Friday, February 21, 2014

Glimpses of 18th century Rome

Pier Leone Ghezzi 1674-1755
The Lateran Council of 1725
Oil on canvas
243.5 x 311.1 cm
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh NC

Carlo Marchionni 1702 –  1786
Sarcophagus relief depicting The Pope presiding over the Lateran Council 1725
From the Tomb of Pope Benedict XIII
White Marble
S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome

1726 was a Jubilee Year and Benedict XIII, a Dominican, had just been elected Pontiff. 

He convoked a provincial Council at the Lateran, the Lateran Council of 1725 which is what Ghezzi  illustrates above

It opened on April 15 and ended on 29 May 1725

It had a very heavy agenda.

There were seven sessions

To it were invited all bishops within the Diocese of Rome as well as all abbots and others from further afield

The Council reiterated and made clear the binding force of Unigenitus. The Council called for  the suppression of Jansenism and the solemn confirmation of the Bull "Unigenitus", which was declared a rule of faith demanding the fullest obedience.

The main items of reform concerned reform of the clergy.

Clergy had to wear "the uniform of the clergy" and reside within the jurisdiction where his office lay. No absenteeism was allowed

Lay dress was forbidden

There were new provisions for sermons and the distribution  of benefits

For the life of Pope Benedict XIII, now Servant of God, and the Council of 1725 see Pastor`s History of the Popes Volume 34

In the following works we see some of the activities and dress of the clergy at this time, which as Gregory XVI once said was an age of urgent need of reform

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
The Singing Monks (Matins)
c. 1715-1730
Oil on canvas
23" x 18”
Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, Wisconsin

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Cardinal Granacci
Brown ink on off-white antique laid paper
27.4 x 18.9 cm 
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Mass

Although the Harvard Art Museums identify the portrait as Cardinal Granacci, the standard list of cardinals does not list such a cardinal of that name

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Fra Martini Conducting the Choir in Sant' Apostoli
Brown ink over black chalk on off-white antique laid paper
44.5 x 33.8 cm
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Mass

This may be a drawing of the famous Italian musician and composer Giovanni Battista Martini, O.F.M. Conv. (1706 -1784), friend of Gluck and one of the teachers of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

A Franciscan Capuchin, he spent his whole life in Bologna where he would have known the Archbishop, Lambertini, later Pope Benedict XIV

However it is recorded that he did make several trips to Rome. In 1747, he attended a General Chapter of the Order. 

In 1753, he travelled to  the Basilica of the Holy Apostles in Rome to celebrate the solemn liturgy  on the feast of Saints Philip and James (1 May), and the Triduum in honor of Joseph of Cupertino (6-8 May). In that year the Bolognese  Pope Benedict XIV offered him the post as successor to Jommelli in the Sistine Chapel. He declined the offer due to health reasons. (Jommelli or Jomella is shown depicted below)

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Caricature of Antonio Schinella Conti (1677-1749), also called l'abbé Conti of the French Mission in Rome 
Pen and brown ink 
4½ x 4 in. (11.2 x 10.2 cm.)
Private collection

Antonio Schinella Conti (1677 – 1749) was an Italian historian, mathematician, philosopher and physicist.

He was known as Abbé Conti and is famous for having been the intermediary, in England in 1715–16, in the Leibniz-Newton calculus controversy

Voltaire used him as the model for the character of Pococurante in Candide 

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Caricature portraits of two ecclesiastics
(Mon.r Diedo Vescovo di Torcello e Murano.Venetiano. Padre Lombardi Veronese Gesuita alla chiesa del Novitiato)
Pen and ink on paper
35.3 cm x 23.7 cm
Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London

These are some of the works from the book:

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Sig Iomella, Master of the Choir in St Peters Basilica in the Vatican

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Fra Atanasio della Fara, The Searching Capuchin

Here are some pen portrait sketches from the collection in The British Museum

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Michelangelo Juvinese, Camadolese, 30th October 1749
Pen and brown ink on paper
104mm x 73 mm
The British Museum, London

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Caricature of a Jesuit from the Collegio Germanico in Rome, head and shoulders, facing front, turned to right: drawing from an album
Pen and brown ink on paper
111 x 70 mm
The British Museum, London

Pier Leone Ghezzi  1674-1755
Portrait of Abbot Agostino Isaia, standing in an interior, seen in profile, to right, pointing towards his own framed portrait; drawing from an album.
Pen and brown ink on paper
307 x 219 mm
The British Museum, London