La Cappella del cardinal Bessarione nella Basilica dei Santi XII Apostoli a Roma: adattamenti e idee progettuali nel Settecento
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura: 73-74, 2021
Cardinal Bessarione’s Chapel in the Church of the Twelve Holy Apostles in Rome: adjustments and
project ideas in the eighteenth century
The Chapel of Cardinal Bessarione was an important architectural structure that incorporated the ancient chapel of St. Eugenia which had disappeared for centuries. This chapel was hidden behind an eighteenth century altar until it was discovered in 1959. The architect Carlo Rainaldi developed the project with a new and larger altar in the seventeenth century, placing it against the apse of the ancient chapel.
The study of Carlo Rainaldi’s altar was followed by a study with a different approach; a new and completely different idea. However, these projects followed the same approach, that of completely hiding the paintings and erasing their “memory”. When Carlo Rainaldi died in 1691, he was replaced by the architect Francesco Fontana. In Fontana’s proposal we see the desire to preserve the ancient apse even if this choice was not motivated by the value of it’s “memory” or antiquity of the location. This work was finally completed in 1722 when the Odescalchi family entrusted the project to the architect Ludovico Rusconi Sassi for the placement of a new altar.