The Holy Name. Art of the Gesu: Bernini and His Age

Fairfield University Museum of Art Exhibition Tour

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Church of the Gesu in Rome is the mother church of The Society of Jesus, the Roman Catholic religious order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola and given approbation by Pope Paul III in 1540.  The architectural design and adornment of this church is significant in the history of both the Church and Western Art for its embodiment of the spirit of the early Counter-Reformation and the artistic sensibilities informing the dawn of the Baroque era.  This splendid church is nothing less than a crucible of the art, ideas, spirituality, and faith of that dynamic and tumultuous period.

The exhibition, though modest in size, is magisterial in scope and breath taking in quality, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, vestments, and liturgical objects from the church.  Among all the objects on display, perhaps the most significant is the marble portrait bust of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of the greatest sculptors of all time.  Never before having left its lofty niche in the sanctuary of The Gesu,  this luminous sculpture will be able to be seen and examined up close so that its artistic alchemy of power and delicacy may be fully appreciated — surely reason enough to visit this singular exhibition.

Linda Wolk-Simon, Ph.D., the Frank and Clara Meditz Director and Chief Curator of The Fairfield University Museum of Art, is the curator of the exhibition.  She lead the tour of the exhibition on Sunday, 15 April 2018 for The Patrons.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 4.36.30 PM

Photo Credit:

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italian, 1598-1680)

Bust of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, 1623-24


30.75 in. x 27.5 in. x 19.75 in.

The Church of The Gesu, Rome

Photo: Zeno Colantoni


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