Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Founded in 1433 by St. Frances of Rome (S. Francesca Romana 1384/1440), whose real name was Francesca Bussa de' Leoni
Born into a noble family in Rome near Piazza Navona, she came to live in the Trastevere district when she was twelve years old after her marriage to a nobleman from the Ponziani family who had become rich with their job as butchers
"It was the strong personality of Francesca Ponziani and her exceptional charisma to make the Tor de' Specchi a unique case. Compared to other local institutions, which would soon become extinct, the founder posed the conditions of development and continuity of a centuries-old house that would be inserted deep into the urban context. The religious project of Francesca was original and innovative, because it tried to combine the essence of the monastic ideal with the values of lay spirituality: the Oblates were not of the world, but they lived in the world and history, through charity and active service in favor of their neighbor" (Website of the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome -
The monastery was extended especially in the first half of 1600, after the canonization of St. Frances of Rome in 1608
It came to include the TORRE DEGLI SPECCHI (Tower of Mirrors), so named for the shape of the windows
Relief "St. Frances of Rome and the Angel" 1756 by Andrea Bergondi (active in Rome XVIII century)
Above the door of the Holy Stairs, "Madonna and Child with Sts. Benedict and Frances of Rome" by an anonymous artist of the eighteenth century
Frescoes on the walls of the SCALA SANTA "Madonna and Child with Sts. Benedict and Frances of Rome" and "Christ leaving the tomb" maybe by Antonio Aquili aka Antonio Romano (about 1435-40/1508) and his school, including decorations of the seventeenth century
In the CLOISTER plaster copy of the statue "St. Frances of Rome and the Angel" 1850 by Pietro Galli (1804/77) a pupil of Bertel Thorvaldsen. The original is in the left upper apse of St. Peter's Basilica
Fully painted in about 1468 with the wonderful cycle of 25 panels "Stories of St. Frances of Rome" and the main panel "Madonna and Child with Sts. Benedict and Frances" maybe by Antoniazzo Romano and his school
"The cycle still shows strong ties with the medieval tradition for a taste for plain and simple narrative that flows between the tones of folk tale and the rigor of religious devotion, for the respect for the religious hierarchies through the proportional scale of the figures and for the limited ability in the foreshortening of the scenes. The component owing to Piero della Francesca is present in the faces, with simplified features in comparison with the faces painted by the artist from Borgo, and in the large landscape openings present in some scenes" (Anna Cavallaro)
On the altar "Madonna and Child with Sts. Benedict and Frances of Rome" by Antoniazzo Romano
"The frescoes are rather attributable to employees of Antoniazzo Romano's workshop who followed the style of the master, while it is relevant to Antoniazzo's hand of the Madonna and Child with Sts. Benedict and Francesca Romana on the altar for the similarity to the triptych of Subiaco from which the model of St. Benedict was taken. This cycle proves to be linked to the style of Piero della Francesca and Benozzo Gozzoli which Antoniazzo was following during the same years for his paintings on board, a language à la Piero della Francesca but simpler and more down to earth and a Benozzo Gozzoli style invigorated by the inspiration of the frescoes of S. Rosa in Viterbo" (Anna Cavallaro)
The cycle has been attributed to Antoniazzo Romano and his school by Roberto Longhi. Other scholars attributed it to Benozzo Gozzoli or to an unidentified follower of Piero della Francesca. Under each scene there are captions written in an interesting Roman Vulgar language of the fifteenth century
In a niche in the wall at the entrance dramatic "Inferno" probably painted after 1468 by an anonymous artist
Wall frescoes in dominant green monochrome "Ten Temptations of St. Frances of Rome" maybe 1485 probably by different artists considering the diversity of style, maybe from the schools of Antoniazzo Romano and Benozzo Gozzoli
First half of 1600s. On the walls "Fantasy landscapes of Roman countryside" dating back to mid-1700. On the back wall "Madonna and Child with Sts. John the Baptist and Catherine of the Wheel" by an anonymous artist of the eighteenth-century
Atrium of the eighteenth century painted with frescos. In one of the walls the tomb of St. Frances of Rome is embedded
WOODEN CEILING 1601 covered in gold and colors with a central wooden sculpture "St. Francis and the Angel"
On the WALLS "Angels" 1749 by Sebastiano Ceccarini (1703/83) and Lorenzo Gramiccia (1702/95)
ALTAR "Annunciation" by Alessandro Allori aka Bronzino (1533/1607) pupil of Agnolo di Cosimo aka Bronzino. Rich Baroque tabernacle on the altar. On the sides "Adoration of the Magi" and "Adoration of the Shepherds" by an anonymous artist of the seventeenth-century
Under the Choir of SS. Annunziata with identical dimensions. Originally known as S. MARIA DE CURTE attached to the monastery in 1594 with a different orientation not to have anymore access from the road
In the APSE panels in white and gilded stucco "Presentation in the Temple" and "Presentation of the Virgin" 1662. At the center "Madonna with Child" by an anonymous artist of the seventeenth-century enclosed in an elaborate cornice supported by gilded stucco angels

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