Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano

1587/89 Domenico Fontana (1543/1607) for Sixtus V Peretti (1585/90)

Arches closed in 1853 by Francesco Azzurri (1831/1901)

Built to preserve the chapel of S. Lorenzo in Palatio ad Sancta Sanctorum (S. Lawrence in the Palace of the Holy of Holies) originally built for Nicholas III Orsini (1277/80) but already mentioned in the sources of the end of the sixth century

“The experience of the construction of the transept of the Upper Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, and, according to Marina Righetti Tosti-Croce, also Cistercian constructions through which came the influence of French Gothic, were clearly an inspiration for the architecture of the ‘Sancta Sanctorum’, the Holy of Holies. Here the model of Assisi appears, however, proposed to a lesser extent and measured, as exemplified in the fake tunnel with trefoil arches, with more direct references to the classical Roman tradition, reaching a result that combines tradition and innovation” (Emanuela Marino)

From right “Pius IX in prayer” 1877 by Tomasz Oscar Sosnowski (1810/86)
“Jesus praying in the Garden” 1915/17 by Giulio Aristide Sartorio (1860/1932)
At the center marble groups “Kiss of Judas” 1855 and “Ecce Homo” 1857 by Ignazio Jacometti (1819/83)
On the left “Pietà” 1875 by Tomasz Oscar Sosnowski and “Jesus at the column” 1874 by Giuseppe Meli

28 marble steps of Proconnesio marble from the Marmara Sea covered in wood in 1723 to prevent the wear and tear

It is believed they are the ones that Jesus went up three times in the Palace of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem (Scala Pylati)
It is also believed that the steps were brought here by St. Helena, the mother of Constantine in the year 326

Originally the steps made up the stairway entrance to the Patriarchìo (Patriarchate), the old papal palace

The stairs can only be climbed up by the faithful kneeling and red spots are visible on the steps, tracks, according to an extremely improbable belief, of the blood of Christ
The first information of any devotion for the stairs dates back, however, only to 1450, while before that date they are not even called holy and it appears they didn’t have any kind of devotional consideration

The stairs were moved from the old location in the old, now destroyed, papal palace to the new papal palace in a single night in 1589. They were reassembled in reverse, with the original first step which is the last one now, so that the workers who carried out the displacement would not have walked on the steps

“It was the seat of an actual law court and a stage at the same time to perform punishment and even death sentences” (Cesare D'Onofrio)

“Stories of the Old Testament” and “Stories of Christ” 1586/90 iconography designed by Giovanni Guerra (1544/1618) mainly executed by G.B. Ricci (about 1550/1624), Giacomo Stella (1545/about 1630), Paris Nogari (about 1536/1601), Andrea Lilio (about 1555/1632), Paul Brill (1554/1626), Giovanni Baglione (1566/1643), Ferraù Fenzone (1562/1645)

“Andrea Lilio painted on the walls of the Holy Stairs various scenes of the Legend of Moses and among them the fresco with the Miracle of the Source deserves special attention. The style of Lilio is not always uniform: among his works carried out quickly and often superficially, there are works of great quality made with great precision. What sets him apart is the unusually irregular and broken character of the design and the iridescent coloring” (Hermann Voss)

“Paul Brill in the History of Jonah shows a lively and exciting fantasy that seeks to unify the wealth of ideas of the Nordic peoples with Italian clarity” (Hermann Voss)

Among the ones who also collaborated:
Avanzino Nucci (1552/1629), Antonio Viviani aka il Sordo (1560/1620), Cesare Torelli, Paolo Guidotti aka il Cavalier Borghese (1560/1629), Baldassarre Croce (about 1553/1628), Antonio Scalvati (1557/1622), Girolamo Nanni (about 1569/about 1642), Vincenzo Conti (second half of the 1500s/about 1620), Prospero Orsi, Giuseppe Franco aka Giuseppe Monti or “delle Lodole” (1565/1628), Ventura Salimbeni (1568/1613), Giovanni Alberti (1558/1601) and Cherubino Alberti (1553/1615) (as many as 21 artists in total!)

Unknown Flemish artists also collaborated for inserts with landscapes and topographical details
“Three ancient lintels” recycled here above the gaps in the upper part of the stairs

Remade in 1278 by members of the Cosmati family
“Bronze door” of the third or fourth century AD perhaps from the ancient Patriarchìo (Patriarchate)

Important frescoes on the VAULT “Four Evangelists” and on the WALLS “Sts. Peter, Paul, Lawrence, Stephen, Nicholas and Agnes”, “Nicholas III presents the Holy of Holies to the Saviour between Sts. Peter and Paul” about 1280 maybe by Jacopo Torriti (active 1270/1300) and Pietro de' Cerroni aka Pietro Cavallini (about 1240/about 1325) (according to Serena Romano) or by Cenni di Pepo aka Cimabue (about 1240/1302) (according to Pietro Longhi)

“The face of Nicholas III is the first real portrait in the painting Gothic civilization in central Italy” (Serena Romano)

“These frescos for the excellent condition and high quality style can reasonably be estimated as the most significant text of artistic Roman culture of the end of the thirteenth century, also considering the possibility to date them accurately. Recent studies are therefore reassessing their central role in relation to the parallel and important site of Assisi” (Emanuela Marino)

Mosaic “Christ Pantocrator blessing” in a medallion supported by four angels about 1280

“The mosaic, which shows significant technical similarities with the paintings, as revealed by the restoration of 1994, it differs, however, from the paintings for modes more similar to Byzantine prototypes” (Emanuela Marino)

“Madonna and Child, saints and prophets” 1590 maybe by Girolamo Nanni (about 1569/about 1642), Ventura Salimbeni (1568/1613), Baldassare Croce (about 1553/1628), Andrea Lilio (about 1555/1632) and Paris Nogari (about 1536/1601)

Painting on board “Redeemer” acheropita (believed not to be painted by human hands) dating back to about fifth or sixth century, on which it is superimposed a copy of silk of the beginning of the thirteenth century

In the altar were kept SOME OF THE MOST PRECIOUS CHRISTIAN RELICS many of which stolen:
A piece of the Cross of Jesus, the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul, the sandals of Jesus, the sofa of the Last Supper, the rod of Moses, the manna descended from heaven, the bread of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, two ampoules with the blood spilled by the side of Jesus, the bread of the Last Supper, the sponge that was offered on the cross, the navel of Jesus and, incredibly, the foreskin of the Child Jesus

The holy foreskin was stolen, according to tradition, by a lansquenet in 1527 during the sack of Rome and ended up, somehow, in a church in the village called Calcata, 47 km (29 miles) north of Rome, where it was venerated until 1985 when it mysteriously disappeared

1587/89 Domenico Fontana (1543/1607)
Above the altar fresco “St. Lawrence venerated by the faithful underneath God the Father and the Son” by Baldassare Croce (about 1553/1628)
Four lunettes with “Landscapes” by Paul Brill (1554/1626)
Ceiling and pediments “Trinity in glory, saints and prophets” maybe by Giovanni Guerra (1544/1618) and Cesare Nebbia (1536/1614)

1936/37 by Vincenzo Mannucci
“Wooden crucifix” by an anonymous artist of the fifteenth century

1587/89 Domenico Fontana. It is used as choir
Vault “Triumph of Sixtus V” maybe by Giovanni Alberti (1558/1601) and Cherubino Alberti (1553/1615)
Lunettes with “Landscapes” by Paul Brill (1554/1626)
“Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross” of the second half of the eighteenth century by Tommaso Maria Conca (1734/1822)

No comments:

Post a Comment