Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Caravaggio and St. Matthew and the angel

St Matthew and the angel,
version "accepted"
This painting from Caravaggio is in the church of St. Louis of the French. Initially Caravaggio realised a version of St. Matthew (the one here in the photo in black and white - destroyed during WWII) which was considered outrageous by the customers: the saint was represented like a peasant who barely knew how to write and who was guided by the angel in writing his own gospel. He was without halo and crossed his legs showing his bare feet in the foreground. In the second painting Matthew has the halo, he holds firmly the pen in his hand and looks less rough: in a word he is more presentable. At the end this latter version was chosen: a small case of artistic censorship.

St Matthew and the angel
version "refused", destroyed during
world war II

Monday, 3 August 2009

The "fake dome" of Sant'Ignazio

Inside the church of Sant'Ignazio di Loyola, not far from Via del Corso, there is an incredible "fake dome" created by Andrea Pozzo in 1685. Why this dome is fake? Because it is a canvas of 17 meters of diameter on which Pozzo painted the extraordinary illusionistic effect of a dome which...isn't there! On the pavement there is a marble dish which indicates the exact point of observation of this perspective effect. It seems that a real dome has never been realised because when the works of the church were ongoing the funds for the dome weren't sufficient to complete it.