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San Giuseppe Calasanzio

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San Giuseppe Calasanzio is a deconsecrated 19th century convent church at Via Sicilia 53, in the rione Ludovisi. Picture of the church on Wikimedia Commons here.

The dedication is to St Joseph Calasanz.

HistoryEdit

It was one of the churches provided for the the Villa Ludovisi development, when this was laid out in 1885 as one of the earliest modern suburban expansions of the city.

St Joseph Calasanz was the founder of the "Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools", who are ususally known as Piarists in English but as Scolopi  in Italian. The congregations received its approval in 1617, and has as its aim the teaching of poor boys. St Joseph established the headquarters of his new congregation in Rome at San Pantaleo in 1621; this remains the Generalate, and the saint is enshrined there.

The Piarists decided to open a large convent, noviciate and school for the Ludovisi suburb, and consecrated the church in 1892. The architect's name was Parisi.

The venture quickly proved a failure, and in 1918 the complex was sold to the Italian Red Cross to be their headquarters. The latter performed some alterations on the church, hence the dedicatory inscription above the door Comitato Centrale della Croce Rossa Italiana.

The church has been recently closed, and formally deconsecrated. It now functions as a meeting room for the Red Cross.

ExteriorEdit

The church is incorporated into the edifice of the former convent, as can be discerned from the domestic storey above the crowning pediment. It is also on a crypt, and is approached by a pair of transverse balustraded staircases which lead onto an entrance patio which also has a balustrade.

The two-storey gabled façade is rendered in a brick-coloured orange, with architectural details in limestone. The rendering is scored so as to give it the appearance of being laid in large ashlar blocks.

Both storeys have two pairs of rectangular Composite pilasters in white marble with limestone capitals, and the first storey capitals are embellished with a palm leaf each. They support an entablature bearing the dedicatory inscription in red on its frieze.

The molded marble doorcase has a raised triangular pediment with egg-and-dart molding; the tablet between this and the lintel is blank, but probably was intended to have a dedicatory inscription. There is an oculus or circular window in the second storey, and the crowning triangular pediment has a blank tympanum. Both entablatures and the pediment gable are in the same white, grey-veined marble as the pilasters.

InteriorEdit

The interior has an aisleless nave with a barrel vault supported by two pairs of pilasters. The main altarpiece was an anonymous 18th century oil painting depicting St Joseph Calasanz with Our Lady and the left hand one of the two side altars had St Anne by Agostino Rossi.

External linksEdit

Italian Wikipedia page

Info.roma web-page

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