logo del sito Romainteractive
You are in: Home > Take a bit of Rome a day > Church of Jesus



Church of Jesus
Church of Jesus, the dome - click to enlarge

Giacomo Della Porta (1532 – 1602), by the will of the "Grand Cardinal" Alessandro Farnese, designed the church, which became the model for all Jesuit churches all over the world.

Della Porta’s design is very impressive, seemingly simple, the travertine façade on two orders actually is extremely elaborate and the contrast between arcs and triangles anticipates the baroque style.
To note in the link between the first and the second order the triangle of the gable is inscribed within an arch, as well as niches of the first order are overtopped by an arch, while those of the second order by a triangle.

Giacomo Della Porta gave to the dome a gores shape resting on an octagonal drum, in the drum there are four windows and eight small windows in the dome.
The single nave interior exalts the inspiration of Baciccia (1639 - 1709), who in the fresco “The Triumph of the Name of Jesus”, painted on the ceiling of the nave, expressed all his spectacular visionary talent.

The Triumph of the Name of Jesus The Triumph of the Name of Jesus
The Triumph of the Name of Jesus - click to enlarge

Resorting to an illusionistic artifice the different groups of figures go beyond the frame, with divergent effects, to come in, attracted by the light of God, as the Group of St. Ignatius, and to leave as the rebellious angels, which seem to plunge down.
Baciccia, to achieve a synthesis between painting and sculpture, also designed all stuccoes of the vault, made by the great Ercole Antonio Raggi.

The chapel of the great Jesuit St. Francis Xavier is one of the last works of the famous Pietro da Cortona.
The altarpiece, an intense work of Carlo Maratta, represents Francis Xavier death.
Entering the church the gaze is inexorably drawn to the light coming down from the dome that illuminates the great cycle of paintings by Baciccia, who frescoed the apse, the arch of the presbytery, the spandrels of the dome and the dome itself.

The theme of the apse is the glory of the Mystic Lamb, in the arch of the presbytery Baciccia painted musicians Angels praising the name of Jesus, in the spandrels of the dome are depicted Prophets, Evangelists and Doctors of the Church, in the dome Heaven praising Jesus.

Church of Jesus - Arch of the presbytery Church of Jesus - Spandrels of the dome
Arch of the presbytery - click to enlarge Spandrels of the dome - click to enlarge

The Chapel of Saint Ignatius had a troubled gestation, first had to be dedicated to the Crucifix and was designed by Giacomo Della Porta, later intervened Pietro da Cortona reviewing the previous project. Meanwhile, a devout donated the golden bronze urn, made by the great Algardi, where St. Ignatius was deposed.
Finally in 1694 Tirso Gonzales General of Jesuits commissioned Andrea Pozzo to design the chapel to be dedicated to St. Ignatius.

Work began in 1695, between artists and craftsmen at work there were more than 100 people.
The group above the gable, representing the Eternal Father and Christ, is the work of Leonardo Reti and Lorenzo Ottoni, Above the altar, the two angels, supporting the shield with the monogram of Jesus in rock crystal, were sculpted by Pierre Etienne Monnot.
The reliefs in gilded bronze at the base of the columns represent episodes in the life of the Saint, to note the central one by Merlini.

To the left of the altar is the “Triumph of Faith on Idolatry”, the work of Théodon, right Le Gros carved the “Religion that breaks down the Heresy”.

Church of Jesus - Religion that breaks down the Heresy
Religion that breaks down the Heresy - click to enlarge

In the vault, with the illusionistic effect of the frame breaking, the “Glory of St. Ignatius” by Baciccia shows the Holy facing the Heaven, represented by the dome with “Heaven praising Jesus”.



Go to the web site of Università di Roma Tor Vergata