Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chiesa del Gesù

Chiesa del Gesù

The Gesù won hands down in my private all-Rome competition for most florid ceiling fresco. I particularly liked the effect on the left-hand side above – where the elongated painted cloud was escaping from the frame and casting a painted shadow across the gilded three-dimensional ceiling vault.

A dozen different altars overflowed with larger than life sculptural groups, many of them (like the one below) suggesting a certain sado-sexual energy that seems to have characterized the Counter-Reformation Jesuits, whose headquarters this extravagant building was.

Following the same line of thought it seemed to me that the bronze construction below looked more like a bondage apparatus than a mere railing.

My imagination no doubt became overstimulated by such a weight of decorative exuberance.

Art historians say this was the first fully-fledged Baroque church in the world and served as a template for hundreds of imitations, from Germany to Peru.