Fairfield University Displaying Major Art Pieces From Church in Rome


All roads lead to Fairfield.

Well, actually, Rome. But some major pieces of art and of Church history from Rome will be shown in an exhibit at Fairfield University in Connecticut from February until May in connection with the 75th anniversary of the college.

Starting Feb. 2, the Fairfield University Art Museum is hosting an exhibit that includes artwork from the Church of the Gesu in Rome, the mother church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), an order founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola. Fairfield University is a Jesuit school.

The exhibit will feature five pieces of art from the Church of Gesu, none of which has left Rome before. It will include more than 50 paintings, sculptures, drawings and other artwork and documents lent by American museums and private collectors.

The display is designed to depict the early history of the Jesuits and of the Counter-Reformation, the Church’s response to the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s.

Perhaps the showpiece in the exhibit is the bust of St. Robert Bellarmine (right) an Italian Jesuit cardinal who was one of the Church’s leading scholars during the Counter-Reformation. He was canonized and declared a doctor of the Church in 1930. He is the patron saint of Fairfield University. The bust of Bellarmine was made in 1623-1624 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, a renowned artist of the Roman Baroque era.

In addition to the artwork, the exhibit will have a 360-degree iPad video showing the interior of the Church of Gesu. The church, located in the center of Rome near the Roman Forum, was consecrated in 1584.

The exhibit at Fairfield, “The Holy Name—Art of the Gesu: Bernini and his Age,” will run through May 19. It will be housed in the Bellarmine Hall Galleries at the university’s museum and will be open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Guided tours are available.

Information: www.fairfield.edu/gesu.


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