Monday, March 08, 2010

Basilica Santa Maria sopra Minerva

Right next to the Pantheon was this incredible statue of an elephant. 

In researching it for this post, I found out that the elephant was sculpted by Bernini in 1667.  He is a very well known sculptor,  known for his The Ecstasy of St. Teresa di Avila.  The Egyptian Obelisk on the elephants back was found in the ruins of a temple dedicated to Isis.  So it's a little bit of old and older!  It's also supposed to represent "strength supports wisdom."

As I was shooting photos of this very cool sculpture from every angle... of my travelmates, Mari said, "Do you want to see what's in here?"

Oh goodness!  I hadn't even noticed that building. 

We only had about 10 minutes before we were supposed to meet up with the rest of the group, so we quickly went in and looked around at the first few yards inside the church. 

I snapped a photo of the map of the church, knowing that I was missing a lot of interesting things in there, but sometimes there just isn't enough time to see everything.

I took several photos of this scene.  I think it's just gorgeous.  The candles, the people in prayer, the beads reflecting the sunlight, and Mary holding Jesus.

This was as close as I got to the altar of the church.  It's still a spectacular view.  I found out that this is the only Gothic Church in Rome. 

It's actually not 100% Gothic as the columns all have Corinthian caps.  Think of it as Gothic with a classic twist.

The nave (the central isle) ceiling is decorated in brilliant blue with figures in the depressions between the ribs, but the side isles are just as incredible.  The lack of full decoration in the depressions allows the eye to rest and see the detail of the painting on the ribbing.

The beautiful paintings illuminated by the sunlight streaming through the flower shaped stained glass is just incredible.

But the most incredible view was this one.  It's Mari standing in front of one of the sacred spaces with the light from the stained glass windows illuminating her and the iron gate.  It was such an intimate moment that I didn't want to take the photo, but it was so incredible I had to. 

I think I've showed this photo before, but I had to include it again when talking about the Bascilica Santa Maria sopa Minerva.

The temple to Minerva is thought to have been built around 50 BC and lasted until the 700's.  The ruins of Minerva and the temple to Isis were said to be near this spot.  The current church was started around 1280 and completed in 1370 and was named Basilica of St. Mary over Minerva and has the elephant out front holding the obelisk from the Isis Temple. 

It's so interesting how history is saved even though so much of it has vanished.

Thanks for joining me in the tour!


Mrs4444 said...

Absolutely stunning! I enjoyed this. Thanks. Glad you're enjoying yourself.

Condo Blues said...

The blue in the ceiling is just stunning!

Sheri said...

I love this! All of them are so cool with such personality. Thanks for sharing. And I thought the ceiling at the Lansing Capital building was nice!

Just Breathe said...

Thank you for the history on the statue. Interesting, I like the "strength supports wisdom."
The photo with the stain glass colors is beautiful.

Loria said...

K, i'm not sure what you mean by Gothic church - would that be the form are architecture .. also, why the iron gates - what were they around? just curious .. email me