Here are the frescoes and decorations that embellish the vault ceiling and dome of the Church of the Gesù in Rome, a masterpiece of Genoa-born Giovan Battista Gaulli, known as Baciccio or Baciccia (1639-1709), whom we wrote about a while back.
Thanks to the generous collaboration of the Jesuits who are now in charge of the mother church of the Society of Jesus – designed and built with help by Michelangelo, Il Vignola and Giacomo Della Porta, between 1568 and 1580 –, we recently had the opportunity to get closer to Baciccio’s wonderful works, for an exclusive and detailed photo shooting.
Art historian Cesare Brandi was a fan of the masterpiece, and invited his readers to note the images “trespassing their own frame, painting turning into sculpture in the stuccos, the alternate and perfectly balanced mix of painting and sculpture that this extraordinary ceiling displays…”
In his “Scritti d’arte”, (Bompiani, Milan 2013), Brandi wrote, “The luminous and radiant glory of Jesus contrasts with the mostly cold hues, with blues and purples highlighting the gold in the background, frames, and ceiling panels. Gaulli ingeniously alternates points of view, so figures are sometimes imminent over the viewer’s head and sometimes far away towards a vanishing point […]. The shift from painted to plastic parts, from white to colored stuccos, is so natural that one must really focus to notice it: relief sculptures seem like paintings that emerge in the chromatic heaven…”
Let’s enjoy this close-up on baroque beauty.
Photos via: ©Italian Ways – Massimo Quattrucci