Monday, January 21, 2013

Meraviglie di Roma durante il Barocco

Buon giorno! Today, I’m going to show you two of the most wonderful Baroque examples of architecture in Rome. From my point of view, you will like learning more things about this two Italian masterpieces. Enjoy it!


Historical and artistic context:

Date of construction: 1634-1641
Consecrated as Catholic Church: 1646
Style: 17th century Italian Baroque Art.
Artist: Francesco Castelli (known as Francesco Borromini)

Material and technique: The façade of the church is made of bricks covered by a surface of white stucco. It's also got an urban design and a small size which is perfectly combined with the buildings which are next to it. Borromini makes the building dynamic and the walls seem they are in constant movement.

Location: Via del Quirinale, 30. Rome, Italy.

Iconographic analysis:

Name: San Carlo alle Quattre Fontane (also called San Carlino due to its tiny size)
Translation: Saint Charles at the Four Fountains.

Type of building and function: San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane is a Roman Catholic church designed by the Swiss-Italian architect Borromini. Its construction was commissioned by the Spanish Trinitarian Order in Rome, who wanted to have their monastery next to the church. It became a challenge to Borromini create these two structures because of the small amount of space he had to make the church and the monastery together. Nowadays, the monastery has disappeared and the structure is one of the most visited places in Rome.

Baroque characteristics: The façade has got a lot of movement and an inscription in Latin because of its religious part. It express elegance and lots of feelings are revealed when you see the interior part of the church. It's composed by curve shapes, avoiding straight lines. It's also got Corinthian columns that make a small structure a colossal one.

Why it is famous: It is world-known because people get surprised when see its façade and  due to its location and tiny size.

Formal analysis: 

Composition, space and decoration: It's composed by a church and the former monastery. Borromini designed an outstanding dome integrated in a complicated floor plan. There are two altars with an axis position and the author created many secret passages to protect the monks from a fire and to go across the three floors of the structures easily. The building is decorated with images of Catholic Saints and flower and geometrical decorative elements. 

Size of the church: The floor plan is about 720 square meters (The Basilica of St Peter is over 15,200 square meters). The dome is 25.80 meters high and, although it's not very tall, this masterpiece can be observed from three blocks of buildings far.

Meaning: Although it was Borromini's last construction it became his most known creation. It represents Roman Baroque Art perfectly and it was the most famous building of the Spanish Trinitarians. 
From my point of view, the author wanted to express their dark feelings in an everlasting piece of art and it is an example of how an untidy place of emotions can be as beautiful as it is nowadays.


Historical and artistic context:

Date of construction: 1648-1651
Style: 17th century Italian Baroque Art.
Artist: Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Material and technique: The base in which plants and animals are shown is made by Roman Travertine and the sculptures are made of marble. Human figures were sculptured in workshops and later they were combined with the other parts of the fountain. It was designed as an outstanding work of art which had to become the central focus of Navona Square.

Location: Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy.
During Roman Time the Stadium of Domitian was located there.

Iconographic analysis: 

Name: Fontana dei Quattro Fuimi.
Translation: Fountain of the Four Rivers. It receives its name because it represents 4 rivers, one river for each of the four continens Europeans knew in that period of time:

Nile: Africa.
Danube: Europe.
Ganges: Asia.
River Plate: America.

Type of building and function: Fontana dei Quattro Fuimi is a fountain located in central Rome built to rise up the importance of Navona Square because their near squares already had fountains and other kinds of structures in its interior. In the centre of the fountain there's an Egyptian obelisk built during Roman Time. Its construction was commissioned by the inhabitants of the square and the Pope Innocenzo X. The first offer as architect of the structure was given to Borromini but finally, Bernini became the actual architect.


Baroque characteristics: The sculptures show a lot of feelings, they loved nature and used animals and plants figures as a decoration. They expressed the colossal and international part of the fountain involving the four continents they knew, the entire world. There are not straight lines and the curve ones produce dynamism and make the statues as they were real.

Why it is famous: It is so important because this creation was sculpted during Bernini's best professional period of time and due to the fact that before its construction and the transportation  of the obelisk, the Square hadn't got the importance it currently has.
It is also world-known because during Roman Time, a Roman circus was located there.

Formal analysis:

Size of the Square: The Square is huge because, as I have already said, during Ancient Time there was a Roman Circus. A main street of Rome crosses it and connect the squares that are next to Piazza Navona

Composition, space and decoration: The whole work of art is composed by four main parts (as I mentioned before, 4 rivers for each continent) representing four Gods. Around the main parts, you can find the place in where the water falls and lots of small structures of plants and animals. In the middle of the structure, there's an obelisk that can be seen from their neighbour squares.

Meaning: People living around the square know the importance of the fountain because this touristic attraction make the whole place of one the most visited and photographed streets in Rome. It gave to Bernini his world fame because, although he has better works of art, they didn't become as famous as it so early. It's a good example of Baroque architecture because emotions are shown and from my point of view, four realities are mixed; the whole world is combined

So, this is all. I hope you have enjoyed my post because I have worked hardly in the process of investigating the information and writing the text. There are some links in which I have used the red color to highlight it and you will find easy to find them because they are underlined too. If you have any doubts, you find any mistake or you can write more information about the two structures, post a comment and I will answer you as quickly as I read them. 

Thanks for reading my post!!


  1. Absolutely amazing! Great job, Antonio! You really worked hard!!

  2. i didn't know nothing of this two monument because is in Italy don't know much of it but now that i know ithing that you have reazon : are a magnific examples of Barroc.Finaly as you have said about new information ,is imposible because i thing that you had write all

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.