Sunday, May 17, 2015

Beautiful XVI century frescoes near the Piazza Navona.

There are two churches in Piazza Navona - one is the famous Borromini's Sant'Agnese in Agone (which is actually a family chapel), the other Chiesa di Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore a beutiful Medieval church which suffered serious damage during the building of the Corso Rinascimento in 1931 used to be the Spanish church in Rome until the first half of the XIX century - when the foundation moved to Santa Maria in Monserrato together with most tombs (including Pope Alexander VI's one).
This church hosts a chapel designed by Antonio da Sangallo in 1518 with some damaged frescoes by Pellegrino Aretusi, who worked with Raphael during his Roman stay.
None of the scholars who studied the works in the Chapel have provided a complete description of the scenes. In fact, it is presumed that the deterioration of the frescoes began at a very early stage. However, it is certain that the frescoes on the left represent miraculous events in the life of Saint James and that those on the right describe events following his death. The work begun and was completed in 1519 - the style may suggest that the artist worked with Raphael in the Vatican Logge.

The Battle of Clavijo, in which St James, in the centre on horseback, intervened to give victory to the Christian forces over the Moors.

Hermogenes, former persecutor of Chrsitians and enemy of St James, is converted by the saint. In the distance, Hermogenes throws his books of sorcery into the sea.


Left: Phileto, imprisoned by Hermogenes, is sent a mantle by St James which allows him to escape.
Right: St James is brought before Herod Agrippa (very damaged). Visible is the paralysed man cured by the saint, and some of the soldiers who lead him to execution.


                                      An angel in perspective - undoubtedly the work of Pellegrino.


              The apostles Peter and Paul - later additions.


           Monochrome scenes, for which no interpretation is available.

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