Church of the Gesu

The Church of the Gesu is the representative of the transition from Mannerism to the Baroque style that was designed by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola and Giacomo della Porta who are Italian famous architect and Architectural theorist in the late period of Renaissance. The Church of the Gesu is also known as the first truly Baroque architecture. (Mannerism is a kind of artistic styles in late 16th century Europe.)


“The church of the Holy Name of Jesus (II Gesu) was designed on the request of Pope Famese for the new order of the Jesuits. (Daniel et al., 2008 p228)”

Construction on the church began in 1568 and was completed in 1580 in Roma. The plane of the church is rectangular. At the end of the building structure, a holy shrine highlights the church, which evolved from Gothic churches’ Latin cross. The main nave is spacious and vault covered with sculptures and paintings. Two rows of small prayer rooms are instead of the two side aisles. The altar was decorated richly and the flowers above the altar used the classical French style as icons and decorative light.


Porta designed the façade and the first high altar. Unfortunately, the first high alter had been removed during the renovations in the 19th century. While Porta referenced architectural methods of Florence Santa Maria chapel that was designed by early Renaissance architect Alberti, he no longer emphasized the orderly arrangement. The façade is divided into two sections. The lower part is divided by six pairs of pilasters and the upper part is divided by four pairs of pilasters. Both sides of the upper sections have two large scrolls.

Those architectural design methods make the light and shadow more complex. The building becomes easy to distinguish. Those characteristics have been widely following lately.



Works Cited

Daniel et al. (2008). Architecture A World History. New York: Abrams, Inc.


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