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 Essential Architecture-  ROME

Sant'Andrea al Quirinale


Gian Lorenzo Bernini


Rome, Italy


1658 to 1665


Italian Baroque


masonry, cut stone, elliptical plan, coffered dome


  Fašade of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, bearing cardinal Pamphili crest.

Sant'Andrea al Quirinale is the church of the Jesuit seminary on the Quirinal Hill in Rome.

It was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and De Rossi over a period of twenty years, from 1658 to 1678. The site was precedently occupied by a 16th century church. the new building was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII and Camillo Pamphilj. It is considered one of the finest examples of Roman Baroque architecture, and Bernini considered it his only perfect work. In his late years he spent many hours sitting in the interior and looking at the marbles, stuccoes and light plays.

Oval in shape, with the entrance and high altar on the short axis of the ellipse, it has a semicircular porch decorated by the arms of Camillo Pamphilj, who had donated the funds for its construction. The stucco decoration was designed by Bernini and executed by Antonio Raggi and others between 1661 and 1666, with puttoes and cherubims under the windows. The main artwork is the Martyrdom of St. Andrew by Borgognone, on the high altar. The chapels houses three canvas by Baciccio.

Carlo Emanuele IV, King of Sardinia and Piedmont is buried in one of the side chapels. St. Stanislaus Kostka is also enshrined here. Currently, Adam Cardinal Kozłowiecki holds the title of Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Andreae in Quirinali.

Sant'Andrea al Quirinale
A Jewel of Baroque Art
by Paul Gwynne

Exterior of the Church
Interior of the Church
The Side Chapels (entering on the right)
The Sacristy
The Chapel of Saint Stanislas 

Exterior of the Church
A new church for the Jesuit seminary on the Quirinal was begun in 1658 with funds 
provided by Cardinal Camillo Pamphilj. The project was concieved and designed by 
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) who, together with his pupil De Rossi (1637-1695), 
supervised the construction of the church. It took twenty years to build (1658-1678). 
Almost immediately there were problems. The small site chosen for the new church restricted
the design. Bernini resolved the problem, as his rival Borromini had done further along 
the rnad at San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, by designing an oval church. Unlike San Carlino,
however, the main entrance and high altar would be placed on the short axis of the ellipse.
The oval provides the key to the whole design. A semicircular porch, supported by 
Ionic columns, projects from the high, narrow facade, topped by a pediment and 
supported by two pairs of monumental Corinthian pilasters. The porch is dominated 
by the Pamphilj coat-of-arms sculpted in travertine by two members of Bernini's workshop,
Lorenzo Dini and Domenico Basadone, "according to the taste and the satisfaction of the
Chevalier Bernini". 
The latter, under the direction of his master, designed the chapels, the floor of the church and sacristy. 
Neither Bernini nor the Rossi wanted payment in money for their work:
they desired gifts in kind and to receive the bread of the Jesuit
novitiate, annexed to the church. 

Interior of the church
The oval interior, with an entrance and high altar on the minor
axis, means that once inside the church the visitor is almost immediately 
confronted by the high altar, flanked by two pairs of fluted Corinthian columns 
in red marble. Behind lurks a masterpiece by Guglielmo Cortese (or Guillaume 
Courtois, known as "Borgognone delle Battaglie" representing the Martyrdom of 
the Apostle Andrew to whom the church is dedicated (1668). The painted ensemble
appears floating above the altar supported by rays of artificial golden light 
down which slide a troop of angels, as if delivering the picture from some 
celestial workshop. Above the recess of the high altar we meet the Apostle 
again. As if the saint has left the altar to travel towards the dome and his 
own apotheosis he is found kneeling on a cloud, which snuggles into the curving, 
broken pediment. With upstretched hands he looks towards the light which floods
in through the lantern high up in the airy dome. The statue is not by Bernini 
but carved after his designs by his pupil Antonio Raggi (1624-1686). 
The dome is given the impression of extra height by the richly gilt coffering 
which diminishes in size towards the lantern. Around the interior above the 
windows goups of exuberant putti play in the swags of fruit and flowers which 
swing between the ribs supporting the dome. Within the lantern itself, illuminated
with yellow stained-glass so that the church always seems bright, even on the 
dullest day, flies the dove of the Holy Spirit. This is also conveniently the
badge of the Pamphilj family, whose coat-of-arms is repeated inside the church
over the main door. Nearly all the marble work is by Baratta, with the exception 
of the floor decorated with the coats-of-arms of the Pallavicino, Spinola and Melzi
families. This was designed by De Rossi. 

The Side Chapels 
(anticlockwise from the entrance)
Plan of the Interior 
Saint Francis Xavier
The altarpiece and side paintings show the Jesuit saint preaching; 
administering baptism; and his death in 1552. These are the work of Gaulli, 
better known as "il Baciccia" (1706). 

The "Pieta" 
The altarpiece depicting the Deposition from the Cross and the side paintings 
(Christ at the Column; and Saint Veronica are the work of Giacinto Brandi (1682). 

The Cross 
To the side is the marble monument and tomb of Carlo Emanuele IV, 
King of Sardinia and Piedmont. He abdicated from the throne in 1802 
and in 1815 entered the Jesuit novitiate, annexed to the church. 
He died here in 1819. 

Saint Stanislas Kostka
The altarpiece is by Carlo Maratta (1687) and the side paintings are by Mazzanti. 
These show episodes from the life of the Polish saint. His body is preserved in 
the lapis lazuli urn under the altar (1706). 

Saint Ignatius Loyola 
The altarpiece shows three Jesuit saints: Ignatius, Francis Borgia and Luigi Gonzaga. 
The side paintings depicting the Adoration of the Shepherds and of the Magi are 
by Ludovico Antonio di Lugano. 

The Sacristy 
(entered to the right of the main altar)
One of the most interesting parts of the church, so ask to see it if it is locked. 
The elaborate and ornate ceiling 
was painted by Giovanni De La Borde (1670). 
It shows Saint Andrew in Glory, surrounded by angels and 
accompanied by Jesuit saints. A sketch for the paintings and
the overall design was examined and approved by Bernini. 
Along the walls are great cupboards carved in walnut, surmounted 
by littles balustrades. On the back wall a painting of the Assumption
of the Virgin Mary, attributed to the Jesuit painter Fra'Andrea Pozzo 
(1642-1709), can be admired. 

The Chapel of Saint Stanislas
Upstairs on the first floor of the pretty church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale,
designed and built by the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini between 1658-78, are a 
complex of three rooms dedicated to the young Polish saint Stanislas Kostka 
(1550-1568), whose feast days falls 11 April. These rooms, where a little 
museum deicated to the memory of the Saint has been assembled, can be found 
via a staircase to the right of the high altar (ask the sacristan to open 
them if they are locked, he is usually very obliging provided that the church 
is not being prepared for a wedding). Although the present suite of rooms was 
constructed later, it was in this place where the Saint lived for some months 
as a Jesuit novice and where he died on 15 August 1568. 
On the walls of the first room there are 12 large sketches by the Jesuit artist 
Fra'Andrea Pozzo. These show episodes from the Saint's brief life, from his 
birth at Rostkow near Warsaw to his arrival in Rome in 1567. 
Both the floor, covered with majolica tiles, and the roof of the second room 
date from the period of the Saint's brief sojourn in Rome. Note the photocopy 
of a letter sent from Saint Peter Canisius to Saint Francis Borgia on 
25 September 1567. This letter is known as the letter "of the three Saints", 
as in it Canisius refers to three young novices whom he is sending from Vienna 
to Rome. One of these was Saint Stanislas Kostka, about whom he wrote, he is 
"an excellent young man, of whom we have the greatest hopes, but we have not yet 
received him as a novice because his family was completely against it". 
A marble plaque (with a poem in Polish commemorating the death of the Saint 
by Camilo Norwid) recalls the visit of Cardinal Wyszynski and the Polish bishops
during the Second Vatican Council in 1960.
The third room, in which the saint died, probably of malaria on the eve of the 
feast of the Assumption in 1568, has been converted into a chapel. In the centre 
is an unusual statue in polychrome marbles, sculpted by Legros (1666-1719) 
showing the death of the Saint. The Saint's head, hands and feet, as well as the 
cushion beneath his head, have been carved in white Corinthian marble. 
The Saint's vestments are of black granite, while the mattress on which he lays 
is yellow alabaster. At the head of the bed is a painting by Tommaso Minardi 
(1787-1871) showing Our Lady surrounded by angels and the virgin martyr Saints 
Cecilia, Agnes and Dorothy welcoming the Saint into Heaven. This together with 
the sculptural group forms a single monumental unit. The altar on the right, 
dedicaded to Saint Stanislas, is decorated with gifts from various novices in 
honour of the Saint, who is the patron saint and protector of novices. 
On the left there is a fine copy of thd Virgin and Child, known as the "Salus 
Populi Romani" from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This is one of three 
copies commissioned by Francis Borgia (1572), and one to which, legend has it, 
that Saint Stanislas was particularly attached. 

The first hall
On the walls can be seen a selection of sketches by the Jesuit artist Fra'Andrea Pozzo,
showing episodes from the Saint's brief life. 

The second hall
Both the floor, covered with majolica tiles, and the roof date from the
time of the Saint. Note the photocopy of a letter sent from Saint Peter
Canisius to Saint Francis Borgia in 1567. This letter is known as the 
letter "of the three Saints", as in it Canisius refers to three young novices
whom he is sending from Vienna to Rome. One of these was Saint Stanislas Kostka,
about whom he wrote: "an excellent young man, with the great hopes, but we have 
not yet received him as a novice because his family was completely against it". A
marble plaque with a Polish poem (commemorating the death of the Saint) recalls 
the visit of Cardinal Wyszynski and the Polish bishops during the Second Vatican 

The third hall
In the centre of the room is a beautiful statue in polychrome
marbles, sculpted by Legros (1666-1719) showing the death of the Saint. 
In the background is a picture by Minardi (1787-1871) showing Our Lady 
surrounded by angels and virgin saints and martyrs receiving the Saint 
into Heaven. The altar on the right, dedicaded to Saint Stanislas, is 
decorated with gifts from various novices to honour the Saint, as patron 
saint and protector of novices. The altar on the left has as an
altarpiecd a beautiful copy of the "Borghesiana Virgin", commissioned by 
Francis Borgia (1572). 

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