The Santa Maria in Montesanto Basilica, also known as the Chiesa degli Artisti (“Church of the Artists”), is located in Via del Babuino in Rome. It is considered to be the twin church of the Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church.
Santa Maria in Montesanto Basilica Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
The address of the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Montesanto is Via del Babuino, 198 – Rome (tel. +39 06 3610594 ). Metro: Flaminio (line A). Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 17:00 to 20:00 and Sunday from 10:30 to 13:30. Admission: Free of charge. (Note that hours may have changed since the article was written.)
A special “Artists’ mass” is celebrated at noon on Sundays, a tradition going back to April 7th, 1951.
History and description
The Santa Maria in Montesanto Church owes its name to a pre-existing church that was also dedicated to Mary and run by the Carmelite order. (Monte Santo refers to Monte Carmelo in Jerusalem.)
The Santa Maria in Montesanto and the Santa Maria dei Miracoli churches are located in the Piazza del Popolo, on either side of the beginning of the Via del Corso. Although they were built more or less simultaneously and are very similar, one can see more and more differences the longer one looks.
Cardinal Gerolamo Gastaldi was responsible for the construction of the churches. The construction of Santa Maria in Montesanto Church started in 1662 and the work was completed in 1679. The original architect was Carlo Rainaldi, but later Gian Lorenzo Bernini would make some changes, including the floor plan that he made oval to adapt it to the surrounding space. After Bernini‘s death, Carlo Fontana completed the construction.
The church was in the hands of the Carmelites until 1825. Since 1951, the Mass of the Artists has been celebrated here and in 1953 it was entrusted to the artists themselves.
Near the main altar there is a 16th century painting depicting the “Virgin of Montesanto”.
The 3rd chapel on the left is the Cappella Montioni. The designer of this chapel was Tommaso Mattei and the altarpiece “Madonna and Child and Saints Francis and Jacob” was done by Carlo Maratta.
The second chapel on the left is the Cappella di Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi and was designed by Carlo Rainaldi.
The first chapel on the left is the Santa Lucia Chapel.
Chapel of the Saints of Purgatory
The most interesting chapel is the one dedicated to the Saints of Purgatory, however. It contains the painting “Dinner at Emmaüs” by the 20th century painter Riccardo Tommasi Ferroni. There is nothing unusual about the composition, or about the depiction of Jesus himself. However, one of the people he is talking to is dressed in jeans and sneakers and another person listening to the conversation seems to be wearing medieval garb.