Saturday, May 19, 2012

Before Bernini: St. Cecilia of Stefano Maderno

St. Cecilia by Stefano Maderno
photo by Giorgio

In the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, on the other side of the more crowded side of Viale Trastevere, there is one sculpture among all those produced in Rome at the beginning of the XVII century, which indicates the direction in which art would go, St. Cecilia. Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondato commissioned the work to Stefano Maderno, after the tomb of the saint was opened in 1599.

Maderno, originally from Ticino, executed the sculpture for the Holy Year of 1600. The artist aims straight at the beholder's emotions in a way that Bernini and Caravaggio were to perfect. In fact, the realism of the sculpture works as an emotional appeal to the piety of the believer and is an impressive visualization of one of the central aspects of the Catholic Reformation, the cult of early Christian saints.

St. Cecilia represents something of innovative, a departure point for all those artists such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who created works which today will still enjoy in churches and public spaces around Rome.

A presto!

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