The Faux Dome of The Church of St. Ignatius

The Fake Dome of The Church of St. Ignatius

One in every of Rome’s lesser-known points of interest, the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola (Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola in Italian), lies only a block away from the Pantheon. This unbelievable seventeenth century baroque church has a towering façade that dominates the Piazza, and a lavishly embellished inside that’s thought-about among the best within the entirety of Rome.

The very first thing most guests do once they step inside this church devoted to the founding father of the Jesuit order is lookup on the luxurious frescoes that embellish the massive ceiling. The grandiose fresco painted by Andrea Pozzo depicts the triumph of St. Ignatius and the apostolic objectives of Jesuit missionaries, desirous to broaden the attain of Roman Catholicism internationally. The ceiling seems to be a excessive and vaulted embellished with statues and populated with flying figures. In actuality the roof is flat. Pozzo gave the ceiling an phantasm of top utilizing anamorphic methods. A marble disk set into the center of the nave ground marks the perfect spot from which observers would possibly totally expertise the phantasm.

The faux dome and vaulted ceiling of Church of St. Ignatius in Rome. Picture: Fabianodp/

Additional up on the ground of the nave, is one other marker. Standing on this, an observer can see an exquisite, ribbed cupola that does not exist. Like the remainder of the ceiling, the embellished dome too is an phantasm, painted by Andrea Pozzo to cover the truth that the Jesuits couldn’t afford to construct a dome.

The church was initially a easy chapel of the Roman Faculty established by St. Ignatius in 1551, on land donated by Vittoria della Tolfa, an Italian noble ladies, to the Society of Jesus in reminiscence of her late husband. Though the Jesuits acquired the marchesa’s land, they didn’t have the cash for constructing the church. Budgetary restraints compelled them to rent their very own architect, and the Jesuit brothers themselves laboured within the development of the church. The unique church was accomplished in 1567, and was expanded in 1580, due to a beneficiant contribution by Pope Gregory XIII.

Church of St. Ignatius

The Church of St. Ignatius. Picture: V_E/

By the start of the seventeenth century, the Roman Collage had grown to over 2,000 college students and the outdated church grew to become inadequate for holding mass. Pope Gregory XV, who was an outdated pupil of the faculty, steered to his nephew, Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, {that a} new church devoted to the founding father of the Jesuits ought to be erected on the faculty itself. The younger cardinal accepted the concept, and in 1626, 4 years after the canonization of Ignatius of Loyola, the muse stone was laid. The outdated church was demolished to make approach for the brand new Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which took up 1 / 4 of your complete block when it was accomplished in 1650.

When the Church of St. Ignatius was consecrated, it had naked ceilings. Initially, a dome was deliberate, however dispute with the unique donors, the Ludovisi, had prevented the completion of the deliberate dome. Andrea Pozzo, who was employed to brighten the ceilings, proposed to resolve this by creating the phantasm of a dome, when considered from inside. Accomplished in 1895, the trompe-l’œil frescoes are emblematic of the dramatic conceits of Excessive Roman Baroque, and for a number of generations, they set the usual for the ornament of Late Baroque ceiling frescos all through Catholic Europe.

fake dome of Church of St. Ignatius

The “dome” when considered from instantly beneath. Picture: Jean-Christophe BENOIST/Wikimedia Commons

Pozzo pulled the trick once more in Vienna, a couple of years later, when he was commissioned to color the ceilings of the Jesuit Church. There too, he painted a faux dome together with different illusionistic results which makes the ceiling appears to open up right into a heavenly realm stuffed with Olympian gods.

Church of St. Ignatius

The interiors and architectural particulars of the Church of St. Ignatius. Picture: Isogood_patrick /

Church of St. Ignatius

The interiors and architectural particulars of the Church of St. Ignatius. Picture: Isogood_patrick /

Church of St. Ignatius

Frescos on the apse depicting the life and apotheosis of St Ignatius, by Andrea Pozzo. Picture: Anna Pakutina/

Church of St. Ignatius

The Apotheosis of S. Ignatius. The masterpiece of Andrea Pozzo on the ceiling of the nave of the Church of St. Ignatius. Picture: Lawrence OP/Flickr

Jesuit Church Vienna

The trompe-l’œil  ceiling of the Jesuit Church Vienna with its faux dome. Picture: Alberto Fernandez Fernandez/Wikimedia Commons

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