The Baroque church of Santa Maria della Vittoria was designed by Carlo Maderno (1556-1629) and built between 1608 and 1622.
The church was built for the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, which funded the work until the discovery of an antique sculpture of a hermaphrodite in the excavations.
Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the fabulously wealthy nephew of Pope Paul V (r. 1605-21), appropriated the statue, but in return financed the erection of the façade, the work of Giovanni Battista Soria (1581-1651). Completed in 1626, the facade bears a dedication to the cardinal and sports the heraldic emblems of the Borghese family, namely a dragon and an eagle.
Originally dedicated to St Paul, the church was rededicated to the Virgin Mary following the victory of the Catholic forces at the Battle of White Mountain on November 8th, 1620.
Santa Maria della Vittoria is best known for Gian Lorenzo Bernini's masterpiece, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.
Blogging about Rome:
its art, history and culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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