Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Original ancient church S. MARIA IN VALLICELLA (S. Mary of the Little Valley) mentioned in the sources from the twelfth century and dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady
It was assigned to S. Filippo Neri (1515/95) - St. Philip Neri in English - founder in 1551 of the nearby Oratory and the Congregation of the Philippines
It was rebuilt and therefore called CHIESA NUOVA (New Church) in the years 1575/85 by Matteo Bartolani da Città di Castello (c.1527/c.1598) imitating the Chiesa del Gesù (Church of the Gesu) for Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85) and Cardinal Alessandro de' Medici
In digging the foundations a long ancient wall was discovered, a paries (in latin "large wall"), on which an entire side of the church sits. It gave its name to the whole district even now known as Parione
In 1585 Giacomo della Porta (1533/1602) succeeded
Finally in the years 1586/90 Martino Longhi the Elder (1534/91) added the five side chapels on each nave and erected apse, transept and dome
The church was consecrated on the year 1599
1594/1606 by Fausto Rughesi for the bishop Angelo Cesi in Todi, whose name is engraved on the façade
The construction of the church therefore lasted 31 years
The DRUM of the dome was maybe designed by Carlo Maderno (1556/1629)
In the NICHES of the facade on the right "St. Jerome" and on the left "St. Gregory the Great" Giovanni Antonio Parracca aka Valsoldo (?/1642-46)
1666 by Camillo Arcucci (active since 1646/d. 1667)
Brick curtain of the years 1673/75 by Carlo Rainaldi (1611/91)
VAULT "Miracle of the Virgin during the construction of the church" 1664/65 inspired by the miracle of 1576 when St. Philip Neri had a dream of the collapse and warned the builders found a beam suspended in the air
APSE "Assumption" 1655/60
PEDIMENTS "Prophets" 1659/60 all masterpieces of Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
Stucco pieces designed by Pietro Da Cortona himself and executed by Cosimo Fancelli (1620/88) and Ercole Ferrata (1610/86)
"While the sophistication, elegance, delicacy, and the decorative profusion of the Pamphilj ceiling attracts the refined taste of the few, the work of the church speaks to the masses with a sweeping motion, the dazzling multitude of figures and the powerful emphasis, with references to Lanfranco and Correggio. He did not attempt to transplant in the church his old style of secular decoration, nor he used the illusionistic magic used in Bernini and Gaulli's circle and in the Quadratura's (illusionistic ceiling painting) circle. Faithful to his old ways, he insisted on a clear division between painted areas and areas with decorations" (Rudolf Wittkower)
In the COUNTER FAÇADE allegories in the stucco "Contempt of the World" and "Silence" by Ercole Ferrata
Fourteen paintings "Stories from the Old and New Testament" 1697/1700 by some of the most important painters active in Rome at the end of the seventeenth century: Giuseppe Ghezzi (1634/1721), Daniele Seiter (1649/1705), Giuseppe Passeri (1654/1714), Lazzaro Baldi (about 1624/1703) and Domenico Parodi (1672/1742), with sculptures of the frames by Camillo Rusconi (1658/1728)
"Crucifixion" about 1586 Scipione Pulzone (about 1550/98)
In the vault "Crowning with Thorns", "Flagellation" and "Agony in the Garden" 1621 by Giovanni Lanfranco (1582/1647)
In the ceiling "Pieta" and "Two prophets" 1612 by Angelo Caroselli (1585/1652)
Until 1797 the painting "Deposition" 1602/04 by Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio was located here. It ended up at the Vatican Museums after being returned by the French in 1817 and it was replaced here by a copy of the end of 1700s by Michael Köck
"Ascension" about 1586 by Girolamo Muziano (1532/92)
"Pentecost" 1689 by Giovanni Maria Morandi (1622/1717)
"Assumption" about 1643 by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini (1609/81)
Frescoes "Stories of Mary" and "Six episodes of the infancy of Christ" by Aurelio Lomi (1556/1622)
"Coronation of Mary" 1615 Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino (1568/1640)
Statue at the sides "St. John the Baptist" and "St. John the Evangelist" about 1595 by Flaminio Vacca (1538/1605)
Begun in 1662 by Camillo Arcucci (active since 1646/d. 1667) and finished in 1667 by Carlo Rainaldi
Stuccos "Gloria", "Angels" and four medallions with "Stories of St. Charles Borromeo" 1667 by Giovanni Francesco De Rossi (active 1640/77)
On the altar "Madonna and Child with Saints Charles and Ignatius" 1675 by Carlo Maratta (1625/1713)
"What made more impression on his contemporaries was that he restored the sense of dignity of the human figure seen in large, simple plastic shapes and reproduced with a sincerity and moral conviction unmatched at that time. By the mid-seventies, nor the followers of Gaulli nor those of Cortona had any serious chance and at the end of the century Rome had virtually surrendered to the style of Maratta. At his death his students controlled the situation in full" (Rudolf Wittkower)
WOODEN CHOIR 1698 designed by Camillo Rusconi (1658/1728)
1596/99 G.B. Guerra probably from a design of his brother Giovanni Guerra (1544/1618)
"Virgin and Child" on copper with a mechanical mechanism that covers the miraculous fresco of the fifteenth century "Madonna of the Vallicella and Child with angels on crescent moon"
It was originally located outside a building used as a public bath. In 1535 it bled after being hit by a stone thrown by a sacrilegious passerby
It is surrounded by "Angels" with on the right "Sts. Domitilla, Nereus and Achilleus" and on the left "Sts. Gregory, Maurus and Papias" on a blackboard 1606/08 works of a young and extraordinary Peter Paul Rubens (1577/1640)
"This work constituted the most significant message that the artist expressed regarding the concept of space. The arrangement of the paintings placed within the frames of stucco in the presbytery creates a perfect balance between architecture and painting and a visual and tangible unity of the phisical space. The new Rubens' way of understanding space in its deceptive and spectacular elements derived from an attitude toward the sentimental representation that will be typical of the 1630's generation of Baroque artists. Rubens anticipated their ideas and their figurative ideals, their judgments critical of the tradition. Therefore the work of the Flemish artist, who never returned to Italy, can be considered the archetype of the Baroque. A spiritual and visual congeniality worth more than any direct teaching" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
Beautiful "Tabernacle" 1684 designed by Ciro Ferri (1634/89) and executed by Carlo Marcellini and Francesco Nuvolone with relics of the saints represented by Rubens except St. Gregory the Great, transferred here in the late 1500s
Under the altar bronze "Crucifix" by Guillaume Berthelot (about 1570/1648)
1600/04 begun by Onorio Longhi (1568/1619) and finished by Paolo Marucelli (1594/1649) with an extraordinary marble revetment
In the bronze urn there are the remains of St. Philip Neri
On the altar "St. Philip and the Virgin" copy in mosaic of the 1774 original by Guido Reni, now in the Upper Chapel of the Sanctuary
On the walls "Stories of St. Philip Neri" 1596/99 by Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626)
On the altar "Presentation of Mary in the Temple" 1603 masterpiece by Federico Fiori aka Barocci (1535/1612)
"He invented a painting style of great emotional significance, in which the expressive power of feelings melts into delicate effects of 'sfumato' (low contrast) nuances, with a changing palette that uses colors as vehicles of light, dynamic and evanescent substance of forms" (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
"The masterpieces by Barocci were the most important and influential prototypes in the painting of altarpieces in Rome: their fame radiated far beyond the borders of central Italy, even beyond the Alps. They were the true expression of the ideality of the Counter-Reformation spirit: radiant visions of a heavenly world, witnesses of delicate inner fantasies or rapture. In their sensibility, and no less in their free formal structure, they show very clearly both a departure from the ideal of the ancients, which had dominated the Renaissance, and both the need for a new freer and grander form" (Hermann Voss)
Statues at the sides "St. Peter" and "St. Paul" 1592 Giovanni Antonio Parracca aka Valsoldo (?/1642-46)
ORGAN of 1610 still functioning and WOODEN CHOIR 1698 designed by Camillo Rusconi (1658/1728)
"Annunciation" about 1591 by Domenico Crespi aka Passignano (1559/1638)
"Visitation" 1586 by Federico Fiori aka Barocci
"In the altarpieces by Barocci one can recognize very clearly that tendency to rhythmicity and the dynamism which in its most extreme consequences would lead to the Baroque style. The concept of painting tends more and more towards a continuous movement and a constant dynamic tension. If with Michelangelo and his followers a residue of statuary isolation of every single figure was left, now the single sculptural theme stops definitively to have importance for himself. The tension of each movement toward one of the three dimensions automatically causes the counter-diagonal reaction of another figure or of another figurative element, so that the whole composition appears to be, in a certain way, in a continuous state of becoming" (Hermann Voss)
In the vault "Sts. Matthew, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist" 1619 by Carlo Saraceni (1579/1620)
"Adoration of the Shepherds" 1582 by Durante Alberti (1538/1616)
In the vault "Sts. Agnes, Catherine and Cecilia" by Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626)
1578 "Adoration of the Magi" by Cesare Nebbia (1536/1614)
On the ceiling 1625 oil paintings maybe by Baccio Ciarpi (1574/1654)
"Purification of the Virgin" 1627 Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino, oil on canvas with Mary presenting the Child Jesus to Simeon
1629 Paolo Marucelli (1594/1649)
ALTAR project of Paolo Marucelli finished by Taddeo Landi with the help of Francesco Borromini (1599/1667)
Splendid marble group "St. Philip Neri and an Angel" 1640 and "Bronze bust of Pope Gregory XV Ludovisi (1621/23)" by Alessandro Algardi (1598/1654)
St. Gregory XV canonized Philip Neri in 1622
"On the pages of the book the words of Psalm 118 are inscribed, alluding to the expansion to which the heart of St. Philip was said to have been subjected for his deep faith, so much that it caused him a broken rib. Nothing miraculous or marvelous is represented in the marble group and even the sweet and calm movements of the hands of the saint are to indicate a real profound religiousness, never shown off. Really no other artist better than Algardi could have interpreted as effectively the serene sweetness and intensely spiritual nature of the Oratory Faith. In particular, then, the figure of the angel fruit of an ingenious invention, with his naturally sweet gesture and expression, would have long been a point of reference for art in the seventeenth century in Rome" (Alessandro Angelini)
At the sides of the altar "Ecce Homo" and "Our Lady with the instruments of the Passion of Christ" by Francesco Trevisani (1656/1746)
In the VAULT "St. Michael and Angels" with instruments of the Passion about 1638 by Pietro da Cortona, his first work in this church
In the cabinets precious priests' robes in silk
In the vault "Stories of St. Philip Neri" 1643 by Niccolò Tornioli (1598/1651) and "Pentecost in the catacombs of St. Philip Neri" 1652 Ciro Ferri (1634/89)
"Bust of St. Philip Neri" by Alessandro Algardi
"St. Philip and an angel" by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666)
Connected to the Lower Sanctuary with a spiral staircase 1638/39 by Francesco Borromini
On the altar famous "St. Philip and the Virgin" 1615 by Guido Reni (1575/1642)
In the vault "Ecstasy of St. Philip" and on the right wall "Madonna and Child with St. Martina" by Pietro da Cortona
On the walls "Madonna and Child with Sts. Philip and Ignatius" and "Miracle of St. Philip for Cardinal Vincenzo Maria Orsini" by Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674/1755)
1635 almost certainly by Paolo Marucelli (1594/1649) with intervention in 1639 by Francesco Borromini
"San Lorenzo" Cecco del Caravaggio
"St. Philip in the catacombs" by Cristoforo Roncalli aka Pomarancio (1552/1626)

1 comment:

  1. this presentation was truly excellent. I appreciated it very much. This church was my church when I once lived in Rome and now I am located on the other side of the world and really miss it very much. thank you for posting. i can visit the church bycoming here.