Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sant' Andrea al Quirinale

Sant' Andrea al Quirinale

My daughter and son-in-law told me that Bernini's church of Sant' Andrea al Quirinale was known in Rome as The Pearl of the Baroque. They took a rainy Polaroid of me holding Mabel under an umbrella outside the oversized entrance ("an enormous single aedicule with a convex, semicircular portico").

Sant' Andrea was round on the inside and modest in scale. Vaulted chapels lined the walls, every surface covered with large agitated paintings and slabs of patterned marble. Cherubs, too. Cherubs everywhere.

A cherub infestation.

Bernin's fertility was famous in his day. Cardinals and Popes deferred to his taste. He even added a pair of bell towers to the ancient Roman Pantheon (see below – they were removed in the 19th century).

Another time in another part of the city, Piazza Minerva needed an obelisk. Bernini came up with an elephant for the base. The Pope was happy, the people were happy, and (even today) the tourists are happy.