Santa Maria della Pace, Rome

Santa Maria della Pace, Rome
Santa Maria della Pace, Rome

During the baroque, classicist models gave way to the realistic theatricality of pictorial compositions based on color and light contrasts, in sculpture, for its part, the impossible twists and exaggerated attitude of those represented invaded the pathos Renaissance but without a doubt, it was in the architectural field where the most significant advances were made and not only due to the incorporation of new construction elements but rather, for making the city one more member of the new constructions. During the Baroque period, artists had no impediments to invade the urban space with their creations and what is even more, to modify everything they considered opportune.

The work analyzed here today is one of those examples in which the structure of the city was altered due to the spatial needs of a temple,the Church of Santa Maria della Pace or Saint Mary of Peace in Rome. The construction is located in the vicinity of the well-known Piazza Navona, a place that has always had a great confluence. The building that we can see today does not correspond to an original construction, but is built on the foundations of an old church dedicated to Sant'Andrea de Aquarizariis and commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV, which later became the Virgin Mary.


In the mid-seventeenth century the popeAlejandro VII commissioned the architect Pietro Cardona to remodel the building which had become too small to accommodate the large number of faithful who attended there. Cardona proposed a reform that was more decorative in the interior than structural, however, what is really interesting is the composition of the façade that the artist designed as a concave wall that entered the streets of Rome already too narrow for the carriage traffic in the area. The solution was to modify the streets to give them greater width and configure a square in front of the temple where the pronaos designed by Carona was the central point of it.

The architect used an order composed of columns on the facade that refers us to the solution that Bramante used in San Pietro in Montorio -artist who, by the way, designed the cloister of Santa María della Pace- and achieved a very interesting play of light with a chiaroscuro that reminds us of the best constructions by Bernini or Borromini.

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