Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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Another stunning building bishop William O’Higgins must of seen & admired is Sant’Andrea della Valle.

Sant’Andrea della Valle is a basilica church in Rome, in the rione of Sant’Eustachio. It was initially planned when Donna Costanza Piccolomini d’Aragona, duchess of Amalfi and descendant of the family of Pope Pius II, bequeathed her palace and the adjacent church of San Sebastiano in central Rome to the Theatine order for construction of a new church. Since Amalfi’s patron was Saint Andrew, the church was planned in his honor. Work initially started around 1590 under the designs of Giacomo della Porta and Pier Paolo Olivieri, and under the patronage of Cardinal Gesualdo. With the prior patron’s death, direction of the church passed to Cardinal Alessandro Peretti di Montalto, nephew of Sixtus V. By 1608, and banked by the then enormous endowment of over 150 thousand gold scudi, work restarted anew with a more grandiose plans mainly by Carlo Maderno.


The interior structure of the church was finally completed by 1650, with additional touches added by Francesco Grimaldi. The fresco decoration of Sant’Andrea’s dome was one of the largest commissions of its day. The work was disputed by two Carracci pupils, Giovanni Lanfranco and Domenichino. In 1608, Lanfranco had been chosen by Cardinal Alessandro, but the Ludovisi papacy of Pope Gregory XV favored the Bolognese Domenichino. In the end, both artists were employed, although Lanfranco’s lavish dome decoration (completed 1627) set the model for such decorations for the following decades. The Lancellotti Chapel, the first on the right was designed by Carlo Fontana in 1670, while the sculptural marble relief depicting Angel Urges Sacred Family to Flee to Egypt (1675) is work of Antonio Raggi. The second Strozzi Chapel has a Pietà, Leah and Rachele (1616) copies in bronze by Gregorio De Rossi from originals by Michelangelo. In the right transept is the Chapel of S.Andrea Avellino with Death of a Saint (1625) by Giovanni Lanfranco who also frescoed the impressive Glory of Paradise [1625-28] in the cupola, with figures by the evangelists in the spandrels (1621-8) by his rival, Domenichino.

The Nave

The presbytery decoration is by Alessandro Algardi. In the apse half-dome the History of Sant’Andrea and Virtues are frescoed by Domenichino. In the apse walls are a Crucifixion, Martyrdom and burial of Sant’Andrea by Mattia Preti (1650-1651). In the left transept, the Chapel of S.Gaetano Thiene has statues of Abundance and Wisdom by Giulio Tadolini. Over the entrance to the left circular chapel is the tomb of Pius II (1475) finished by a follower of the Andrea Bregno. In the third chapel on the left “S.Sebastiano” (1614) by Giovanni De Vecchi, while the second chapel houses the tomb Giovanni Della Casa, author of Il Galateo. In the first chapel is an Assumption and a Lucia collects the body of S. Sebastiano by Passignano. In the niches to right is a statue of Santa Marta (1629) by Francesco Mochi and San Giovanni Evangelista by Ambrogio Buonvicino. The Baroque facade was added between 1655 and 1663 by Carlo Rainaldi, at the expense of Cardinal Francesco Peretti di Montalto, nephew of Alessandro.

Details of the ceiling

In the church are present the cenotaphs of popes Pius II and Pius III, whose corpses are buried somewhere in the church. In 1650, Mattia Preti painted three frescoes regarding the martyrdom of Andrew with his Crucifixion in the center[3] in the apse, as commissioned by Donna Olimpia, sister in law of Pope Innocent X. The church contains a Saint John the Baptist by Pietro Bernini (Gianlorenzo Bernini’s father). Plan of the basilica.The first act of the opera Tosca by Puccini is set in Sant’Andrea della Valle. However, the Cappella Attavanti used was a poetic invention. The Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Andreae Apostoli de Valle is Giovanni Canestri. Sant’Andrea della Valle later became a model for the construction of other churches like the St.Kajetan church in Munich. On the square in front of the church stands now the fountain of Carlo Maderno, placed until 1937 at the center of the destroyed Piazza Scossacavalli in Borgo.

The ceiling, frescoed by Domenichino

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