Wednesday, March 13, 2019


1608/1620 Carlo Maderno (1556/1629) for Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese (1577/1633) as a chapel dedicated to St. Paul
During the work for the construction of the chapel the ancient statue of the Hermaphrodite was found to the great joy of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who included it in his collection of ancient statues. It is now in the Louvre

1625/26 G.B. Soria (1581/1651) and re-consecration of the church dedicated to the “Image of Our Lady” found in the trash of the Castle of Pilsen, to which was attributed the victory of the armies of Ferdinand II of Habsburg over the Protestant City of Prague on November 8, 1620
Above the doorway relief “Adoration of the Child” 1627/29 by Domenico De Rossi (1659/1703)

“Triumph of the Virgin Mary on heresies and fall of the Rebel Angels” executed for the Holy Year of 1700 by the brothers Andrea Orazi (1670/after 1724) and Giuseppe Orazi (seventeenth century)

“Glorification of St. Paul” 1654/55 by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini (1609/81)

Spectacular ORGAN of the nineteenth century with Baroque choir made in 1680 by Mattia De Rossi (1637/95)

She was canonized in 1925
Above the altar “St. Therese of the Child Jesus” 1926 by Giorgio Szoldatics (1873/1930)
In the vault stucco “Stories of Mary Magdalene” by an anonymous artist of the seventeenth century
Prior to 1926, the chapel was dedicated to Mary Magdalene. In the “Noli Me Tangere” scene Jesus is curiously represented as a gardener with a big shovel

Under the patronage of the lawyer Ippolito Merenda
Above the altar “Madonna and Child with St. Francis” 1629/30, the last work in Rome by Domenico Zampieri aka Domenichino (1581/1641)
On the sides, to the right “St. Francis in Ecstasy” and to the left “St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata” by Antonio Alberti aka Barbalonga (1600/49), maybe from cartoons of his master Domenichino

Altar of the 1800 by Pio Piacentini (1846/1928)
Sculpture “Virgin Mary giving the scapular to St. Simon Stock” 1895 by Alfonso Balzico (1825/1901)
On the left “Funerary memory of Cardinal Girolamo Vidoni” with bust by Pompeo Ferrucci (about 1566/1637)
On the right “Bust of Giovanni Vidoni” maybe also by Pompeo Ferrucci
In the vault stucco “Coronation” at the center and “Apparition of the Assumption to St. John the Evangelist” and “St. Jerome penitent” on the sides, maybe by Pompeo Ferrucci

1694 G.B. Contini (1641/1723) in imitation of the Cornaro Chapel in the left transept
Marble group “Dream of St. Joseph” 1699 by Domenico Guidi (1625/1701)
On the sides there are marble groups:
On the right “Flight into Egypt”, on the left “Adoration of the Shepherds” 1699 by Pierre-Étienne Monnot (1657/1733)
Under the altar wax statue with remains of St. Vittora martyred under Diocletian (284/305)
In the vault fresco “St. Joseph taken to heaven by angels” about 1695 by Bonaventura Lamberti (about 1653/1721)

Restored in the years 1840/68 by Carlo Nicolò Carnevali for the Torlonia family
1884 for Prince Alessandro Torlonia and his wife Teresa Colonna
On the altar “Image of Our Lady of Victory” copy made for the Torlonia family from the original destroyed by fire on June 29, 1833
CHOIR BEHIND THE ALTAR (normally not open to visitors)
“Abduction of St. Paul to the third heaven” 1620 by Gerrit Van Honthorst aka Gherardo Delle Notti (1590/1656) for Cardinal Scipione Borghese
“Christ in Glory with Sts. Anthony Abbot, Francis and a Carmelite saint” by an unknown seventeenth-century artist
“Prophets in expectation of the Messianic event” maybe by the eighteenth-century painter Francesco Ferrari

For the Venetian Cardinal Federico Cornaro, the first on the left in the right balcony
Sculptural group “Ecstasy or Transverberation of St. Teresa of Avila (1515/82)” 1644/52 absolute masterpiece by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680)
He was helped by Giacomo Antonio Fancelli (1619/71), Lazzaro Morelli (1608/90), Ercole Antonio Raggi (1624/86), Baldassarre Mari, Giovanni Antonio Mari (active since 1635/d. 1661) and a woman identified as Francesca “Bresciana” (from Brescia)
In the vault painting “Glory of the Holy Spirit” by Guidobaldo Abbatini (1600/56)
“The paintings of the vault penetrate deep into the architecture. As sculpture was for him a kind of pictorial art in three dimensions, painting was a sculptural art projected on a surface” (Rudolf Wittkower)
“Translated in the erotic Baroque marble, Caravaggio's conception expressed in the image of Lena of the Magdalene in Ecstasy lost its quality and its radical disfiguring distress (...), and immediately became more mystical, more sensual, more theatrical (...). In line with the institutions of power in his time as much as Caravaggio was rather estranged from the ones of his time, in the great Ecstasy of St. Teresa Bernini had a double debt to Caravaggio: the joyful angel teenager who was about to pierce the saint was a suitably refined baroque descendant of the grinning Cecco holding tight his arrows in Amor Vincitore (Love winner)” (Peter Robb)
Bernini used alabastro nuvolato (cloudy alabaster) in the alcove behind the statue and in the panels of the side walls as if it belonged to the space of the apparition, in continuity with the clouds on which the group rests
“The heavens painted within the niche, the sculpture and the architecture come together in a compact spatial image resulting in a total spectacle. The observer is involved in an impressive network of relationships. Bernini translated with unsurpassed analytical mind those feelings, that spiritual and sensual trouble that Teresa described in her literary works. Natural light coming through a hidden window becomes mysterious light, heavenly, designed pictorially, a light which strikes and glorifies, fulfilling a dramatic and transient function for the group and materializing in the gold rays. Polychrome marbles add a warm and harmonious ambience to the experience of the viewer, the statuary group is asserting itself in its supernatural candor. It's a great living tableau: the observer located in the central axis may have a vision of divine revelation and can be witness of a realistic and convincing religious experience” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“No more talk of sculpture in the conventional sense, but a pictorial scene framed by architecture that includes us believers in the religious drama that is not so much acted, as it is revealed. Bernini used painting, sculpture, architecture and added the natural resource of light to create a hallucinatory revelation” (Howard Hibbard)
On the floor “Hatches with skeletons in opus sectile (inlaid marble) symbolizing the resurrection” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini executed by the stonemason Gabriele Renzi

Above the altar “Holy Trinity” 1637/38 by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri aka Guercino (1591/1666)
On the right “Portrait of Cardinal Berlingero Gessi” 1641 maybe by Guido Reni (1575/1642). Cardinal Gessi had the patronage of the chapel
On the left “Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and St. John” copy made by an anonymous Capuchin Father from the original by Guido Reni now in Great Britain
Above the arch, allegorical statues “Prudence” and “Justice” about 1635 by Alessandro Algardi (1598/1654) who also made the stuccos of the ceiling framing frescoes representing in the center “Transfiguration” and in the sides “Nativity” and “Baptism of Christ” by Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi (1606/80)

Above the altar “Apparition of Christ to St. John of the Cross”
On the left “Death of St. John of the Cross”, on the right “Virgin Mary saves St. John of the Cross” about 1667 by the French François Nicolas de Bar aka Nicolas Lorrain or Niccolò Lorenese (1632/95)
Sculptures of “Angels” on the pediment by Giuseppe Mazzuoli (1644/1725)
In the golden wood shrine “Holy Infant of Prague” donated in 1890 by the bishop of Prague

Above the altar “St. Andrew waiting for the punishment” by an anonymous Capuchin Father who replaced a painting by Cavalier D'Arpino stolen by the French
On the sides “Gravestones of the deacon Luca Angelo Maraldi and of the priest Marcantonio Maraldi” with portraits in oil on copper by Giuseppe Cesari aka Cavalier d'Arpino (1568/1640)

“Tomb of Cardinal Sebastiano Antonio Tanara” 1743/44 by Ferdinando Fuga (1699/1782) with bust by Agostino Corsini (1688/1772)

Various paintings with the Battle of Prague

Marble altarpiece “Assumption of St. John the Evangelist and St. Jerome” 1629 and frontal with “Adoration of the Shepherds” by Pompeo Ferrucci (about 1566/1637) originally in the third chapel on the right
The CARMELITE CONVENT was suppressed and the premises were occupied by the Geological Museum. The garden of the convent was expropriated for the construction of the Ministry of Agriculture which was built in the years 1907/14

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