Tag Archives: Giovanni Gaulli

Il Gesù Ceiling {The Story of Art}

Il Gesù Ceiling. Giovanni Battista Gaulli. 1683.

“[The painted decorations of Baroque churches can only be judged in the settings for which they were made.] [Giovanni Battista Gaulli] wants to give us the illusion that the vault of the church has opened that we may look straight into the glories of Heaven… The crowded scene seems to burst the frame of the ceiling, which brims over with clouds carrying saints and sinners right down into the church. In letting the picture thus break the frame, the artists wants to confuse and overwhelm us so that we no longer know what is real and what illusion. A painting like this has no meaning outside the place for which it was made. Perhaps it is no coincidence, therefore,that, after the development of the full Baroque style, in which all artists collaborated in the achievement of one effect. painting and sculpture as independent arts declined in Italy and throughout Catholic Europe.”

Ernst H. Gombrich, “Chapter 21: Power and Glory: Italy,” The Story of Art, 15th edition