Gruppo Archeologico Romano

Rome Through the Centuries Spring 2000

Background material keyed to topics to be covered in the Rome Through the Centuries course of the English Programme of the GAR

Nicole Fuget                Wednesdays 10 a.m., Feb 9 - May 31

Ms. Nicole Fuget (center) withRome Through the Centuries participants at rooftop level in Ostia Antica.

Book Recommendation: Pilgrimage: A Chronicle of Christianity Through the Churches of Rome,  by June Hager, provides much useful information on Churches included in the Spring 2000 Rome Through the Centuriesitinerary.  It is Available in some local bookstores and through and Pilgrimage Pilgrimage

Internet sites of general use to participants:
Ancient Rome -- Topographical Dictionary
Archeology Links
Architecture Links
Art History:
Art History Webmasters ASSOCIATION
Gateway to Art History
Index of artists and architects
OCAIW: Orazio Centaro's Art Images Web -- sculpture, architecture, etc.
Vassari: Lives
World Wide Arts Resources
The Catholic Encyclopedia
Church/Religions Links
History Source books
Indice Monumenti Antichi e Aree Archeologiche -- Roma
Jubilee Links
Literature and eTexts
Maecenas: Images of Ancient Greece and Rome
Medieval History Links
Mythology Links
Palaces of Rome - by Italian Tourist Web Guide
POPES -- Catholic Encyclopedia
Roman Churches:
Rome Churches -- RomeTours
Rome Churches -- RomeGuide
Basilicas and Churches - Italian Culture Net Links
Vitruvius on Architecture -- LacusCurtius
Western Civilization Links
February 9:  Jubilee Year and Jubilees
2000 years of history - The Origins
Catholic Encyclopedia: HOLY YEAR OF JUBILEE
Catholic Encyclopedia: Hebrew Year of Jubilee
Holy Year of Jubilee
History of the Jubilees - 1300 with links to later Jubilee years
The Jubilee of the year 2000 - Battaglia


The Year 1000
Center for Millennial Studies
Millennium Watch Institute
M.P.:  GAR, Via degli Scipione, 30/A

February 16:  Jubilee Year Restorations -- St. Peter's Facade

BASILICA -- Catholic Encyclopedia
BASILICA OF SAINT PETER -- Catholic Encyclopedia
Città del Vaticano -- Pictures: Christus Rex
RESTORATION: St Peter's Basilica
Basilica of cans
    a "must see" site:  the coke can(!) model of St. Peter's
M.P.:  GAR, Via degli Scipione, 30/A

February 23:  Oldest Church Dedicated to the Virgin Mary

Legendary Rome - The 'Fons Olei' In Trastevere
S.Maria in Trastevere -- Roma2000
Christ Enthroned with the Virgin -- S.Maria in Trastevere
M.P.:  Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere

No session on March 1 -- rescheduled to April 12

March 1:  Casa dei Cardinale Bessarione

BESSARION, JOHANNES -- Catholic Encyclopedia
Cardinal Bessarion
Casina del Card. Bessarione
Image -- Casa Bessarione
La casina del Cardinal Bessarione

M.P.:  Via Porta di S. Sebastiano (all'inizio, non lontano dalle terme di Caracalla)

March 8:  Jubilee Restorations -- Ss. Domenico e Sisto and Reni's "Aurora" in Palazzo Pallavicini Rospogliosi

Ss. Domenico e Sisto
Cenni Storici

Bernini's "Noli mi tangere" is in the altar of the Alaleoni Chapel

St. Catherine of Siena's Shoulder Blade is in a reliquary in the Church

GRIS Net - Immagini - Guido Reni
Encyclopedia Mythica -- Aurora
Encyclopedia Mythica - Article: Eos
Encyclopedia Mythica - Gallery: Aurora
Bulfinch's Mythology -- Scroll down to Aurora
M.P.:  Angolo tra Via Panisperna e Largo Magnanapoli

March 15:  Jubilee Restorations -- S. Pietro in Vincoli

The Chains of St. Peter
Michelangelo's Moses
St Peter in Chains - follow links
Peter's work and death in Rome -- Catholic Encyclopedia

Book Recommendation:  Except for books specifically on the subject of the Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli, which are available at better Roman bookstores, the best description of this Church and the Michelangelo Moses in a general guide-book begins on page 302 in The Companion Guide to Rome(Georgia Masson, revised by Tim Jepson).

M.P.:  Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli

March  22:  Foreign Nations in Catholic Rome

THE ENGLISH COLLEGE IN ROME -- Catholic Encyclopedia

Santa Maria di Monserrato:

The Spanish national church of Rome, by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger,  was begun in 1495 during the reign of Pope Alexander VI (Roderigo Borgia), a Spaniard.  It originally started as a hospice for pilgrims from Spain run by a brotherhood of the Virgin of Montserrat in Catalonia.  There is a fine early Bernini bust of Cardinal Pedro Foix de Montoya, who was the church's benefactor.  Many of the works of art now in Santa Maria di Monserrato, including the Bernini, were transferred from S. Giacomo in Piazza Navona, which had earlier been the Spanish national church.  There are some 15th century tombs by Andrea Bregno and Luigi Capponi located in the side chapels and courtyard.  Pope Alexander VI Borgia (d. August 18, 1503) is entombed in the Church.
M.P.:  Via del Monserrato, 94-97

March 29:  Jubilee Restorations -- 4th century of Borromini's Birth  (S. Agnese in Agone and Sant'Ivo)

Borromini -- Great Buildings, Unhappy Ending:
The two great exponents of Italian Baroque architecture naturally became rivals.  Borromini began his career as a stonecutter, and draftsman and worked for many years as an architectural assistant to his Uncle Carlo Maderno.  He was working with Maderno on S. Pietro in Vaticano when Maderno died in 1629.  Unlike Borromini, Bernini, was on the fast track.  His father had been a renowned artist and architect, and Bernini's skills, especially as a sculptor, were recognized early. It appears to have been no surprise to anyone except Borromini that Bernini, rather than Borromini, was appointed to finish the S. Pietro project when Maderno died.  Borromini was kept on for a while as architectural assistant, but he was obviously and publicly unhappy.

Borromini accused Bernini of exploiting his (Borromini's) skills and knowledge to become the favored architect of Rome's "great families."  In fact, both Borromini and Bernini sought and received high level Roman patronage, and the fact that they were appealing to the same rich families made their rivalry even more bitter.  It was said that Bernini finally nominated Borromini as architect for the proposed church of S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane to be rid of him at S. Pietro.  Borromini took up the challenge of an exceedingly cramped space to produce what is considered his masterpiece, which is still called the "Carlino" because of its small size.  A few years later, Borromini extracted some small vengeance when he attracted the favor of the increasingly influential Pamphilj family and got the commission for the Palazzo Pamphilj and S. Agnese in Piazza Navona.  Bernini, according to legend, had to use trickery to get the Pamphilj commission for the Fountain of the Four Rivers in the center of the Piazza.

Somewhere along the line, Borromini made an unfortunate "image" decision.  Because his rival, Bernini, hobnobbed with the "great families" and dressed and acted like them, Borromini decided to go the other way and started to show up for appointments in the Palazzi dressed as a common workman, thinking he would thus ridicule Bernini's pretensions.  The ploy backfired, however:  the nobles accepted Bernini (who was, after all, from a noble family) and treated Borromini according to his humble attire and origins.

Borromini was, by all accounts, not a pleasant man, and he argued with most of his patrons as well as his employees.  He reputedly beat one of his own assistants so brutally that the assistant died.  Because of his "image" and his bad temper, commissions dried up.  By 1667, Borromini was an angry, frustrated, and depressed old man, and he committed suicide in the summer of that year by impaling himself on his own sword.

After Borromini died, Bernini continued his anti-Borromini propaganda, which was taken up by the Italian architectural community.  Borromini was considered by succeeding generations of architects to be too radical, excessive (as if all of Baroque is not!), and "hurtful to the eyes." Foreign architects seem to agree, transferring their displeasure with everything in Italian Baroque to Borromini's shoulders, perhaps because Bernini himself is such a cultural icon (because of his sculpture) that he is unassailable. Bernini wins.
Francesco Borromini - Great Buildings Online
Francesco Borromini - Structure and Metamorphosis

Sant'Agnese in Agone (Piazza Navona)
The church of Sant'Agnese in Agone was built over a brothel (or a stadium tavern frequented by prostitutes) where the thirteen year old Christian virgin was martyred in the year 304 (Diocletian's persecution -- 303-305).  According to legend, she was the object of the desires of a Roman prefect, but she spurned him saying that she was already committed to another, Christ.  The prefect and his friends first spied on her and then dragged her off to a house of ill repute where they publicly stripped her.  Her hair grew miraculously to protect her modesty.  She was set alight, but the fire miraculously left her and consumed the prefect instead.  The prefect's father arrived at the scene and demanded that she be killed.  The crowd that had gathered agreed, whereupon Sant'Agnese miraculously brought the soldier back to life, thereby converting both him and his father.  Despite the pleas of the soldier and the father, now Christians and on her side, the crowd would not relinquish its victim and she was, after great suffering, decapitated.  Her head was kept in a shrine on the spot where her church (in Agone) now stands.  Her body was entombed where her other church (Fouri le Mura) was built.
The Church was started by Girolamo and Carlo Rinaldi under the patronage of the Pamphilj family (mid 1650's).  The dramatic concave facade and towers are ascribed to Borromini by almost all architectural authorities.
S. Agnese in Agone -- Falda drawing
S. Agnese -- Morlacchi drawing
ST. AGNES OF ROME -- Catholic Encyclopedia
Piazza Navona Aerial View
Sant' Ivo (Corso del Rinascimento)
Begun in 1642 and finished in 1660, this is one of Borromini's masterpieces, along with San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. The church has an original hexagonal form, with corners alternatively rounded or pointed. From the outside, the dome with its spiral lantern is the most recognizable feature. The church is contiguous with Palzzo Sapienza, behind a beautiful arched courtyard by Giacomo della Porta.
S. Ivo della Sapienza -- Great Buildings Online
Borromini's St. Ivo
S. Ivo Cupola and Spire
St. Ivo cut-away view (from a corporate Christmas card)
Borromini Bonus: Spada Colonnade
M.P.:  Piazza Navona, in front of S. Agnese

April 5:  Still in the Baroque Age -- Bernini in S. Lorenzo in Damaso and paintings and sculpture in S. Andrea della Valle

Basilica di San Lorenzo in Damaso
The first basilica was built to honour  Saint Laurentius and belonged to the titulus parish of Pope Damasus (366-384). It was incorporated into the Palazzo della Cancelleria, but was demolished in 1495 and rebuilt, perhaps by Bramante. The Baroque works in the presbytery (Bernini) and the Chapel of the Holy Conception (built by Pietro da Cortona to hold the 12th c. so-called Virgin of Grottapinta) do not alter the purist lines of Vespignani's restoration (1862-1882). There are also funeral monuments by the neoclassical sculptor Pietro Tenerani.  It is the seat of the White Penitents Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament and the Five Wounds.
Palazzo della Cancelleria
DONATO BRAMANTE -- Catholic Encyclopedia
Basilica di Sant'Andrea della Valle
Begun in 1591 by Grimaldi and Della Porta, and continued by Maderno in 1608, who also designed the dome raised in 1622, which is the second highest and largest in diameter after St. Peter's. The interior of the dome has the spectacular vision of the "Glory of Paradise" by G. Lanfranco (17th c).  Carlo Rainaldi created the façade (1655-65). Contains frescoes by Domenichino. The church is the scene of the first act  from Pucini's opera La Tosca.
S. Andrea Della Valle -- Hager
S. Andrea della Valle -- Cicero (Italian)
Tosca, Video Tape, on Location
    NTSC (Milnes/Domingo/Kabaivanska)
M.P.:  Piazza della Cancelleria, front of S. Lorenzo in Damaso

April 10 MONDAY AFTERNOON(1500 ---  3 PM):   Palazzo Farnese

The Interior Courtyard
Images, Palazzo Farnese -- Sullivan
Palazzo Farnese -- Capodimonte museum
Palazzo Farnese/Images -- Koskimies
Includes a 16th century drawing, showing what the structure looked like before Michelangelo's changes to the building of Antonio da Sangallo the Younger.  The same drawing also shows a bullfight in the piazza in front of the Palazzo.
Edmond Beheles, Veduta di Piazza Farnese
19th Century photo with all the arms displayed above the balcony
WebMuseum: Carracci
M.P.:  Piazza Farnese

April 12:  Casa dei Cardinale Bessarione

BESSARION, JOHANNES -- Catholic Encyclopedia
Cardinal Bessarion
Casina del Card. Bessarione
Image -- Casa Bessarione
La casina del Cardinal Bessarione

M.P.:  Via Porta di S. Sebastiano (all'inizio, non lontano dalle terme di Caracalla)

May 3:  The "Colpo di Spada" of Sixtus IV -- Via dei Coronari

From The Companion Guide to Rome:
"in the fifteenth century, the Via dei Coronari, was an important thoroughfare known as the Via Recta (the Straight Street);  it stretched from what is now Via di Banco do S. Spirito, in front of Ponte S. Angelo, to the present Corso.  Its improvement, as one of the main pilgrim routes fanning out from the bridge leading to St. Peter's was an important part of Sixtus IV's town plan, in pursuance of which he made a special concession to private persons who were willing to build alongside it.  The the entire street, which has suffered remarkably little from the speculative builders of later centuries, presents a perfect picture of a flourishing business and residential centre of Renaissance Rome.  Indeed the whole are contains so many delightful buildings of this period that to mention each one individually would be tedious...."  (Beginning on p. 157, and through p161, is a discussion of this area.)

Book Recommendation:  The Companion Guide to Rome, by Georgia Masson, revised by Tim Jepson.

POPE SIXTUS IV -- Catholic Encyclopedia
Itinerario 5 scroll down to "Via Coronari"
M.P.:  Piazza di Fiammetta (Via Zanardelli)

May 10:  Jubilee Restorations -- The Gesù and its paintings by Giovanni Battista Gaulli

Il Gesù and S. Ignazio -- Hager
Image -- Gesu interior
John Huss and Martin Luther... barred from Heaven?
Madonna della Strada
Baroque Architecture Includes three pictures of the Gesu
Gaulli, giovanni Battista
Gaulli Baciccio, Giovanni Battista
Il Baciccio: Works Viewable on the Internet
Vatican - Concert of Angels Magnet Get your own Gaulli!
M.P.:  Piazza dei Gesú

May 17:  XIXth Century Italian Painting -- Galeria d'Arte Moderna

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna
a large and useful site, but only in Italian.  Future Exhibition arrea is not up to date.
Gateway to Art History: V The Modern & Postmodern World
Gateway to Art History
Galleria di immagini
Benvenuti nella Città dell'Arte
M.P.:  Palazzo delle Belle Arte, Viale delle Belle Arte

May 24:  Problems of Public Transportation

Biga -- Roman Chariot
Biga -- Roman Charioteer
Dress Landau
Map of Exhibition Location
M.P.:  EUR, Via A. Millevoi, 693

May 31:  Gardens of the Villa Borghese -- Gardini Segreti to Museo Pietro Canonica

Italian Gardens -- Garden Design
Sonaco City Guide - Canonica Museum
Latium - ROME - P. Canonica Museum
La Fortezzuola
Dragons and Eagles
Official Site Borghese Gallery - The Villa
Official Site Borghese Gallery - Information  
Official Site Borghese Gallery - The Collections
European Art in the 17th Century: Bernini, David 
Bernini: Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius
Thais - 1200 anni di scultura italiana - Roma, Galleria Borghese
M.P.:  Villa Borghese

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