Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Little Treasure of Santa Bibiana

Are you guys familiar with the Termini train station? Are you aware that squeezed inbetween its terminal and the platforms is the cute little church of Santa Bibiana, that hosts one of the masterpieces by Gian Lorenzo Bernini?
If you don't, here is a report from your "Rome-biter", if you do, a few shots to enjoy!

Dating 468 AD, the church was built over the ancient tomb of Saint Bibiana, the daughter of a Christian former prefect, whose family has been persecuted by Julian the Apostate.
The ancient vibes of the place can be spotted by the plaque at the entrance of the church, that tells the story of the place, that once was a cemetery and later on a monastry, and the relic of the column where Bibiana was tortured, preserved into the church.

As I previously stated the church is quite old, but on 1625 the place was completely restored by Bernini under the request of Pope Urbano VIII Barberini; Bernini redesigned the facade of the church, added the two lateral chapels and fixed the position of the altar.

Also the interior was redesigned, using the original columns from the previous church; it's a simple, refined architecture that reminds that of residential buildings of the Reinassance rather than a church, expecially in the facade.
Bernini closed the windows once placed on the upper sides of the main nave, now decorated by the frescoes of Pietro da Cortona (on the left) and Agostino Ciampelli (on the right), both portraing scenes of the life of the Saint.
The lateral chapels are dedicated to Saints Dafrosa and Demetria, mother and sister of Bibiana respectively, featuring paintings of the same artists as above.

Under the altar is placed an ancient sarcophagus protecting the bodies of the three women, and on top of it is the niche protecting the beautiful statue of Bibiana rendered by Bernini:

My pictures are terrible as usual, but I like how it looks as if the figure of the Saint is almost drawn rather than sculpted, as if the tiny bits of light were granting her the role of a medium between here and heaven...

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