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Rome Reports

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Bernini's greatest masterpiece fully restored in Rome


A priceless Baroque masterpiece in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome has been fully restored. It's Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Cornaro Chapel, which the artist completed in 1653.

MARIELLA NUZZO
Scientific Director of Restoration Project
“The entire piece was created by Bernini. The artist himself called it his 'men cattiva opera,' or his best work.”

DANIELA PORRO
Special Superintendent of Rome
“The piece harmonizes all the art forms that combine to create this masterpiece: architecture, painting, sculpture, but also a theatrical setup and artistic lighting.”

The focal point of the chapel is a sculpture of St. Teresa of Avila in ecstasy. It shows an angel piercing the saint with a golden spear symbolizing God's love.

The top of the chapel is adorned with a fresco depicting the Empyrean, with angels welcoming St. Teresa into Heaven.

DANIELA PORRO
Special Superintendent of Rome
“We also restored the large arch decorated with angels. There you can also see inscribed the words the saint heard in the moment of ecstasy.”

The words St. Teresa heard are written in Latin and translate to, “If I had not created heaven, I would create it for you alone.”

The chapel was commissioned by the Cornaro family. They are also featured in Bernini's piece, as spectators watching the mystical experience of the saint, as if at the theater.

DANIELA PORRO
Special Superintendent of Rome
“We are really very satisfied with this total restoration, which allows scholars, the faithful and the general public, who are returning to visit Rome and its wonders, to finally appreciate the full complexity of this extraordinary Roman Baroque work.”

The fully restored splendor of Bernini's masterpiece is a must-see for anyone visiting the Eternal City.

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