Sant'Ignazio di Loyola a Campo Marzio, a Baroque church in Rome, was built between 1626 and 1650 and dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, who had just been canonized (1622). It functioned originally as the church of the adjacent Collegio Romano, now moved to another location (see also Palazzo del Collegio Romano).

At present Roberto Tucci functions as Cardinal Deacon of the Titulus S. Ignatii de Loyola in Campo Martio.

History and main works

Designed by the Jesuit mathematician, Father Orazio Grassi (1583-1654) on the basis of projects by Carlo Maderno and others, the initial planning was directed by, and the project funded by the young and brilliant Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, nephew of Pope Gregory XV. The church has a Latin cross plan with numerous side chapels closely resembling the Jesuit mother church in Rome, Il Gesu (completed in the late 16th century), q.v. One enters at the west directly, today, from the Rococo Piazza S. Ignazio. The imposing order of Corinthian pilasters that rings the entire interior, the theatrical focus on the high altar at the rear of the broad eastern apse, the church's colored marbles, animated stucco figural relief, richly ornamented altars, extensive gilding, and bold trompe l'oeil paintings in the "dome" at its crossing and in the nave ceiling all produce a festive, sumptuous effect. The church stages the triumph of its dedicatee most effectively.

Andrea Pozzo, a Jesuit brother, painted the grandiose fresco that stretches across the nave ceiling (after 1685). It celebrates the work of Saint Ignatius and the Society of Jesus in the world presenting the saint welcomed into paradise by Christ and the Virgin Mary and surrounded by allegorical representations of all four continents. Pozzo worked to open up, even dissolve the actual surface of the nave's barrel vault illusionistically, arranging a perspectival projection to make an observer see a huge and lofty cupola (of a sort), open to the bright sky, and filled with upward floating figures. A marble disk set into the middle of the nave floor marks the ideal spot from which observers might fully experience the illusion. A second marker in the nave floor further east provides the ideal vantage point for the trompe l'oeil painting on canvas that covers the crossing and depicts a tall, ribbed and coffered dome. The cupola one expects to see here was never built and in its place,in 1685, Andrea Pozzo supplied a painting on canvas with a perpectival projection of a cupola. Destroyed in 1891, the painting was subsequently replaced. Pozzo also frescoed the pendentives in the crossing decorating each with an Old Testament figure--Judith, David, Samson, and Jaele.

Again by Pozzo, the frescoes in the eastern apse present the life and apotheosis of St. Ignatius. The Siege of Pamplona in the tall panel on the left commemorates the wounding of St. Ignatius, which led to the convalesence that transformed his life. The panel over the high altar with The Vision of St. Ignatius at the Chapel of La Storta commemorates the place where the saint received his divine calling. St. Ignatius sends St. Francis Xavier to India recalls the aggressive Jesuit missionary work in foreign countries, and finally, St. Ignatius Receiving Francesco Borgia recalls the recruitment of the Spanish noble who would become General of the Company of Jesuits. Pozzo is also responsible for the fresco in the conch depicting St. Ignatius Healing the Pestilent.

The nave's west wall has a sculptural group showing Magnificence and Religion (1650) by Alessandro Algardi. Algardi also helped design the high reliefs in stucco that run on both lateral nave walls just above the entries to the chapels and beneath the nave's grandiose entablature.

Other artworks in the church include a huge statue of St. Ignatius, in stucco, by Camillo Rusconi (1728) and the glass coffin of, and portrait of Cardinal Bellarmino within. (Bellarmino died in 1621).

The first chapel on the right has an eighteenth-century altarpiece showing Saints Stanislaus Kostka and John Francis Regis Worshiping the Virgin and Child. The second chapel has an altarpiece depicting St. Joseph and the Virgin and a lunette (right wall) with The Last Communion of St. Luigi Gonzaga, both by Francesco Trevisani (1656-1746); the cupola was painted by Luigi Garzi (1638-1721). The third chapel has an 18th-century altarpiece of The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple by Stefano Pozzi (1699-1768).

The chapel in the right transept, dedicated to St. Aloysius Gonzaga, has a large marble high-relief depicting St. Aloyzius Gonzaga in Glory (1697-99) by the French Pierre Legros. Andrea Pozzo painted the ceiling which shows the saint in glory. The chapel features a lapis lazuli urn with the saint's remains and also houses the relics of St. John Berchmans.

The chapel just to the right of the church's presbytery (at the south-east corner) houses the funeral monuments of Pope Gregory XV and his nephew, Cardinal Ludovisi, the church's founder. Pierre Legros and Pierre-Étienne Monnot made Gregory XV's monument some sixty years after Gregory's death.

The chapel in the left transept has a marble altarpiece of the Annunciation by Filippo Della Valle, with allegorical figures and angels (1649) by Pietro Bracci, and a frescoed ceiling with The Assumption by Andrea Pozzo. The second and first chapels to the left have paintings by Delattre.

Image gallery

See also


External links

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