The Baroque painter Il Domenichino, whose original name was Domenico Zampieri (1581 – 1641), began to work on wall paintings of the church of San Andrea della Valle in 1622, shortly after its construction was completed by the great Baroque architect, Carlo Maderno.
Apse of Il Domenichino in San Andrea della Valle
When he received the commission, he was expected to paint both the apse and the pendentives of the temple, as well as the dome. However, the dome was finally commissioned a few years later to Giovanni Lanfranco, since it was considered that Il Domenichino's style was beginning to be out of fashion for being too restful and the Church, as an institution, I was beginning to look for something more spectacular and expressive.
However, the set of frescoes that this artist painted in the Roman church of San Andrea della Valle are of undoubted value.
In the area of the apse represents the scene of the Martyrdom of Saint Andrew, and for this he uses the “quadro riportato” technique, that is, creating frames for the different scenes based on stucco, bronze and gold. And besides, those paintings taken to the ceiling, as if they were on easels, are painted from the point of view of the painter, not the spectator.
On the other hand, the representations are very typical of baroque art moredynamic. A detail in this sense is that very wide spaces appear, in which the scenes are built based on crosses, diagonals and open lines.
Il Domenichino was a painter of great quality, in fact, when he arrived in Roma, 20 years before this work, his first commission was for nothing more and nothing less that Anibale Carracci to work with a work in the Farnese Palace.
Thanks to his mastery with the brushes we can see a dynamic but balanced composition, where light colors predominate and in which if we look at the characters we will see that they are presented to us with very real expressions. And all this perfectly integrated into a majestic architectural setting.
All that regarding the paintings of the apse, and regarding the pendentives, presents us there to the Four Evangelists. Also in a very baroque and moving representation, since all of them seem to want to get out of the architectural framework itself, entering the space of the church itself and of the spectator.
Pechina of Il Domenichino in San Andrea della Valle
Here he does take into account the point of view of those attending the church, and for this reason, even from another hand, there seems to be a continuity between the perspective used in the pendentives and the resource of “di sotto in sú” that a few years later used Giovanni Lanfranco to paint the dome with the Assumption of the Virgin.