Oratorio del Gonfalone Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via del Gonfalone, 32/a – Rome (tel. +39 06 85301758). Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10.00 till 16.00. Reservations are mandatory.
History and description
The name can be translated as “Oratory of the Banner” and it was founded in 1264 as the Accomandati di Madonna Santa Maria, a Catholic fraternity.
One of the activities of the fraternity was to participate in religious processions as banner carriers, dressed in white gowns and blue hoods.
They also staged an annual passion play and were involved in charity and in freeing Italians that were enslaved abroad (in Muslim and Slavic countries).
The fraternity was highly regarded: In 1526 they were awarded the “Golden Rose” (a token of reverence bestowed by Popes, in this case Pope Clement VII, on various kinds of institutions) and in 1550 Julius II awarded them the right to pardon one individual.
In 1890, however, they suffered the fate of many Catholic institutions at the time: The fraternity itself was dissolved and the building confiscated by the state.
The façade was designed by Domenico Castelli, but the interior is far more interesting and has even been nicknamed the Sistine Chapel of Mannerism, since between 1569 and 1576 some of the best known mannerist artists of the epoch (Giacomo Zanguidi, Livio Agresti, Federico Zuccari, a.o.) were commissioned to paint frescoes depicting scenes of the passion. After a recent restoration the frescoes are characterized by extremely vivid colors.
Nowadays the Oratorio is often used for concerts by the Coro Polifonico Romano.
What to see
The altarpiece was painted by Roviale Spagnolo. These panels are flanked by columns made in the quadratura style (a kind of trompe l’oeil).
Livio Agresti painted “The Empire of Christ in Jerusalem,” “The Journey to Golgotha,” and “The Last Supper.”
Cesare Nebbia was responsible for “The Oration in the Garden,” “Ecce Homo” and “The Crown of Thorns.”
Daniele da Volterra painted the “Crucifixion” and the “Descent from the Cross”.l
” The Capture of Jesus” was by the hand of Raffaellino da Reggio.
Marco da Siena painted the “Resurrection.”
Matteo da Lecce painted “David.”
The wooden ceiling is decorated with a “Virgin with Saints Peter and Paul” created by Ambrogio Bonazzini.