Sant'Ignazio
Via del Caravita 8A, 00186 Roma
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The ceiling

The main part of the decoration of the church is the great fresco of the vault, made by Andrea Pozzo from 1691 to 1694. And ‘the exaltation of the apostolic activity of the Society in all parts of the world. A. Well shows his prodigious virtuosity in the art of perspective, peculiar of Baroque painting. [In his treatise Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum the Well teaches his students the technique of perspective representation. If for a fresco of limited proportions and surface are sufficient two “grills” (crosslinked tracked on figuration), one on the sketch, the other largest, made with strings on the surface to be frescoed, for paintings to run on a wide surface and curved necessary to use a grid of twine thesis and projected on the surface at night by means of a light source: just mark with a color shadows of the grating. In more difficult cases, when the distance of the surface from the observer is too large, it is necessary to use a more complex technique. The reticle will track, replacing the light source, by means of a string whose head is fixed to a point of view]. The columns and arches of the church seem to continue in the real architectural paintings, open to an infinite space: there’s no rift between the earth and the sky, the world of nature and history opens to the vision of the divine reality, made of light. On this basis, we understand the interest of the Society for Science: probe the nature allows to know the presence of God in the world, the manner in which he has done in history. Against the devaluation of the world and of man marked by sin, characteristic of the Protestant Reformation, Ignatius says in the Spiritual Exercises that all aspects of reality, visible or invisible, animate or inanimate, have a common goal: to praise and serve God, not far Eternity in its inaccessible, but calatosi in history with the incarnation of the Son, Redeemer of mankind. The art, whose role is to express these truths, assumes new forms, unknown to the art of the Renaissance who conceived the Nature and Sopranatura on two separate planes. Here everything becomes fluid, figures, flexible and elastic, without weight even in their physicality, they lose any stiffness and buy with their curved forms a new spiritual character. The physical space, the earthly world, defined by architectural structures, it opens to the vision of the divine, in a deep continuity between the finite and infinite. All reality is as drawn up, in a miraculous suspension of physical laws, and everything converges, for perspective effect, toward the center of the fresco, the “heaven of heavens” where is God, the Trinity, point of tension universe. The beauty of the cosmos, expressed by the artist in perfect symmetry and eurythmy perspective, is the epiphany of God, His light expands in creation and in the human conscience, that in the dialogue with God achieves its purpose. A. Well writes in a letter that the first inspiration to conceive this fresco came from the words of the Gospel have come to bring fire on the earth, that Ignatius had made his prescribing to his confreres inflammate Ite et omnia (Go and burned everything ). But every fire and every heavenly light come from the Father; why a beam of light emanated from Him, through the clouds on which hovers the dove-Holy Spirit reaches Christ carrying the cross and through Him Ignatius. As in the vision of La Storta the message is clear: every man is called to carry his cross. The Holy sways on a cloud supported by angels; from his heart four spokes radiate to the ends of the earth, represented in the form of feminine allegories of the four continents known, placed under the plinths of the columns painted to the four corners of the ceiling. Do not overlook the particular shield supported by angels bearing the trigram of Christ IHS, symbol of the Company, and reflects the scattered light in the sky: it is the recognition of the divine work of the Founder. Due to the activity of the Jesuits, represented by the Saints of the Order (Luigi, Francis Borgia etc …) thousands of sanctified souls to Christ proceed from different corners of the world. And ‘e presented the figure of St. Francis Xavier: he drives into the sky a multitude of souls converted in Asia. The presence of Christ carrying the cross in front of Ignatius in the center pane of the presbytery is a significant recovery of the message delivered in time in its complexity and completeness. The Well beyond the traditional distinction between the nave, the space of the transience of earthly life, and the chancel area of the divine life: the encounter between God and man is realized in the transience of life with the support of the imaginative view of Ignatius speaks in the Exercises; the characters represented, live in nature and in history, interact with the faithful and elevate it to God. At the ends of the vault are represented the means Ignatius is needed to encourage conversions: the love of God, figuratively ablaze with which angels burn the hearts, and the fear of divine punishment, figured in lightning with which the exterminating angels threaten the rebels.

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