The campanile (bell tower) of the church of Santa Maria dell' Anima, with its poly-chromatic spire, is one of the most striking in Rome. It is crowned with a double-headed eagle, the symbol of the Holy Roman Emperor.
Santa Maria dell' Anima (St Mary of the Soul), which is the national church of the Germans, was consecrated in 1543. It is the only example in Rome of a Hallenkirche, a style of church in which the aisles are the same height as the nave. The sculpture of the Madonna Between Two Souls in Purgatory, above the main door, is a copy of work attributed to Andrea Sansovino (the original is kept in the sacristy).
The church is the final resting place of Adrian VI (r. 1522-23), a Dutchman from Utrecht, who was the last non-Italian pope until the election, almost 500 years later, of John Paul II (r. 1978-2005).
The monument was designed by Baldassare Peruzzi, with sculptures by Michelangelo Senese and Niccolò Tribolo. An inscription laments: 'PROH DOLOR QVANTVM REFERET IN QVAE TEMPORA VEL OPTIMI CVIVSQVE VIRTVS INCIDAT' ('Alas, how important, even for the best of men, are the times in which he finds himself').
Adrian VI, and the even shorter-reigning Marcellus II (r. April 9th-May 1st, 1555), are the only popes of the modern era to have retained their baptismal names after their election.
The painting of the Holy Family with Saints (1524), over the high altar, is by Giulio Romano (c.1499-1546), a pupil of Raphael.
In the first two chapels on either side of the church are two fine paintings by Carlo Saraceni (1579-1620), a Venetian artist who worked most of his life in Rome.
The sculpture of the Pieta, in the fourth chapel on the right, is by Lorenzo Lotti (1490-1551), also known as Lorenzetto, and is clearly based on Michelangelo's famous work in St Peter's Basilica.
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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