Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Founded according to tradition, by the sisters Pudenziana and Praxedes in the house of their father, Senator Pudens. They belonged to the powerful Acilius Glabriones family
According to tradition Senator Pudens hosted here St. Peter as well as St. Paul who baptized his children
Built as TITULUS PUDENTIS in a house where in the second century a thermal plant was built
A hall of this spa called Thermae Novatianae or Thimotinae from the names of Pudens' sons was transformed at the end of the fourth century in a Christian Basilica by the priests Massimo, Ilicio and Leopard at the time of Pope St. Siricius (384/399)
The first mention historical mention dates back to 384
Restored at least five times from the eighth to the nineteenth century
It is 4 meters (12 feet) below the level of Via Urbana, the ancient Vicus Patricius
Romanesque BELL TOWER of the thirteenth century
1870 by Antonio Manno for Cardinal Luciano Bonaparte with almost vanished remains of frescoes by Pietro Gagliardi (1809/90)
Built in the sixteenth entury with "Frieze with vegetal motifs and Pudenziana, Praxedes, Pudens and St. Shepherd" of the eleventh century. The church was maybe originally dedicated to this misterious St. Sheperd
It is the National Church of the Philippines
Trasformed in 1588 by Francesco Capriani aka Francesco da Volterra (1535/94) for the Cardinal Enrico Caetani 
In the COUNTER FAÇADE two canvas:
On the right "St. Augustine" by Giacinto Gimignani (1606/81)
On the left "Baptism of St. Pudens" by Avanzino Nucci (1552/1629)
1690 "Our Lady of Mercy" end of sixteenth century, copy of the sacred icon in S. Maria in Trastevere
On the left "Nativity of Mary" and on the right "Nativity" 1690 both works of Lazzaro Baldi (about 1624/1703) who also painted the pillars with the "Annunciation" and lunettes
Eighteenth century stuccos
On the altar, "St. Bernard and the Virgin" by anonymous painter of the nineteenth century
On the left side "Christ exchange heart with St. Catherine of Siena" and on the right "Vision of St. Benedict" Michele Cippitelli eighteenth century painter known only for these two paintings
Designed by Francesco Capriani aka Francesco da Volterra, the first dome in Rome with an elliptical cross section
"Paradise" 1587/88 and pendentives "Angels with symbols of martyrdom" by Niccolò Circignani aka Pomarancio (about 1520/98)
MAIN altar
"Glory of S. Pudenziana" and at the sides "S. Novato" and "S. Timothy" 1803 by Bernardino Nocchi (1741/1812)
The altar rests on a coffin in which a piece of wood is kept on which, according to tradition, St. Peter would have celebrated mass
Incredible mosaic of the early fifth century, time of Emperor Honorius (395/423), badly cut in 1588. It is the oldest Christian monumental mosaic existing in the world
The two women maybe represent the churches of Jews and Gentiles, mistaken for the two saints because of the erroneous medieval translation of the writing in Jesus' hand: Ecclesiae Pudentianae means of Pudens not of Pudenziana who maybe never existed
The symbols of the four evangelists, the Tetramorfo or the assembly of the four Gospels considered as a single work, appears here for the first time ever
The buildings represented are perhaps those of the north side of the Vicus Patricius
The scene has been interpreted as Parousia or Second Coming of Christ
"Along with iconographic motives of Syrian-Palestinian origin as the figure of Christ, this work of extraordinary pictorial intensity exhibit strong Hellenistic-Roman accents. The scaling perspective, the definition of volumetric and plastic characters, the characterization of the intense and serene faces corresponds to the typical ways of the so-called Theodosian revival" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
Marble group "Handing the keys" 1596 by G.B. Della Porta (1542/1602)
"Funeral memorial of Onorato Caetani" maybe 1592 by G.B. Della Porta. Onorato Caetani was the general of the papal troops at the Battle of Lepanto
Further on the left CAETANI CHAPEL
Transformation of the chapel of St. Pastor considered to be the first place of worship of the Church of Pudens, begun by Francesco Capriani aka Francesco da Volterra and finished after his death (1595) by Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) who also did the two "Funeral monuments of Cardinal Enrico, on the left, and the Duke Filippo Caetani", on the right with bust maybe by Pietro Paolo Naldini (1619/91), who replaced the one of Camillo Caetani Patriarch of Alexandria
Stuccos by G.B. Della Porta and Giovanni Antonio Parracca aka Valsoldo (?/1642-46)
In the vault mosaics by Paolo Rossetti (?/1621) designed by Federico Zuccari (about 1542/1609)
On the altar relief "Adoration of the Magi with, in the background, Battle of Lepanto" about 1599 by Pietro Paolo Olivieri (1551/99) finished by Camillo Mariani (1567/1611), masterpiece of manneristic sculpture
In the niches "Statues of the cardinal virtues" about 1650 by Francesco Mari and other Bernini's pupils
On a step to the left of the altar is the mark of a wafer that, according to tradition, fell from a priest's hands who had had doubts about the dogma of the Eucharist
On the left side of the nave
"Sts. Pudenziana and Praxedes bury the martyrs" 1634 by Antonio Tanari (1590/1635)
In the vault "Conversion of William of Aquitaine" 1625 by Filippo D'Angeli aka Filippo Napoletano, formerly attributed to Domenichino
Frescoes "Madonna and Child with Saints" and, in the vault, "Lamb and symbols of the Evangelists" of the time of Gregory VII (1073/85)
Luxurious Republican Home
Beneath the basilica
Wall in opus incertum and floor work in earthenware with inserted fragments of colored stones 150/100 BC, overlapped by another mosaic floor with fragments of colored marble of 40/20 BC
Above the house a BIG BRICK BUILDING was erected at the time of Hadrian (117/138) with large rooms covered by cross vaults
Later (c.160/180) another building with longitudinal tunnels was attached to the old one, maybe substructures for a THERMAL BUILDING located upstairs, the one occupied by the church today

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