This guide was created as a partnership between the DiMenna-Nyselius Library and the Fairfield University Art Museum and provides additional resources and information on the artists and objects included in the Fairfield University Art Museum exhibition, The Holy Name: The Art of the Gesù: Bernini and His Age. On view February 2-May 19, 2018.
This landmark exhibition, organized to commemorate Fairfield University’s 75th anniversary, features artistic treasures from the Roman church of the Gesù never before seen in America: Bernini’s bust of Roberto Bellarmino (patron saint of Fairfield University), Gaulli’s monumental painted wood model of the apse, a gilt bronze altar sculpture by the versatile painter, draftsman and sculptor Ciro Ferri, the sumptuous jeweled cartegloria from the altar of St. Ignatius, and the magnificent embroidered chasuble of the church’s great benefactor, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. These masterpieces will be joined by more than forty paintings, sculptures, rare books, precious objects, drawings, prints, and historical documents by Bernini, Domenichino, Gaulli, Ciro Ferri, Carlo Maratti, and Andrea Pozzo, among other Italian Baroque masters, on loan from American museums and private collections.
Together these masterpieces tell the fascinating and intertwined stories of the church’s early history and splendid interior embellishment, and the foundational chapters of the Society of Jesus. The exhibition's narrative threads include the enviable patronage of the powerful Farnese family, who championed the cause of the new order and funded the building of the Gesù; the long and at times challenging campaign to suitably embellish its austere and barren interior and dedicate its principal altars; and the imperative to formulate a new imagery exalting and promoting the Order’s founders, Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, following their canonization in 1622.
This exhibition will give visitors to the museum an unparalleled window onto the extraordinary works of art found within the walls of the Gesù, the immensely talented artists who created them, and the powerful and strong-willed personalities whose vision, ambitions—and financial means—made it all possible.
Giovanni Battista Gaulli (Italian, 1639-1709)
Painted Model for the Apse Fresco of the Gesù, 1690 (detail)
Oil on paper, laid down on wood
Church of the Gesù, Rome (museum)
An essential academic and cultural resource for students, faculty, and residents of the surrounding geographic community and region, the Fairfield University Art Museum (FUAM) offers meaningful opportunities for first-hand experience of original works of art and their unique historical resonance. We foster appreciation of the visual arts; cultivate cultural literacy and critical engagement; conserve, research, and impart knowledge about the collection in accordance with best scholarly and museum practices; and champion human creativity of all cultures and time periods.