Ephemera, Festivals and Theatrical Representation
The theatre of the Church
Quadratura – illusory paintings – along with the other artistic tools were intended to elevate the viewer and open the minds of the faithful.
Theatricality, the use of light and shade, or colour, for dramatic effect in the painted or sculpted decoration of churches and in church architecture, was a language understood by many people during the Baroque era. Looking at these permanent, magnificent spettacoli sacri, or their temporary forms, prepared the faithful for religious festivities where spiritual, religious theatricality would be met in excess. Quadratura – illusory paintings – along with the other artistic tools were intended to elevate the viewer and open the minds of the faithful in order to meditate on and participate in the ecstasy of a saint and reach a visionary state in which to experience a humble devotion.
Church of Santa Rosalia, funerary monuments to Prince Taddeo Barberini and Cardinal Antonio Barberini

1704
Palestrina, Rome, Italy
Architect, stucco worker and sculptor: Bernardino Cametti (1682, Gattinara – 1736, Rome)
However eternally frozen in marble, the Barberinis seem to be peering out from their balconies through the visitors entering the church, turning towards the altarpiece and pointing both to the altar and towards the church. The curtain that seems to be a real velvet woven through with gold threads feels like just pulled away right now.