The Art of Anamorphosis
For the last decade of his life St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, lived in a house next to the Chiesa del Gesu. There he died on July 31st, 1554.
Following a disastrous flood in 1598, the house had to be rebuilt, but the rooms in which Loyola had lived, worked and prayed were preserved for posterity.
Almost a century later the short corridor leading to the rooms was painted by Fra Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709) with an extraordinary set of frescoes (1681-86). Pozzo uses a technique known as anamorphosis, where an image is distorted in such a way that it becomes recognisable only when seen from a specified viewing point.
Pozzo's masterpiece is his fresco on the ceiling of the church of Sant' Ignazio, which lies only a short distance from the Chiesa del Gesu.
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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 walking tours of Rome.
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