Thursday, November 15, 2018


Also known as S. Carlino (St. Little Charles) for the small size
1638/41 masterpiece by Francesco Borromini (1599/1667) for the Spanish Discalced Trinitarian Fathers in place of a small church built in 1612
Borromini had also built the convent in the years 1634/36 which was later expanded in the early eighteenth century
The church was consecrated in 1646

1664/67 Francesco Borromini
It was still under construction when he died and it was completed in 1682 by his nephew (the son of his brother) Bernardo Castelli (1643/1709), who also designed the bell tower in 1670
It was the first work ever that Borromini designed alone and also his last. He worked for free, refusing any compensation

“He used a medieval, simple method of construction conceived on the rule of triangulation, which shared a geometric configuration in geometric subunits. The elliptic plan of the church is the result of two equilateral triangles with common base corresponding to the transverse axis; the relationship between these units carry a unitary conception of space that includes contraction or expansion. Compression and expansion of space is also evident inside the church: the dropping of the constraints imposed by the Renaissance proportional rules flows into the privilege of the form, highlighted in its visual qualities. Overall, the visitor has an organic and total vision, culminating in the uniformity of light that reigns in the dome” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)

Above the portal statue “St. Charles Borromeo” 1675/80 by Ercole Antonio Raggi (1624/86)
On the sides statues on the left “St. John of Matha” and on the right “St. Felix de Valois” 1682 by Sillano Sillani
St. John of Matha and St. Felix de Valois founded the Order of Holy Trinity for the redemption of slaves, which was approved by Pope Innocent III of the Counts of Segni (1198/1216) in 1198. Its activity was focused on the liberation of Christians kept as captives slaves in Muslim countries
The order was reformed in 1596 and it became the Congregation of Discalced Trinitarians
Sculptures of “Angels that support the oval at the top” 1676 by Giovanni Doni, Cesare Doni and Francesco Fontana
There used to be a painting in the oval, “Holy Trinity” 1677 by Pietro Giarguzzi, but now it is almost entirely disappeared

“Borromini combined three different types of structures: the lower wavy zone, whose origin lies in ancient layouts as the hall of the Golden Square in Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli; the intermediate zone of the pendentives that derives from a Greek cross plan, and the oval dome which, according to tradition, should set itself on a plan of the same shape. Nowadays it is difficult to assess fully the boldness and freedom in the handling of three structures generically different in such a way that they appear merged into an infinitely suggestive unity. With this bold step, Borromini opened up completely new horizons that were further explored later in the century in Piedmont and in northern Europe rather than in Rome” (Rudolf Wittkower)

“Bernini's buildings you admire with your eyes, those of Borromini you perceive with the whole body” (Anthony Blunt)

FLOOR 1898

“The gilding on the arches and on the doorposts of the three niches of the altars also date back to the nineteenth century, while Borromini, true to his conception of an architecture made and decorated with 'poor' materials, had predicted that only the gilding the frames of the pictures made out of carved stucco, along with the wrought-iron gates of the chapels would be the only elements that would interrupt the white plaster. The architect himself anyway declared: 'The real work is illuminated only by the light of the heart and of the sky. It needs no gold or other preciousness'“ (Sergio Lombardi)

On the altar “Crucifixion”, on the left “Christ at the Column” and on the right “Crown of Thorns” 1653 by some Giuseppe Milanese, influenced by the Nordic painting

“Ecstasy of Blessed Michele de Santi” in 1847 by the painter of academic culture Amalia De Angelis

Oval panels in stucco with scenes from the life of the Order of Trinitarians:
From the left “Meeting of St. John de Matha with St. Felix de Valois”, “Innocent III inspired by God to approve the order”, “Approval of the order and dressing of the two founders” and “Redemption of slaves” 1640 by two stonemasons known as Mastro Matteo and Mastro Domenico Rossi who worked under the direction of Giuseppe Bernascone who was responsible for all the stucco decoration of the church

“The dome in its beautiful whiteness and its uniform light without deep shadows immaterially seems to hover above the massive forms and compact of the space in which the visitor moves” (Rudolf Wittkower)

“Rest on the Flight into Egypt” about 1642/44 by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610/62) from Viterbo, a pupil of Pietro da Cortona
Under the altar there is a casket containing the body of Blessed Elisabetta Canori Mora (1774/1825), who was beatified in 1994
“Ecstasy of Blessed Juan Bautista de la Concepción” 1829 by Prospero Mallerini (1761/1836)

“This is the last known work of this little known painter, particularly attentive to the representation of objects (see the table, skull, books and flagellum), sometimes represented as veritable 'still-lives'“ (Sergio Lombardi)

Two chapels, in the smallest of which Borromini had perhaps designed his burial place. He eventually ended up being buried in S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini

1662/64 Francesco Borromini
Medallion with mosaic on the façade “Christ between two freed slaves” 1663/64 by Fabio Cristofari (about 1615/89)
Two wings of the convent were added over the years 1710/21 by Alessandro Sperone
In the hallway two paintings formerly on the side altars of the church “St. Ursula” 1642 and “Apparition of the Holy Family with Sts. Agnes and Catherine” 1643 as well as “Ecce Homo” about 1643 all works by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini (1609/81)

“In the St. Ursula are obvious the pictorial enrichment and the attention to atmospheric values ​​captured in the mobile shadow cast on the statuary limbs of the saint and of the martyrs lying on the ground, where it is remarkable the glimpse of the corpses piled up on the left” (Evelina Borea)

Cycle of “Eighteenth-century portraits of venerable fathers of the Trinitarian order”
Plaster statues “St. Felix de Valois” and “St. John de Matha” made at the beginning of the twentieth century, the work of the Spanish sculptor Isidoro Uribesalgo (1873/1928). They have recently moved here from the niches on either side of the main altar

1635/36 Francesco Borromini

“It is an example of the revolutionary qualities of his language. The matched columns are arranged so as to form an octagon and are linked by a single cornice which gives uniform continuity of movement; the corners of the octagon are replaced by convex curvatures; minor are the transitions of light and shadow. Borromini created therefore a new unit of the structural elements enclosing the space, by considering the space itself as something malleable” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)

Transformed into SACRISTY by Bernardo Castelli
Altarpiece “St. Charles Borromeo worshipping the Trinity” in 1611 masterpiece by Orazio Borgianni (1578/1616) formerly on the high altar of the church built here before this one
“Virgin Mary and Child with St. Simon of Roxas” 1767 by Francisco Preciado (1713/89), a pupil of Sebastiano Conca

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