On and Off the Beaten Track in Rome.
By the late 18th century Rome had been mapped extensively, which was helpful to the visitor. Such authorities as Guiseppe Vasi the architect had created maps with engravings of landmarks, but a distinction has to be made between Vasi’s antiquarian knowledge and more “user-friendly” guides to urban space. The most useful thing for tourists is that guides tended to divide the city up into “giornate of sightseeing” (Sweet) containing detailed information on what was worth seeing, as can be seen in the detailed map by Dupays. Some visitors were advised to read a page or two of one of these guides the night before a sight-seeing trip with an antiquary; perhaps the latter tested them in the morning! However, not everybody was eager to hire an antiquarian or cicerone; the independent Anne Miller and her husband used the guides to plan their own itineraries and declined the services of a human guide. There was also the option of getting information from local officials and cultural advisors known to the visitors. Stendhal was given a list of 12 palazzi to visit from one “Signor Tambroni”, a similar list to those on Dupay’s key” Where churches were concerned, Stendhal took an independent approach by drawing up a list of “the most remarkable churches in Rome”, most of which were dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This list consisted of 22 churches ranging from St Peter’s where many of most esteemed altarpieces were to be seen, to the less familiar St Onofrio, resting place of the poet Tasso where readings and reflections occurred by his tomb. Stendhal also was aware of churches off the beaten track, the “little-visited churches on the heights of Rome [which] are closed after masses have been held at eleven in the morning.” But he tells that the friar-porter can be bribed to show visitors such works as Bernini’s celebrated group of St Theresa at Santa Maria della Vittoria. We read of many such walks in search of hidden art in churches in the travel journals of Stendhal and others. Walks were part of the tourist round in Rome and when tourists were not out in search of art, they exercised or promenaded while observing Roman life in the streets. However, the Roman aristocracy disdained the pavement and remained defiantly in their carriages.
Vasi, Frontispiece: Delle Magnificenze di Roma; Book III: Basilicas and Churches of Rome, 1747-61.
Santa Maria della Vittoria, begun 1605. BLUE ARROW ON MAP
Sant’ Onofrio, built 1439.YELLOW ARROW ON MAP
Map of Rome, Dupays, probably mid-18th century.
The Hierarchy of Paintings in Rome.
Raphael, Transfiguration, 1518-20, Pinacoteca, Vatican, Oil on wood, 405 x 278 cm.
Domenichino, The Last Communion of St Jerome, Vatican Museums, Rome, 1614, oil on canvas, cm. 419 x 256,
Sacchi, The Vision of St Romauld, c. 1631, Pinacoteca, Vatican, Oil on canvas, 310 x 175 cm.
Daniele da Volterra, The Deposition from the Cross, c. 1541-45, Trinità dei Monti, Rome.
Annibale Carracci and School, Palazzo Farnese, Loves of the Gods fresco cycle, 1597-1602.
Guido Reni, Aurora Fresco, 1614, fresco, Pallavicini-Rospigliosi.
Michelangelo, Last Judgment (extra-large size image), Sistine Chapel, 1537-41, Fresco, 1370 x 1220 cm.
Michelangelo, Sistine Ceiling.
Modes of Viewing at St Peter’s.
Giovanni Paolo Panini, Interior of St Peter's in Rome, 1750s, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, oil on canvas, 75 x 100 cm. GREEN ARROW ON MAP
Michelangelo, Interior of the dome, St Peter’s.
Giovanni Paolo Panini, The Piazza and Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, 1744, Oil on canvas, Palazzo Quirinale, Rome.RED ARROW ON MAP
|Giovanni Paolo Panini, Interior of the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, 1750s, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Oil on canvas, 78 x 99 cm|
(St Peter’s) to seem huge, with the risk of falling in esteem and size once the true proportions are understood, or is it better for it to seem harmonious through its perfect proportions so that its enormous size is realized only when the spectator measures himself against the size of one of its statues. At St Peter’s (the prime example) its much lauded proportions produce a harmony that impedes its general effect " Shaffer’s analysis of Diderot is strictly relevant to today’s topic since he actually does make a direct and explicit connection with the 18th century guidebook. “It was a commonplace of eighteenth-century guidebooks that the effect would dawn [ on the spectator] only gradually” (Shaffer) Diderot transfers this problem to painting giving the example of Raphael whose works “dawn” on the viewer, especially when a cicerone has pointed them out; whilst the opposite are the paintings of Rembrandt, Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck whose naturalism of style conveyed by their colours is so forceful and striking that we notice them at once. Note that the top works in the hierarchy of painting (Transfiguration, Last Communion of St Jerome would fit into Diderot's first category. Obviously further research is needed to identify how Diderot’s ideas might fit into the problem of identifying modes of viewing on the Grand Tour, but his discussion is appropriate here because of his use of different styles of painting in a discussion about the aesthetics of style at St Peter’s.
Corinne as Cicerone.
In the Roman sections of Mme de Stael’s 1807 novel, Corinne, the heroine takes on the role of a Cicerone. In fact, a number of the Roman episodes are constructed like actual guide book itineraries (e.g. VIII (III)) where Oswald and Corinne debate the merits or deficiencies of certain masterpieces like Raphael's Transfiguration and Domenichino's Last Communion of St Jerome. Oswald does not exhibit any interest in the art treasures of Rome- he has to be shown them, an attitude typical of many British travellers. Referring to the “hierarchy of painting” it is telling that Corinne and Oswald observe the hierarchies of art set up by scholarly authority mentioned previously. They also exhibit similar reactions to the hierarchy as travellers in real life such as Mme de Stael herself who visited Rome in 1805 and would have been influenced by intellectuals with opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of art in Italy. Her character Oswald is "scandalized" to see Christ given human features in Michelangelo’s Last Judgement, and he is equally disturbed by the realism of the stricken boy in Raphael’s Transfiguration as much as the intrusion of unpleasant imagery. Paintings within the hierarchy become points in a debate about aesthetics and religion as Corinne gestures towards Domenichino’s Last Communion of St Jerome in response to Oswald's complaint about "painful imagery" in religious subjects. Lacking violence and exciting no agitation in its viewer, Corinne selects the Domenichino to show that this pain is not necessary to religious art. Her triumphant conclusion is that "genius and the soul's genius can triumph over everything." Mme de Stael held similar views about religion and art and she thus incorporates her art knowledge into a fictional guide to Rome inspired by her real walks around that city in 1805.
François Gerard, Mme de Stael, Château de Coppet, Switzerland, 1817, oil on canvas, measurements unknown.
Unknown artist, 19th century, Corinne escorted at the Capitol.
|Raphael, Transfiguration, Sick boy group|
Unknown artist, 19th century, Corinne showing Oswald her Pictures, engraving.
1) Vasi, Frontispiece: Delle Magnificenze di Roma; Book III: Basilicas and Churches of Rome, 1747-61.
2) Maps of Rome, Dupays, probably mid-18th century.
3) Santa Maria della Vittoria, begun 1605. BLUE ARROW
4) Bernini, Ecstasy of St Theresa, 1647-52, Marble, stucco, gilt bronze, Cappella Cornaro, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome.
5) Sant’ Onofrio, built 1439.YELLOW ARROW
6) Tomb of Tasso, Sant’ Onofrio.
7) Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. RED ARROW
8) Giovanni Paolo Panini, The Piazza and Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, 1744, Oil on canvas, Palazzo Quirinale, Rome.
9) Giovanni Paolo Panini, Interior of the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, 1750s, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Oil on canvas, 78 x 99 cm.
10) Cesare Nebbia, The Dome of the Sistine Chapel, Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, 1585-90, Fresco.
11) Giovanni Paolo Panini, Charles III at St Peter's, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, oil on canvas.
12) Raphael, Transfiguration, 1518-20, Pinacoteca, Vatican, Oil on wood, 405 x 278 cm.
13) Domenichino, The Last Communion of St Jerome, Vatican Museums, Rome, 1614, oil on canvas, cm. 419 x 256,
14) Domenichino, Diana and her Nymphs, 1616-17, Galleria Borghese, Oil on canvas, 225 x 320 cm.
15) Sacchi, The Vision of St Romauld, c. 1631, Pinacoteca, Vatican, Oil on canvas, 310 x 175 cm.
16) Santa Trinita,
17) Daniele da Volterra, The Deposition from the Cross, c. 1541-45, Trinità dei Monti, Rome.
18) Palazzo Farnese, first designed 1517.
19) Annibale Carracci and School, Palazzo Farnese, Loves of the Gods fresco cycle.
20) Annibale Carracci, Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne, 1597-1602, Fresco, Palazzo Farnese, Rome.
22) Annibale Carracci, Homage to Diana, 1597-1602, Fresco, Palazzo Farnese, Rome.
23) Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, built 1611-16. ORANGE ARROW
24) Guido Reni, Aurora Fresco, 1614, Pallavicini-Rospigliosi.
25) Paul Bril, Landscape with Boats on a River, 1611-12, Fresco, Palazzo-Pallavicini-Rospigliosi.
26) Sistine Chapel, Rome.
27) Michelangelo, Sistine Ceiling.
28) Michelangelo, Last Judgment (extra-large size image), Sistine Chapel, 1537-41, Fresco, 1370 x 1220 cm.
29) Detail: God separating the light from the darkness.
30) Raphael, View of the Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican, 1510-11, Frescoes.
31) Raphael, School of Athens, Stanza della Segnatura.
32) Raphael, Disputa, Stanza della Segnatura.
33) Nicolas Poussin, Martyrdom of St Erasmus, Pinacoteca, Vatican, 1628, Oil on canvas, 320 x 186 cm.
34) Giovanni Paolo Panini, Interior of St Peter's in Rome, 1750s, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, oil on canvas, 75 x 100 cm. GREEN ARROW
35) Michelangelo, Interior of the dome, St Peter’s.
36) Hubert Robert, Pilgrims in St Peter’s, in front of the Statue of St Peter, 1763, Albertina, Vienna, pen and black ink and watercolour, 36.8 x 50 cms.
37) François Gerard, Mme de Stael, Château de Coppet, Switzerland, 1817, oil on canvas, measurements unknown.
38) Domenichino, The Cumaean Sibyl, c. 1610, Oil on canvas, Pinacoteca Capitolina, Rome
39) Unknown artist, Corinne escorted at the Capitol.
40) Unknown artist, Corinne showing Oswald her Pictures, engraving.
 Sweet, Cities on the Grand Tour, 103.
 St Peter’s, The Pantheon, Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano, Sant’ Andrea della Vale, Santa Maria degli Angeli, Ara Coeli, St Paul’s Beyond the Walls, SS Apostoli, St Augustine, Madonna della Pace, Cappuccini, San Clemente, Santo Stefano Rotundo, San Gregorio al Celio, Il Gesù, Sant Ignazio, Santa Maria della Popolo, Sant’ Onofrio, San Pietro in Vincoli, Santa Prassede, an Lorenzo Fuori le Mura.
 Stendhal was opinionated about these two works and his comments ensured that comparisons between the St Jerome and Trans would continue to be made. (Cropper, The Domenichino Affair, 2005). The backlash can be felt in the comments of John Ruskin who looked at both and found R "ugly" and D "bad". (Spear, 1982).
 The Poussin Martyrdom of St Erasmus has always provoked ambivalence in the minds of spectators. In 1739-40 Thomas Gray rebuked Poussin for its violence; and Stendhal though admiring found it distasteful.
 E. Shaffer, “To remind us of China- William Beckford, Mental Traveller on the Grand Tour: The Construction of Significance in Landscape” in Transports: Travel, Pleasure and Imaginative Geography, 1600-1830, Yale, 1996, 179-242, 231
 "Nothing torments the imagination more than bleeding words or nervous convulsions. In such pictures it is impossible not to look for, and at the same time not to fear, the exact imitation of reality."