Saturday, August 02, 2014

Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary of the Snows : In Dedicatione basilicae S. Mariae ad Nives

Abbate Paolo de Angelis (1580–1647)
Study of the Interior of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome 
Pen and brown ink, brush with gray and blue wash, over traces of graphite, highlighted with white gouache
15 1/8 x 9 15/16 in. (38.4 x 25.2 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum, New York

We know very little of the abbate. He was an abbot. He came from Syracuse in Sicily. He was an excellent draughtsman. However his works of the early 17th century are an important source book as to the architecture and history of various important sites such as St Mary Major and the Old St Peters and the new St Peters which was in the course of construction

He produced the engravings for his major work on the Basilica of St Mary Major

The Pitts Theology Library have webpages on the illustrations and an explanation of each plate here

The works show the basilica before the great renovations, alterations and extensions by  Clement X (1670–76), and Benedict XIV (1740–58)

We can see the facade before the present facade was added in 1743

Here are some illustrations from the work:

Title page showing the beginnings of the Basilica: from the painting of the icon of  Salus Populi Romani, or Health of the Roman People or Salvation of the Roman People which is housed in the Basilica,  Saint Jerome`s encomium on virginity to his burial in the Basilica, the early foundation of the Basilica by by Pope Sixtus III (and the story of Pope Liberius foundation), the procession of Saint Gregory the Great with the icon to stop plague, the construction of the Sistine and Borghese chapels, to the times of Paul V

Location plan of the Basilica and its environs including the location of other basilicas and monuments in Rome

Plan of the Basilica in the early 1600s before the subsequent alterations

Main facade and exterior

A cross-section of the dome of the Borghese Chapel, also known as the Paulina Chapel, in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major