Friday, September 27, 2013


In 1561 the Sicilian priest Antonio Del Duca, devoted to the worship of the angels, obtained from Pius IV Medici (1559/65) the consecration for the Carthusian Monks of St. Croce in Gerusalemme of the emposing ruins of the BATHS OF DIOCLETIAN (284/305) built in eight years, between 298 and 306
The great Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475/1564) worked from 1561 until his death in 1564 to transform those ruined structures into a huge church
His work was then continued until 1566 by his pupil Jacopo Del Duca (about 1520/1604), who was also nephew of the priest Antonio Del Duca
In the years 1700 and 1746 two entrances were closed
In 1750 reorganization by Luigi Vanvitelli (1700/73) who designed, with his pupil Clemente Orlandi (1694/1775), among other things, eight masonry columns identical to the original of the transept and a late Baroque façade removed in early twentieth century
Church of the official ceremonies of the Italian State since 1896, when the Prince of Naples and future King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III got married here
It was declared a Minor Basilica in 1920 by Benedict XV Della Chiesa (1914/22)
Corresponding to the tepidarium (pool with tepid water) of the baths, while the area outside the church in front of the façade is the caldarium (pool with hot water)
New bronze doors "Annunciation" and "Resurrection" 2005 by the Polish artist Igor Mitoraj (1944)
At the center of the vestibule sculpture "The Angel of Light" 2000 by Ernesto Lamagna (1945)
Above GLASS DOME "Light and Time" 2000 by Narcissus Quagliata (1942), gift of the Archdiocese of Baltimore the archbishop of which, Cardinal William H. Keeler, is the current titular of the Basilica
The lantern is 25 m (82 feet) high from the floor, it has a diameter of 5 m (16.4 feet) and there are three lenses aimed at south, making it an astronomical instrument designed by Salvador Cuevas of the University of Mexico: the three lenses focus the image of the sun and cast a pink disk in the middle of the floor at noon in the two solstices and two equinoxes
"Funerary monument to Carlo Maratta" about 1704 by Carlo Maratta (1625/1713) himself with bust by his brother Francesco Maratta
"Crucifix" maybe by Giacomo Della Rocca (1592/1605) pupil of Daniele da Volterra
On the left "Monument to Pietro Tenerani" 1869 by Pietro Tenerani (1789/1869) himself
On the right "Tomb of Lilla Montobbio" Pietro Tenerani's wife
"Tomb of Cardinal Francesco Alciati" 1580 maybe by G.B. Della Porta
"Tomb of Salvator Rosa" 1673 designed by the son of Salvator Rosa (1615/73), Augusto Rosa, with sculptures by Bernardino Fioriti (active second half of XVII century)
CHAPEL OF St. MARY MAGDALENE 1579 for Consalvo Alvaro di Giovanni
"Noli me tangere" maybe by Hendrick van der Broek (1519/97), Flemish painter also known for his "Resurrection" in the Sistine Chapel
"Tomb of Cardinal Pietro Paolo Parisio" 1604
Statue of "St. Bruno of Cologne" founder of the Carthusians 1768 Jean Antoine Houdon (1741/1828)
Statue of "St. John the Baptist" 2009 by Giuseppe Ducrot (1966)
On the left CHAPEL OF St. PETER
1635 for Pietro Alfonso Avignonese
"Handing of the keys" Girolamo Muziano (1532/92)
On the left "St. Peter freed by an angel" and on the right "Sts. Peter and Paul", maybe by the Roman painter M. Carloni
In the vault "God Father" maybe by Girolamo Muziano
In the middle of the chapel contemporary sculpture "Head of St. John the Baptist" by Igor Mitoraj (1944)
On the right CHAPEL OF St. BRUNO
Marble "Stoup with angel" maybe by G.B. Rossi a pupil of Bernini
Above the arch preparatory sketch painted on cardboard "Expulsion from Paradise" last work of Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746)
Corresponding to the ancient Basilica of the Diocletian Baths
Eight huge monolithic granite columns (17.14 m high - 56 feet - including capitals) and three large original ancient concrete vaults (29 m high - 95 feet - from the ground), even more incredible when one thinks that they were 2 meters (6 feet) higher, before the raising of the floor by Michelangelo
Eighteenth century FLOOR by Giuseppe Barberi (1746/1809)
Eight altarpieces from St. Peter's Basilica have been moved here since 1727 as well as four painted cardboards 1638/45 by Francesco Trevisani, preliminary sketches of the mosaics in the dome of the Baptistery Chapel in St. Peter's Basilica
On the floor "Clementine Line" 1702 sundial made by the astronomer Francesco Bianchini with the collaboration of Giacomo Maraldi for Clement XI Albani (1700/21)
It was used as the official sundial in Rome for about 150 years until 1846 when it was replaced by the cannon of Janiculum Hill
On the Right Wall
"Crucifixion of St. Peter" by Nicolò Ricciolini (1687/1772) pupil of Carlo Maratta
"Fall of Simon Magus" copy by Pierre Charles Tremollière (1703/39) from the original on blackboard by Francesco Vanni (about 1563/1610), formerly located in St. Peter's Basilica in front of the tomb of Alexander VII
On the Left Wall
"St. Peter raises Tabitha from the dead" by Francesco Mancini (1679/1758)
"Preaching of St. Jerome" end of sixteenth century by Girolamo Muziano (1532/92), his last work with landscape painted by Paul Brill (1554/1626)

"I must say that the harmony of these holy men with the serious and solemn landscape has a really touching effect, that no other artist has been able to achieve with means as simple and convincing. Muziano gives up completely the compositional tricks of the time, as well as chromatic effects and daring fore-shortenings of the figures. Only the dignified and quiet profile of the monk listening devoutly and the appearance of St. Jerome, so grandly complete in itself and for itself, must speak, must agree with the elegiac atmosphere of the background generously articulated, in which the figures fit beautifully with a soft rounding of the composition" (Hermann Voss)
MONUMENTAL TOMBS of the three main generals for the Italian victory in World War I:
"Marshal Armando Diaz" 1928 by Antonio Muñoz (1884/1960)
In the Chapel of the Blessed Niccolò Albergati, on the right "Vittorio Emanuele Orlando" 1953 and on the left "Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel" 1953 both by Pietro Canonica (1869/1959)
Right end of the transverse hall CHAPEL OF THE BLESSED Niccolò Albergati
1746 Clemente Orlandi (1694/1775) a pupil of Luigi Vanvitelli
Vault with "Holy Spirit and Doctors of the Church, Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose and Gregory" by Antonio Bicchierai (1688/1766) and Giovanni Mezzetti
On the altar "A miracle of Blessed Niccolò Albergati" first half of eighteenth century by Ettore Graziani
On the sides large paintings "Baptism of water" and "Baptism of desire" Francesco Trevisani
Two statues in plaster of "Angels of Peace and Justice" 1835 Federico Pettrich
On the Right Wall
"Virgin Mary and Saints" (formerly in the Choir Chapel in St. Peter's replaced by a copy in mosaic) 1730/35 by Pietro Bianchi aka il Creatura (1694/1740), a Roman pupil of Benedetto Luti and Baciccio
"Resurrection of Tabitha" by Placido Costanzi (1702/59), previously in the right passageway to the apse of St. Peter's Basilica now replaced by a mosaic copy
On the Left Wall
"Fall of Simon Magus" 1755 by Pompeo Batoni (1708/87), which originally was to replace the ruined painting on blackboard of the same subject by Francesco Vanni in St Peter's Basilica: it never ended up in St. Peter's and it was eventually replaced with a copy of Vanni's painting by Pierre Charles Tremollière which was also replaced in 1925 with the mosaic dedicated to St. Margherita Alacoque
"Batoni from Lucca was the undisputed arbiter and leader of the Roman scene. He related to instances of Marco Benefial and further deepened the secession in the classic sense of the local figurative culture, which will find new support around mid-century in the new passionate rediscovery of antiquities and in the subsequent theoretical formulations and practices of Mengs and Winckelmann. In Batoni however, there is still a fully eighteenth-century taste for the beautiful painting nobly composed and balanced in the rational organization of means of expression, yet vibrant for the fluid brushwork, rich and precious" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
"Mass of St. Basil" 1743/47 by Pierre Subleyras (1699/1749) formerly in the passage between the right transept and the Gregorian Chapel in St. Peter's Basilica replaced by a copy in mosaic
"He spent the last years of his life in Rome, introducing in his work a noble simplicity and precision of design and expression, together with a limited but well-considered light range of tonal values" (Rudolf Wittkower)
"Pierre Subleyras was the favorite artist of Benedict XIV Lambertini (1740/58). His star became increasingly bright for its style refined and classical but still suffused with an intense sentimental impulse. (...) The Mass of St. Basil is a great composition but imbued with intimate recollection, all played on the clear light of the central nucleus of the pearl white robes. It displays classical rigor expressing the same humanity authoritatively professed by the pope" (Anna Lo Bianco)
Left end of the transverse hall CHAPEL OF St. BRUNO
Carlo Maratta (1625/1713) on the altar "Virgin with Sts. Peter and Bruno" about 1700 by Giovanni Odazzi (1663/1731)
In the vault "Evangelists" about 1700 by Andrea Procaccini (1671/1734)
On the right large painting "Baptism of Blood" by Francesco Trevisani: his other canvas originally on the left has been moved to the Chapel of St. Teresa since the organ was installed
On the left monumental Organ by Barthélémy Formentelli donated to John Paul II (1978/2005) from the city of Rome for the Jubilee of the year 2000
"Virgin and Child, Angels and Sts. Hyacinthus and Raymond", on the wall to the right "Sts. Cecilia and Valerian", on the wall to the left "St. Francis receiving the Stigmata", in the vault "God the Father and Angels" all works by Giovanni Baglione (1566/1643)
On the altar "Incarnation of Jesus and worship of the Seven Angels" by Domenico da Modena
On the side walls "Souls in Purgatory" and "Praying Pope" 1574 by Giulio Mazzoni (about 1525/after 1589) with several contemporary portraits
Frescoes in the vault 1574 by the Flemish artist Hendrick van der Broek (1519/97)
"Presentation of Mary in the temple" about 1640 by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610/62) from Viterbo, a pupil of Pietro da Cortona. It was formerly in the church S. Maria Regina Coeli destroyed for the construction of the prison with the same name by the River Tiber
"Educated by Domenichino, he became assistant to Cortona in the Barberini ceiling, was permanently protected by the Barberini and he was given considerably large jobs that he executed with great decorative ability. It was he who introduced a watered down version of Cortona and classical style in Paris, where his paintings of mythological, allegorical and historical subjects in the gallery of the Hotel Mazarin and several rooms of the Louvre reveal an easy craft that also appears in his mid-century Roman works" (Rudolf Wittkower)
"Martyrdom of St. Sebastian" 1629 Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641), painted with oil on stucco, formerly in the Chapel of St. Sebastian in St. Peter's Basilica replaced by a copy in mosaic
"Punishment of Ananias and Sapphira" about 1605 Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626) on blackboard, formerly in the passage between the transept and the Chapel of St. Clement in St. Peter's Basilica replaced by a copy in mosaic
Ananias and Sapphira, after selling a farm, had delivered to the apostles only a portion of the proceeds, mendaciously claiming to have delivered the entire sum: for this lie they were killed by God
"The way the dramatic story was represented here through a few figures relatively quiet but powerful, without the multitude of people used by the Zuccaris' imitators, also seemed to indicate a new road for the altarpieces with historical subjects that had come to a standstill at that time both among the followers of the Zuccaris and among the imitators of Barocci. It is significant that Roman painting, just before the phenomenon of the Carraccis would be known in Rome, would generate similar phenomena alone" (Hermann Voss)
"Baptism of Jesus" about 1697 Carlo Maratta, formerly in the Chapel of the Baptistery in St. Peter's Basilica replaced by a copy in mosaic
"Carlo Maratta was the prince of the Roman Academy, in whose eclectic classicism also the last stimuli of seventeenth century Baroque style are composed in a correct and formal style, especially as we see it unfolding in the great altarpieces" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
Vault "Assumption of the Virgin and Virtues" by the Viennese Daniele Seiter (1649/1705)
On the left "Tomb of Pope Pius IV" Medici (1559/65)
On the right "Tomb of Cardinal Giovanni Antonio Serbelloni"
Wooden altar with "Altar frontal in bronze with Deposition" 1928 by Umberto Mastroianni (1910/98)
"Madonna Enthroned between the Seven Angels" 1543 Venetian painting maybe by Lorenzo Lotto (about 1480/1556)
1742 for Cardinal Camillo Cybo titular of the church. It was built to preserve the relics of the martyrs related to construction of the baths (Sts. Ciriaco, Largo, Smaragdus, Massimo and many others) to whom Cardinal Cybo joined the relics of the four Doctors of the Church (Sts. Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine and Gregory) which he formerly kept in his palace
The paintings in the chapel are by Nicolò Ricciolini (1687/1772)
On the left of the presbytery EPIPHANY CHAPEL
"Stories of St. Bruno" and in the vault "Triumph of St. Bruno" maybe by Luigi Garzi (1638/1721)

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