Seduction can be a potent part of giving yourself completely to your faith. In Rome, often described historically as a sensual adulteress, visual seduction is often married to religion.
The Chapel of the Da Sylva Family in the Church of Sant’Isidoro
The church of Sant’Isidoro, near Piazza Barberini, began construction in 1622 for the Spanish Franciscan community in Rome. It was dedicated to Isidore of Madrid, the patron saint of agriculture. Some years later the unfinished building was handed over to a group of Irish Franciscans.
In 1663 the small Da Sylva family chapel was built to the right of the high alter to accommodate the funerary monuments of the family of Portuguese nobleman Rodrigo Lopez da Sylva, knight of the Order of Saint James and eminent member of the Iberian community in Rome.
The Eye-catching Naked Beauty of Charity and Truth
On the left of the small chapel is a bas relief monument to Rodrigo and his wife Beatriz da Silveira, framed by the naked figures of Charity who clearly is offering you her perfect breasts for? A divine benediction perhaps blessed with the abundant milk of a mother, with Truth on the opposite side who is slightly more discreet with her natural charms, portrayed with a radiant sun on her ample breast. Both sculptures were created by Giulio Cartari, a colleague of Bernini, whose skill is evident in these works.
The libertine spirit of Rome in the Baroque is perfectly portrayed in these sensual and erotic works inviting all sorts of speculation about Rodrigo and his beautiful Beatriz forever tempting us with her devout and sumptuous body.
Visits by appointment – tel: 06 4885359