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JOURNAL ENTRIES | Benjamin Belovich

1. Facade of Basilica di Sant’Andrea della Valle, (attrib. Francesco Grimaldi), circa. 1630.

In the high Baroque style, the facade of Sant’Andrea della Valle stands high above the

surrounding palazzi on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. With the work starting on the facade in 1605, it

was consecrated officially by Alexander VII in 1665. Upon first glance at the entrance area, we see a

single portal entrance centered by four sets of double Corinthian columns, all atop a small raised

pediment (made entirely from travertine) which oddly protrudes beyond the ridge of the nave roof,

indicating that the facade was a later addition to the church, with the idea of a bella figura in mind,

rather than a good architectural design. Four aediculae, placed evenly between the sets of columns,

feature four statues of saints with putti featured above, symbols of martyrdom (Saint Andrew’s

sacrifice).

The first storey also has a pair of Corinthian pilasters at its outer corners. These aforementioned

columns all support an entablature and frieze which bears the following dedicatory inscription in the

usual form seen on all churches in Rome:

Alexander Sept[imus] P[ontifex] M[aximus] S[ancto] Andreae Apostolo an[no] salutis

MDCLXV. (Alexander the Seventh, Pontifex Maximus (Pope) Holy Andrew the Apostle, in the year

1665.

The second storey is in identical architectural style, except for eight columns (in sets of two)

which are Composite not Corinthian. This storey is also topped by a triangular pediment with a

smaller rounded triangular pediment broken up inside this. Inside the break is a coat of arms supported

by a pair of angels. Also, a large rectangular window with a balustraded balcony (not accessible in

any way, believe me, I’ve tried) and yet another raised triangular pediment, in between the pairs of

columns are two empty niches, perhaps suggesting the historical presence of more statues which

could have been removed.

2. Beata Ludovica Albertoni, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1674 (Chiesa di San Francesco a Ripa)

AH 143 – World Art III - Dr. Laura Foster 1


JOURNAL ENTRIES | Benjamin Belovich

Taking a walk into the small and quiet Chiesa di San Francesco a Ripa in Trastevere and into

the Altieri Chapel, we are able to find Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s final full life marble sculpture, which

he created for and decided to the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni by commission from the previously

mentioned Altieri family. With emotions seen of immense peace through death, she is seen in a

state of absolute ecstasy (the theme of the entire composition) and has been sculpted by Bernini on

her deathbed, lying atop of her own sarcophagus. It is firstly important to note the architectural

setting around the piece, which was without a doubt, Bernini’s way of focusing attention on the her,

as it is framed within an archway of brown and gold coloured granite, a complete contrast to the

soft white marble of Albertoni herself. In the chapel, she was sculpted and placed by Bernini as the

central figure and only figure in this chapel, as is lit on both sides by large windows.

In terms of the figure herself, she has been presented by Bernini laying on a mattress at the

moment of her death, or as he might have intended his viewers to look at it, a mystical communion

with God in the final moments of her life. Bernini sculpted her with an immense amount of smooth

folds and wrinkles in her clothing (in a very natural way), which may perhaps reflect her state of

turmoil as her head is also portrayed perched back in a very un-natural position onto an

embroidered pillow. Through her position, her head and body form a right-angle triangle putting

more visual weight on the left half of the piece. We are also able to see that the body of Albertoni is

surrounded by putti, indicating that she is waiting to rise to the Holy Spirit.

AH 143 – World Art III - Dr. Laura Foster 2