Temple to Church

  The Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda in the Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina Copyright: © Yannick Ley  

Conversion of Ancient Roman Buildings into Counter-Reformation Churches in Rome around 1600

In today's Rome, numerous examples of ancient building structures have been preserved, which in the course of the centuries were converted, further developed or expanded into sacred buildings in various ways. The dissertation project examines these architectural transformations with a focus on the period around 1600.

First of all, the focus is on the concrete structural conditions of the buildings under investigation and their significance for the historical building processes. This is followed by an architectural-historical classification of the observations and a comprehensive investigation of the question of what motivations might have led to the conversion of ancient buildings instead of early Baroque new buildings. In the same way, two methods of investigation are to be named: The complete building survey of the currently existing building fabric as well as a subsequent architectural-historical source research. In addition, the project is designed as a comparative study, to which the following four Roman buildings serve as objects of investigation: The Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda in the Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, the Church of Sant'Angelo in Pescheria in the Portico of Octavia, the Church of San Nicola in Carcere in the ancient Forum Holitorium, and the Church of Sant'Urbano alla Caffarella in the Temple of Ceres and Faustina.

The analysis of the buildings is followed by an architectural-historical research of sources, which pursues as an objective, on the one hand, the influence of the converted buildings on the development of the typology of the Counter-Reformation pilaster church and, on the other hand, their contextualization in the historical as well as religious-political context in Rome in the early 17th century. In this context, historical illustrations in particular allow insights into the shape and structural condition of the buildings at different points in time, but also offer interesting insights into the authors' view of the motif and thus the general contemporary evaluation of the buildings.

The analysis of the iconographic meaning forms the conclusion of the study and is based on the building photographs as well as the source research. It pursues the goal of gaining insight into the extent to which purely structural-functional reasons, such as existing load-bearing structures or short-term usability, and to what extent, on the other hand, a religiously motivated overformation of the ancient buildings categorized as pagan can be proven to justify the conversions undertaken.



Yannick Ley, M. Sc. RWTH