation reversed, with entry from Piazzetta dei Massimi
Granted in 1614 by Paul V Borghese (1605/21) to St. Joseph Calasanz (1557/1648), founder of the Order of the Pious Schools, the first free public schools in Europe that he opened in 1567 near the church of S. Dorotea (St. Dorothy of Caesarea) in Trastevere
Reconstructed in two phases: 1681/82 and 1686/89 by Giovanni Antonio De Rossi (1616/95) for Cardinal Gaspare Carpegna, with the orientation reversed
Last work of Giovanni Antonio De Rossi and his most accomplished piece of religious architecture, although maybe his initial project with a central plan had been rejected by the Order
“The architectural structure of S. Pantaleo is the expression of a first attempt to evolution, if not revolution, of Baroque poetry towards forms that are able to rationalize the means of expression, in the context of a classical language” (Gianfranco Spagnesi)
Dedicated to St. Panteaeon doctor of Nicomedia, martyr in the year 305. In Rome, the name changed to Pantaleo and he became the protector of the lotto players and he was an inspiration for winning numbers. The church was used for a long time for exorcisms

1806 Giuseppe Valadier (1762/1839) for Prince Giovanni Torlonia with “Frieze with weapons and armor” by Pietro Aurelj

Spectacular “Triumph of the Name of Mary” 1687/92 masterpiece by Filippo Gherardi (1643/1704)
Six years before starting this amazing fresco Filippo Gherardi had mourned the death of the painter Giovanni Coli (1636/81), his beloved partner, with whom he wanted to share the grave even though he died 23 years later

1st RIGHT - CHAPEL OF THE CROSS
Sculptural group “Crucified Christ and Mary Magdalene” by an unknown artist of the eighteenth century and fresco with “Landscape”

2nd RIGHT - CHAPEL OF St. JOSEPH
Above the altar “Death of S. Joseph” about 1690 maybe by Sebastiano Ricci (1659/1734) with beautiful still life on the left
Inside the altar there are the relics of St. Flavian martyr

1763/67 designed by Nicola Salvi (1697/1751)
Redesigned and begun by Carlo Murena (1713/64)
Finished in 1802 by Giuseppe Valadier
Relief in stucco “St. Joseph Calasanz and the Scolopi Fathers attend the triumph of Our Lady” 1802 by Luigi Acquisti (1745/1823) with inserted “Madonna of the pious schools” given to the Scolopi Fathers in 1688
Urn containing the body of St. Joseph Calasanz by Carlo Murena

2nd LEFT - CHAPEL OF St. PANTALEON
Above the altar “St. Pantaleon heals the sick” 1689 by Tommaso Caisotti copy from an original of Guido Reni
Inside the altar since 1995 body of blessed Pietro Casani

1740/46. Above the altar “Sts. Joachim and Anne with the Virgin Mary as a young girl” about 1750 Bartolomeo Bosi

SACRISTY
In the passageway of the entry “Tomb of Laudomia Brancaleone” d. 1577 daughter of Giovanni Brancaleone, the knight who led the Italians to victory in the challenge of Barletta in 1503
“Sts. Justus and Pastor” maybe by Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626) the only painting remaining of the original furnishings

ORATORY OF THE APPARITION
Decorated 1923/25 by Antonino Calcagnadoro (1876/1935)

ROOM OF St. JOSEPH CALASANZ
It is the room where he lived and died in 1648. Frescoes of the sixteenth century

St. ONUPHRIUS

S. ONOFRIO AL GIANICOLO
1439 on the site of the 1419 oratory of the Blessed Nicola da Forca Palena
Completed in the sixteenth century
Restored in 1949
St. Onuphrius was a martyr of the fourth century, patron saint of weavers

Three lunettes with stories of St. Jerome: “Baptism”, “Vision” and “Temptation” 1605 by Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641) for Cardinal Girolamo Agucchi
This work was the personal Roman debut of Domenichino, after having worked with Annibale Carracci in the Farnese Palace

Above the door - Lunette with “Two Sibyls” by Agostino Tassi (1578/1644)

OUTER LUNETTE ABOVE THE PORTAL OF THE CHURCH
“Madonna and Child” 1600 by Claudio Ridolfi

1st RIGHT - CHAPEL OF St. ONUPHRIUS
Two spandrels with “Annunciation” by Antonio Aquili aka Antoniazzo Romano (about 1435-40/1508)
Round panel “Eternal Father” maybe by Baldassare Peruzzi (1481/1536)

Stucco and frescoes by G.B. Ricci (about 1550/1624)
Above the altar “Madonna of Loreto” 1604/05 by Annibale Carracci (1560/1609) and his workshop, consisting at the time of Domenichino, Sisto Badalocchio (1585/1645), Francesco Albani (1578/1660) and Giovanni Lanfranco (1582/1647)
“The charming painting mixes the depiction of the miraculous transportation of the house of the Virgin Mary from Nazareth to Loreto, to the well-known theme of the intercession of prayer for the souls in purgatory, on which, to extinguish the ardor of the flames within which they are immersed, the Child is pouring water from a jar” (Daniele Benati)

TO THE RIGHT OF THE MAIN ALTAR
“Funerary Monument of Giovanni Sacco” of the school of Andrea Bregno (1418/1503) and, in the lunette, fresco “St. Anne teaching reading to Mary” by unknown artist of Umbrian or Roman school

Frescoes “Stories of Mary” 1503/06 maybe first work in Rome by Baldassare Peruzzi (1481/1536), according to Giorgio Vasari

3rd CHAPEL ON THE LEFT
“Funerary Monument of Cardinal Filippo Sega” with portrait of Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641)

2nd LEFT - CHAPEL OF THE HOLY TRINITY
In the vault “Trinity” by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746)

“Funerary Monument of Torquato Tasso (1544/95)” 1857 by Giuseppe De Fabris (1790/1860)
The great poet from Sorrento renewed the genre of the epic poem with his Gerusalemme Liberata (Jerusalem Delivered) completed in 1575
“I went to visit Tasso's tomb of and I cried. This was the first and the only pleasure I have felt in Rome” (Giacomo Leopardi)
Votive lamp design by Duilio Cambellotti (1876/1960)

SACRISTY
Fresco in the vault about 1723 by Girolamo Pesci (1679/1759)
On the right “Blessed Peter of Pisa” by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746)

Fifteenth century lunettes with “Stories of St. Onuphrius” painted in the seventeenth century by Claudio Ridolfi, Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino (1568/1640) and Vespasiano Strada (1582/1622)

UPSTAIRS
In a corridor wall “Madonna of the donor” by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (1466-67/1516), mistakenly believed by Leonardo da Vinci

Museo Tassiano

Torquato Tasso Museum
Housed in the two rooms where the great poet Torquato Tasso (1544/95) lived the last period of his life and where he died on April 25, 1595 
“Jerusalem Delivered is a revised version of a historical event in which the author inserted different themes to present a vision of a world full of conflicts and contradictions, in which are fighting on the one hand the angelic powers and the Christian sense of the marvelous, on the other hand the powers of hell and other diabolical magic. (...) Tasso suffered ostracism from the Accademia della Crusca (...) and was not liked by Galileo Galilei, who in his 'Considerazioni al Tasso' (Thoughts about Tasso) even defined the poem a 'junk of crammed words'. However, since the eighteenth century Tasso was unquestionably included in the canon of the greatest Italian poets together with Dante, Petrarch and Ariosto. Throughout the history of Italian poetic language he was a crucial pivot point: the gatherer of the manifold experiences of rhetorical and stylistic renaissance as well as the forerunner of modern developments (...). For Giacomo Leopardi he was an example and an essential reservoir of peculiar and daring language and style, and in episodes of mannerism of twentieth-century poetry is not uncommon to detect the presence Tasso, for example in Ungaretti” (Enciclopedia Treccani)
Among the objects exhibited:
FIRST ROOM
Mask taken from his corpse, the urn that kept his ashes for many years, a metal crucifix given to him by the Pope and bequeathed by him to the monks, four chairs, a wooden casket adorned with twelve statues of saints, an inkwell made of wood, one small oval mirror, the yellow band with which he girded

SECOND ROOM
Various manuscripts and old editions of the Jerusalem Delivered and of other works of his

St. HOMOBONUS

S. OMOBONO
It was built over the pre-existing church S. Salvatore in Portico of the sixth century, in turn built on the ruins of the ancient TEMPLE OF MATER MATUTA 
Rebuilt in 1482 with money from a bequest of Stefano de Satri Baronilis, warden of the nearby hospital of S. Maria in Portico. The tomb of his family is in the church 
Granted in 1575 to the Università dei Sarti (University of the Tailors) who restored it and dedicated it to St. Homobonus Tucenghi from Cremona, who lived in the second half of the twelfth century, protector of clothes collectors 
Other restorations in the years 1767, 1856, 1877, 1942 and 1964

CEILING 
Painting “Virgin Mary between Sts. Homobonus and Anthony” by Cesare Mariani (1826/1901)

3rd CHAPEL ON THE LEFT
“Tomb of the Satri family” of the fifteenth century, with peculiar iconography of the seventeenth century with Eternal Father, divine tailor, making Adam wear a fur

Sunday, July 14, 2019

St. NICHOLAS IN PRISON

S. NICOLA IN CARCERE
Maybe built in the seventh century. Mentioned in the sources for the first time in the ninth century
Renovated in 1128 at the time of Honorius II (1124/30) as evidenced by the plaque at the top of the right nave. Dating back to the same period are the frescoes with “Baptism of Christ”, “Prophets” and “Decorative motifs with plants and animals” detached in 1853 and now in the Vatican Museums
Restored in 1733 with the remake of roof and floor and with the construction of the sacristy
Restored in the years 1846/65 with a new restoration of the roof and the opening of four windows on each side of the nave and two in the transept
It was isolated from adjacent buildings in 1932
The church's name probably derives from an early medieval prison not existing anymore that had to be nearby
On every 6th of December, on the occasion of the feast of St. Nicholas, here the loaves of bread of St. Nicholas were donated to the faithful
Regional Church of Puglia and Lucania regions

FAÇADE
1599 Giacomo Della Porta (1533/1602) for Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, restored in 1733, and finally in 1808 by Giuseppe Valadier (1762/1839)
In the reliefs “Eight-pointed stars” symbol of the Aldobrandini family. On the right “Martyrs Mark and Marcellianus”, on the left “St. Nicholas”

BELL TOWER
Probable rest of the fortifications of the Pierleoni family, with bells cast in 1286 by Guidotto Pisano

MAIN NAVE
Ten panels with “Stories of St. Nicholas” 1865/66 by Guido Guidi (1867/1911)
“This was Guido Guidi's first public commission. He was a minor exponent of the Eclectic Roman group of artists lead by Francesco Podesti and Pietro Gagliardi, after the teachings of Purism by Tommaso Minardi” (Angela Catalano)

BEGINNING OF THE RIGHT NAVE
Copy of the “Holy Trinity” by Guercino (in S. Maria della Vittoria) by Constantino Brumidi (1805/80) who maybe also executed the copy of the “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” by Annibale Carracci from the original (in S. Maria del Popolo) in the chapel of the left nave
Constantino Brumidi eventually ended up in Washington where he painted the Capitol for twenty five years

ON THE WALL OF THE RIGHT NAVE
Painting “Madonna and Child” about 1470 by Antonio Aquili aka Antoniazzo Romano (about 1435-40/1508). Some date it to 1486, when an altar was consecrated in the left nave, where perhaps it was originally placed

RIGHT TRANSEPT
“Tomb of Cardinal G.B. Rezzonico” nephew of Clement XIII Rezzonico (1758/69) by the Irish Christopher Hewetson (about 1739/1797)

AT THE END OF THE RIGHT TRANSEPT - CHAPEL OF THE ROSARY
Frescoes inspired by the Eucharist by Giovanni Baglione (1566/1643), the only remnant of the paintings that were in the church at the end of the sixteenth century

APSE
On the basin “Glorification of Christ between the Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas with Triumphant Church in heaven and with Militant Church on earth”, on the hemicycle in the bottom part “St. Nicholas at the Council of Nicaea in 325 hurls anathemas against Arius” by Vincenzo Pasqualoni (1819/80) a pupil of Tommaso Minardi, like Guido Guidi
Painting “St. Nicholas between angels and the three children he resurrected” by an anonymous eighteenth-century artist

MAIN ALTAR
“Urn in green porphyry” about IV/V d.C. from the crypt
“Four angels in bronze holding the altar” by Antonio Della Bitta (1807/about 1879) who also sculpted the famous statue of Neptune in the homonymous fountain that decorates the north of Piazza Navona

TRIUMPHANT ARCH
On the sides “Angels with the symbols of the episcopate and of St. Nicholas” by Guido Guidi

LEFT TRANSEPT
Above the altar “Ascension of Jesus” 1505/06 by Lorenzo Costa (1460/1535)
Lorenzo Costa was one of the most important artists of the schools of Ferrara and Mantua in the sixteenth century. The work was painted for the church of S. Maria Mascarella in Bologna and it was badly cut to fit this altar

CHAPEL IN THE LEFT TRANSEPT - CHAPEL OF THE CROSS
On the altar “Wooden crucifix painted” of the sixteenth century
On the left wall painting “St. Nicholas between Christ and the Virgin Mary” by an unknown nineteenth-century artist

LEFT NAVE - CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
On the altar “Our Lady of Guadalupe” by an anonymous artist, brought from Mexico in 1773 by Jesuit missionaries
Frescoes with “Angels”, “Prophets”, “Annunciation” and “Coronation of the Virgin Mary” 1862 by Luigi Martinori (1828/95)
On the left copy of the “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” maybe by Constantino Brumidi from the original by Annibale Carracci in S. Maria del Popolo
On the right “Annunciation” by an unknown seventeenth-century artist of Tuscan culture

SACRISTY
In the entrance canvas “Immaculate Conception” maybe by Guido Guidi (1867/1911)
“Eighteenth-century wooden crucifix”
Copy painted in 1850 of the “Ecstasy of St. Francis” by Domenichino from the original in the church of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception

Three Temples under St. Nicholas in Prison

To the right of the church
TEMPLE OF JANUS (maybe) 
264/241 BC Caius Duilius during the First Punic War 
Restored in the year 17 AD by Tiberius (14/37) 
Peripterus hexastyle sine postico (columns all around, six columns in the front, non in the back) with eight columns remaining on the right side and two in front

Under the church
197 BC, the current structure dates back to 90 BC built for one Cecilia Metella 
Peripterus hexastyle in Ionic style

To the left of the church
TEMPLE OF HOPE (maybe) 
260 BC Atilius Calatinus
Peripterus hexastyle with six Doric columns on the left side. Originally on each side there were eleven columns

St. NICHOLAS OF THE PREFECTS

S. NICOLA DEI PREFETTI
Maybe built in the eighth century. Mentioned in the sources for the first time in the twelfth century
The name probably derives from some relationship with the nearby headquarters of the Prefecture of Rome
In the years 1524/26 it was occupied by St. Cajetan of Thiene and his companions becoming the first church of the order of the Regular Clerks also known as Theatins founded in 1524 by St. Cajetan of Thiene and Gian Pietro Carafa, later Paul IV (1555/59)
1729 rebuilt and rededicated by Pope Clement XIII Orsini (1758/69)

1674 inserted between the wings of the former Dominican convent

1860/62 restoration by Paolo Belloni
Pictorial decoration 1914/17 by Cleto Luzzi (1884/1952)

VESTIBULE
“Funerary epigraphs of the poet Francesco Lorenzini and the Canon Giuseppe Paolucci, one of the founders of the Academy of Arcadia” 1746

Paintings “St. Pius V in prayer” between “Angels musicians” in monochrome by Cleto Luzzi

In the center “Glory of St. Nicholas of Bari” about 1730 by Giacomo Triga (1674/1746), a pupil of Benedetto Luti, who maybe also painted the boards with the “Stations of the Cross”
Six medallions “Four Cardinal Virtues” and “Two angels with inscriptions” by Cleto Luzzi

1st CHAPEL ON THE RIGHT
Modern plaster statue of the “Sacred Heart”

2nd CHAPEL ON THE RIGHT
Above the altar “St. Nicholas of Bari resurrecting three children” by an anonymous seventeenth-century artist

TO THE RIGHT OF THE ALTAR
“Funerary monument of Giovanna Ripario” who died in 1863, when she was twenty years old exactly on the day of her wedding, with a bust by an anonymous nineteenth-century artist

On the altar most venerated “Seventeenth-century wooden Crucifix” of the Confraternita del Santissimo Crocifisso Agonizzante (Brotherhood of the Holy Cross in Agony)
It is related to a miracle which occurred in 1740: the Crucifix remained unharmed during a fire in the Oratory at St. Nicholas in Arcione that melted down even the bronze candlesticks and a bronze medallion hung on the Crucifix. It was moved here in 1848
Under the Crucifix there is a painting of the Virgin Mary known as “Mater Misericordiae” by an anonymous seventeenth-century artist
Walls painted on the right “Pietà”, on the left “Agony in the Garden” and in the lunette “Choir of Angels” 1914/17 by Cleto Luzzi

TO THE LEFT OF THE ALTAR
Monumental “Funerary memory of the spouses Antonio Cassetta and Maria Teresa Sturbinetti” 1868 by Luca Carimini (1830/90) inspired by the Renaissance monuments of Andrea Bregno

2nd LEFT - CHAPEL OF THE ROSARY
Gorgeous “Altar frontal in gilt bronze” of the second half of the nineteenth century by unknown Roman craftsmen
Eighteenth-century altar sculpture “Madonna of the Rosary” with dress decorated in silver and gold

1st CHAPEL ON THE LEFT
Above the altar “Madonna and Child with Sts. Joseph and James” 1859 by Vincenzo Pasqualoni (1819/80), a pupil of Tommaso Minardi

Sunday, May 26, 2019

St. NICHOLAS OF THE LORRAINS

S. NICOLA DEI LORENESI
Formerly S. Nicola in Agone, mentioned by the sources for the first time in 1186
It was built with marble taken from the nearby Stadium of Domitian
In 1476 Sixtus IV Della Rovere (1471/84) granted the church of S. Stefano in Regione Pontis (destroyed in 1888 for the construction of the Victor Emmanuel II Bridge) to the four transalpine nations: France, Burgundy, Lorraine and Savoy. Lorraine was independent nation until its annexation to France in 1766
In 1612 the sculptor from Lorraine Nicolas Cordier (1567/1612) left a large sum for the construction of a new national church of Lorraine
In 1623 it was decided to rebuild the old and abandoned S. Nicola in Agone
Rebuilt 1635/36 with new FAÇADE in travertine by the architect from Lorraine François Desjardins, when it was assigned to the Brotherhood of Lorraine

Fully decorated with splendid frescoes in the years 1731/33 by Corrado Giaquinto (1703/66), his first great masterpiece:
Spandrels “Four cardinal virtues”: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance
Vault of the presbytery “Three theological virtues”: Faith, Hope and Charity
Counter façade “Angel releasing a prisoner”
“These paintings, made readable again by the recent restoration, marked the Roman debut of the artist, who proved himself master of his own personal language, formed on contemporary Roman examples, while the influence of Francesco Solimena seemed to have somewhat reduced (...). Sign of the success met by Giaquinto with the decoration of the national church of Lorraine was the call to the court of Turin, in June 1733, by Filippo Iuvarra” (Susanne Adine Meyer - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
“Giaquinto first worked closely with Sebastiano Conca, then ended up distinguishing progressively himself for a more blunt penchant for painting with results of airy and bright rococo, as with these brilliant frescoes” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
RIGHT CHAPEL
Above the altar “St. Peter Fourier and the Virgin Mary” about 1730 by Francesco Antonozzi

MAIN ALTAR
“St. Nicholas with the three children and a prisoner” about 1676/86 by Nicolas François de Bar aka Nicolas Lorrain or Niccolò Lorenese (1632/95)
In the upper part “Decorations with architectural trompe-l'oeil” 1750 by the Roman architect Giuseppe Silvestri

LEFT CHAPEL
Above the altar “Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria” about 1660/74 by Nicolas François de Bar aka Nicolas Lorrain or Niccolò Lorenese

ABOVE THE FOUR DOORS
Four reliefs in stucco “Stories of St. Nicholas”:
On the right “St. Nicholas elected bishop of Myra” and “St. Nicholas refuses breast milk on Wednesdays and Fridays”
On the left “St. Nicholas child prays during a bath” and “St. Nicholas distributes his possessions to the poor” 1749 by G.B. Grossi, who also sculpted one relief for the Trevi Fountain
During the same period the SIXTEEN PILLARS were coated with Sicilian jasper and yellow marble from Siena by Pietro Mariotti

ABOVE THE FIRST DOOR ON THE LEFT
“Crucifix” in front of which young Roman couples used to swear eternal love