Church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale

Roma - Via XX Settembre

san andrea al quirinale

The church of the Sant'Andrea al Quirinale was built over the site on an earlier church, also dedicated to the Apostole Andrew, situated in the old Via Pia (now Via XX Settembre)
In 1565 the Compagnia del Gesù was given this little church standing right in front of the Quirinal buildings (at that time the residence of the pope), which from the XII th century had been known as Sant'Andrea de Caballo, as it was near the site of the ancient Baths of Constantine, with its famous Colossi of the Dioscuri Halting their Horses (imperial Roman copies after original Greek statues arranged in 1589 around the fountain in Piazza del Quirinale).
When it became a Jesuit church, the old single-naved building was restored by a Jesuit architect and it was consecrated in 1568. In the meantime, a nwe section was built next to the church for use as novices' quarters.
As the XVI th century church as become dark dilapidated, it was rebuilt in its present form from 1658 on by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, thanks to the patronage of Pope Alessandro VII, who wished to use it as Papal Chapel.

Bernini in those years had been designing the colonnade for St. Peter's cathedral; his assistant for this new church at the Quirinal was Mattia De Rossi who ad already executed many works designed by this great artist from Naples.
Bernini refused to accept any form of payment for work in this church, he designed an eliptical ground plan with altars arranged around the walls set between large niches; the ceiling consisted of a wide oval coffered dome, culminating in high smaller dome, whose inner surface was covered in stuccoes.
The external front has an unusual protruding central section over Ionic columns framing the church entrance, and is crowned with a trianglular gable.


altare sant'andrea al quirinale
The entrance sits in one of the church's shorter sides and the same style is extended into the main altar, built theatrically like a stage design transformed into architecture (in gold plated bronze and lapis lazuli), and shielded by an aedicule composed of four large pink marble columns with ornate Corinthian capitals.
The interiors is filled with abundant decortation, executed during the second half of the XVII century and the first half of the XVIII cen , there are sumptuous hangings, prescious marbles lining the walls and altars, a sophisticated floor in "Bardiglio" with polychrome inserts and elaborate stucco-work and gold finishing, as well as sculptures and paintings all round the altars and sacresty (built and decorated to a design by Bernini himself) and the late-XVII cent wooden furnishings.

san andrea

Assisted by De Rossi, Bernini himself designed decoration to be sculpted and decided where statues should go (the most notable of all is of S. Andrew in the main altair)and these that were then sculpted by other artist and stone-carvers.
Lastly, a number of fine paintings fill the church's altars, above all should be noted an altarpiece in the first chapel to the right showning the "death of St Francesco Saverio" by G. B. Gaulli, and the alterpiece inthe last chapel to the left depicting Saints Ignazio, Francesco Saverio and Luigi Gonzaga (the three founder saints of the Compagnia del Gesù) with Francesco Borgia, by Ludovico Mazzanti.

photogallery

photogallery Sant'Andrea al Quirinale

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Churches of Rome