Saturday, April 18, 2015


Sala Clementina
 Clementine Room

Frescoes on the vault and on the walls by the brothers Giovanni Alberti (1558/1601) and Cherubino Alberti (1553/1615) for Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592/1605) with a decorative model of “perspective quadrature”

Here it is introduced for the first time in Rome the optical effect of the “broken” ceiling that will have a huge success in the incipient Baroque period
On the smaller walls “Stories of St. Clement” with a coastal landscape by Paul Brill (1554/1626)

“No one had hitherto ever seen in Rome or in any other place an illusionistic painting so big and so full of decorative invention. Indeed the Sala Clementina still represents the first example of exclusively illusionistic decoration of a large room, a conception that was later further developed by the Baroque style” (Hermann Voss)

The room is used for private audiences of the pope and here the body of John Paul II was exposed before the funeral



Sala Ducale  

Ducal Room

Two adjoining rooms that Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) joined together with a wonderful invention of putti holding a curtain open between the two rooms, executed by Ercole Antonio Raggi (1624/86)


“Grotesque decorations” by G.P. Venale and “Landscapes with Four Seasons” maybe by Matteo Neroni aka Matteo da Siena (active 1567/92) or by Marco dal Pino aka Marco da Siena (c. 1525/87)

“The strength of Matteo da Siena was in the genre of landscape fresco in which the landscape is placed playfully in the invention of an overall decorative larger set, thus assuming a role, but of secondary importance. His landscapes, therefore, express something characteristic in a few strokes, they had, in short, a narrative function. The landscapes of the Four Seasons have met with much approval thanks mainly for this feature. Without giving up completely to the traditional marginal accumulation of details in landscapes, they are still enjoyable thanks to a certain simplicity and to the unitary nature of the setting” (Hermann Voss)


“Landscapes” by Paul Brill (1554/1626) and “Grotesque decorations” of the period of Benedict XV (1914/22) who had also the terra cotta floor substituted with a marble one


Cappella Paolina

Pauline Chapel

1537/40 Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546) for Paul III Farnese (1534/49)

It was formerly used for conclaves, now it is used for weddings

On the side walls:

“Compared to previous representations of the same subject, Michelangelo introduces an important novelty: we don't see just angels around Christ, but obviously also groups of men and women identified as an army of chosen ones who had already crowned the Christ of the Last Judgment. Around 1540 St. Paul was at the center of the debate between reformers and conservatives. To authorize the Lutheran interpretation of salvation were his own writings, which were undergoing continuous and painstaking exegesis. Representing around 1543 in the very heart of the apostolic see, in full theological battle, those who are sanctified by 'faith that is toward me' as the vernacular translation of the Acts of the Apostles of his friend Antonio Brucioli recited, was an iconographical novelty and a clear stance in the debate on salvation, which was occupying him at that time with his friends of the school of Reginald Pole, convinced, as the Lutherans, that salvation was assured by a living faith and not by the exercise of works” (Antonio Forcellino)

“Crucifixion of St. Peter” 1542/1550, the last paintings by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475/1564)

“The beauty, strength and harmony of St. Peter's muscles set in motion a theatrical machine that in gestures and facial expressions tell the feeling without giving anything to the decorum, the establishment, the hierarchical character recognition; especially without giving in anything to the story as fact confined to specific age. Michelangelo comes to a spiritual representation placed in an eternity which coincides with the perennial nature of faith. We are, remember, in the chapel that Paul III wanted to be destined for the conclave. Peter's gaze was therefore turned to the cardinals who elected the pope and it was the first thing the newly elected pope would have seen immediately after his election. Then Peter would remind that pope of his Church, made not of armed and powerful people but of people touched by devout faith” (Antonio Forcellino)

Other frescoes on the walls:

“Healing of St. Paul in the house of Ananias”, “Fall of Simon Magus” and “Stoning of St. Stephen” 1573/77 by Lorenzo Sabatini (about 1530/76)

“Baptism of the centurion” 1580/85 by Federico Zuccari (about 1542/1609) who also did the fifteen “Stories of Sts. Peter and Paul” and “Allegorical Nudes” on the vault

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