The Chiesa del Gesù, which was designed by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola (1507-73), is the mother church of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).
Officially named the Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù (Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus), its beautiful facade, the work of Giacomo della Porta (1532-1602), is thought to be the first manifestation of the Baroque style of architecture.
The building of the church was funded by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (1520-89), grandson of Pope Paul III (r. 1534-49), whose name is emblazoned across the facade.
The Chiesa del Gesù was consecrated on November 25th, 1584.
The extravagantly decorated interior takes the form of a nave with lateral chapels. This design provided a huge space for the faithful to attend sermons and it gave particular prominence to the high altar.
The novel idea of inserting a row of coretti (grilled niches from which spectators could watch the services) above the side chapels was frequently reused.
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
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