Santa Maria Maddalena
The Santa Maria Maddalena is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, named after Saint Mary Magdalene. It is located on the Via della Maddalena, one of the streets leading from the Piazza del Pantheon in the Campo Marzio area of historic Rome.
The Order of Saint Camillus de Lellis had a church at that location in Rome since 1586 and in the 17th century started the construction of the current church, which was completed in 1699 in the Baroque style.
In seventy years of work several architects were involved including Carlo Quadri, Carlo Fontana (who is thought to have designed the dome) and Giovanni Antonio de Rossi. It is uncertain who designed the curved main facade, which was finished circa 1735 and is Rococo, an unusual style in Roman church facades. It also displays motifs reminiscent of Borromini. Early guide books credit Giuseppe Sardi with the its design. Between 1732 and 1734, however, as architect of the congregation of the Ministri degli Infirmi, the Portuguese architect Manuel Rodriguez Dos Santos directed the completion of works at the church. The historian Alessandra Marino believes that it is to Dos Santos, rather than Giuseppe Sardi, that the design for the highly unusual façade decoration should be attributed. The architectural historian Nina Mallory has also maintained that Sardi is unlikely to be the designer of the façade.
The interior is architecturally complex, it has a Borrominesque elongated octagonal nave, with two chapels at each flank. To the right is the main chapel dedicated and holding the relics of Saint Camillus. In this Chapel the vault was frescoed (1744) by Sebastiano Conca. The church also has a Christ, Virgin, and St. Nicolas of Bari by Baciccia and a San Lorenzo Giustiniani with Infant Jesus by Luca Giordano. The rococo sacristy is elaborately painted, stuccoed, and decorated with polychrome marble.
- If this is so, Dos Santos' earlier training as a cabinet maker would have been critical, as the decoration added to the pre-existing superstructure is commonly encountered in Italian cabinet work of the period, including the cantorie of contemporary churches including S. Maria della Quercia and S. Maria Maddalena itself. Alessandra Marino, 'La decorazione settecentesca della facciata di S. Maria Maddalena: un'occasione per alcune precisazioni sul rococò romano', Quaderni dell'istituto di storia dell'architettura, 15 – 20, 1990 – 2, pp. 789 – 98.
- Mallory, N. A. Rococo Architecture from Clement XI to Benedict XIV, New York & London, 1977
- Blunt, Anthony. Guide to Baroque Rome, Granada, 1982, p.89
- George Sullivan, 2006, Not Built in a Day: Exploring the Architecture of Rome, Carroll & Graf, ISBN 0-7867-1749-1
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