Thursday, February 28, 2019


Begun in 1518 for Giulio de' Medici, the future Pope Clement VII Medici (1523/34) and completed in 1589 by Domenico Fontana (1543/1607) from a project by Giacomo Della Porta (1533/1602)
The real name of the church is SS. MARIA VERGINE, DIONIGI AREOPAGITA e LUIGI IX RE DI FRANCIA (1226/70) or Holy Virgin Mary, St. Dionysius the Areopagite (judge of the Areopagus of Athens) and Louis XI King of France (1226/70)

Statues in the niches:
In the lower part “Charlemagne” and “St. Louis IX”, in the upper part “St. Clotilde” and “St. Joan of Valois” 1746 by Pierre de l'Estache (about 1688/1744)
It is the French National Church

Decoration in marble and stucco 1756/64 by Antoine Dérizet (1697/1768)

“Death and Apotheosis of St. Louis IX” 1756 by Charles Joseph Natoire (1700/1777)

Above the altar “St. Louis IX” by Renard Levieux


Above the altar “Sts. Cecilia, Paul, John the Evangelist, Augustine and Mary Magdalene” copy by Guido Reni (1575/1642) from the original by Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) (1483/1520) now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale of Bologna
Five frescoes with “Stories of St. Cecilia”:
On the walls to the right “Charity of St. Cecilia” and to the left “Death of St. Cecilia” 1616/1617 masterpiece by Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641)
“The center of his artistic conception was rigorous drawing and these frescoes represent the culmination of his poetry. In the Death of St. Cecilia the principles of order and clarity oversee the composition: a closed scene in which the figures are huge in the foreground near archaeological elements. Their luminous clarity emphasizes the movements, their gestures express the state of mind of the characters, their naturalness is governed by a higher principle of beauty that offers the noblest version of their sentiments” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“Pose, gestures, styles of this cycle became inexhaustible morphemes for the declination of the classical language of art until at least the eighteenth century. Furthermore the expressive repertoire of the faces, capable of expressing the variables emotions of the human soul, was already destined to open up infinite possibilities to the research for naturalness, for formal and emotional instability, for the nascent Baroque art” (Anna Coliva)
Above the altar “St. Joan of Valois carried to heaven by angels” 1743 by Etienne Parrocel (1696/1774)

Above the altar “Oath of Clovis” 1547 by Jacopino del Conte (about 1515/98)
On the left “St. Remigius receives the sacred phial to anoint Clovis” by Girolamo Siciolante da Sermoneta (1521/80)
In the vault “Stories of Clovis” by Pellegrino Tibaldi

Tombs of famous French personalities

“Assumption” by Francesco da Ponte aka Bassano the Younger (1549/92)
In the upper part sculptural group “Holy Trinity” by Jean Jacques Caffieri (1725/92) the favorite sculptor of Louis XV, King of France from 1715 to 1774

Sculptures “Doctors of the Church” by G.B. Maini (1690/1752), Filippo Della Valle (1698/1768), Simon Challe (1719/65) and Nicolas François Gillet (1709/91)

“The yellow and orange colors clashing in the tunic and mantle of the saint are an invention already in the Rembrandt style. Overall, however, one cannot to deny that the picture is quite conceding to the decorum required by the times and the place. The mantle falls down with a long flap, nearly as elegant, as Francesco Mochi would be in a later period; and again it comes out with the elegance of sepals around the hands that are already modern: natural, without drawing, all in tonal sketches, notched, with cords as veins, in between wrinkles and skin” (Roberto Longhi)
“It's a direct, personal call from God, that surprises the man when he least expects it, perhaps as he is in sin. Players wear modern clothes: it is not an old story, it is a fact that happens now and could happen at any time to anyone. Grace is not a sign that only the elect one is allowed to see: all turn surprised but the miser who counts the money as Judas with his 30 pieces of silver. With Christ and St. Peter enters a hard blade of light. It is a ray of physical light, but it is also the ray of grace. Since everything happens in that instant of light, there is no development of action. St. Peter does nothing but repeat the gesture of Christ, and the dialogue is concise: 'You - I? - you!'. More than 'ut pictura poesis' (as is painting so is poetry), more than literature translated into figures!” (Giulio Carlo Argan)
“During the execution of the Martyrdom of St. Matthew he experimented with several variations of composition. After he abandoned the earlier versions, not exempt from a mannerist style, Caravaggio adopted new, unconventional solutions that could better suit a dramatic and eventful scene. Figures intersect, forms are revealed by striking luminous spirals that create patches of deep darkness and give rise to a centrifugal motion. The artist has achieved the pinnacle of sacred drama in the relationship between the murderer and the saint lying on the ground and he pointed out the horror of the bystanders in the mimed scream of the young man. The instantaneity that Caravaggio manages to infuse in the scene gives the story a character of pure occurrence, violently involving the viewers” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
1599/1602, first major artistical success of Michelangelo Merisi aka Caravaggio (1571/1610) for Virgilio Crescenzi and, after his death, for his son Giacomo Crescenzi, who were executors of Cardinal Mathieu Cointrel (d. 1585)

“Matthew raises from the dead the daughter of the king of Ethiopia, and conversion of the king and queen” 1591/99 by Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino (1568/1640)
He had been entrusted with the decoration of the chapel but, as he was slow in completing the work, he was replaced with Caravaggio for the canvases

Above the altar “Nativity” and on the right “Annunciation” by Charles Mellin (about 1597-1600/1649)
On the left “Adoration of the Magi” begun by Giovanni Baglione (1566/1643) and continued by Charles Mellin who finished the decoration of the whole chapel, having been preferred to Nicolas Poussin who was very upset for the exclusion: it seems that he wanted to give up painting frescoes for the rest of his life

Above the altar “St. Louis IX” 1664 by the Roman Plautilla Bricci (1616/about 1701) who also designed the architecture of the chapel opened in 1680
On the walls “Stories of St. Louis IX” on the right by Ludovico Gimignani (1643/97), on the left by Nicolas Pinson (1636/81)

Above the altar “St. Nicholas of Bari” by Girolamo Muziano (1532/92)
On the sides “Sts. Barbara and Catherine” by Girolamo Massei (?/1614-19)
On the right and on the left “Stories of St. Nicholas of Bari” by Baldassare Croce (about 1553/1628)

Above the altar “St. Sebastian” by Girolamo Massei

PALAZZO DI S. LUIGI (Palace of St. Louis)
1709/16 Francesco Carlo Bizzaccheri (1655/1721)
Next to the church. Façade with scenic portal on Via Giovanna d'Arco

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