Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world. Its easy to navigate, has great food and the amount of art and architecture is mind blowing. And most of it is free! Sure, there are places like the Vatican museum, but so much more. You can easily spend a week walking into churches and view painting and sculpture without spending anything.
One of my favorite places to visit is the Church of St Ignatius of Loyola. It contains the work of Andrea Pozzo (1642 – 1709) , a 17th century Jesuit priest and artist. Pozzo doesn’t get the credit he deserves. His work at St Ignatius, as well as other works, are marvels of art and architecture. On a flat ceiling, Pozzo was able to paint what appears as a towering building with angels, St Ignatius and Christ ascending towards heaven. It’s difficult to figure out where the actual building ends and the painted portion begins.
And if that is not all , Andrea Pozzo also painted what appears to be a dome in the ceiling. According to the story, the original church plans called for a cuppola, or dome, to be in the design. Budget reasons caused the dome to be deleted from the design. So…. Pozzo painted one! When standing in the church it appears the ceiling has a dome.
The amazing part is that he did it with math. No computers, no projectors, just an artist calculating angles and perspective.
I consider this to be part of some sort of pilgrimage. It sits right between Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. Thousands of people walk by on a daily basis, and only a handful stop in. When in Rome I make it a point to visit this church. And then I stand outside and stay until I can convince at least two people to check it out. It’s like an artist way of paying respect.
More on Pozzo in future posts.