November 14, 2019 | Publication: INSITUCopyright: © Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
The Gallery System of S. Andrea al Quirinale. Spatial Sequence, Access System and Function
Despite its status as one of the masterpieces of western architecture, Gian Lorenzo Bernini's church of S. Andrea al Quirinale was for a long time only studied for its central space and its front façade. It was only with Tobias Glitsch's PhD thesis, completed last year, that the other areas of the building were systematically examined as well. One of the aspects covered, the gallery of the church, has now been once again presented by him in an article for issue 2/2019 of the journal INSITU.
The article starts with a more detailed presentation of the rooms in question, describing not only the coretti, already clearly visible from the main room, and the devotional chambers above the side chapels, identifiable only on close inspection, but also the upper sections of the spiral staircases hidden in the pillars of the ring of chapels and the part of the convent immediately adjacent to the church. In addition, it examines not only the present state of the building, but also attempts to reconstruct its original appearance from both the evidence of the material fabric of building and the preserved furnishings.
In a second part, the article extends the analysis to the surrounding wings of the building and above all explores the integration of the gallery system into the overall novitiate complex and the access routes by which members of the convent and possible external guests reached the various gallery spaces. The insights gained in documenting the actual premises and in investigating their integration into the overall building, together with a series of archive documents, eventually form the basis for an in-depth analysis of the functions assigned to the gallery storey - an analysis during which the paper not only presents the general spectrum of use cases, but also describes the specific occasions for and actions performed during the use of the galleries.
The detailed examination of the individual monument thus leads to conclusions that also apply to other buildings of the time. The article is therefore intended both as a contribution to the research on S. Andrea al Quirinale and as a step towards a better understanding of gallery spaces in religious buildings of Early Modern Italy in general.