Storia dell’arte n. 155-156 – Nuova Serie 1/2 | 2021
Restauri del Novecento nella cappella Cornaro in Santa Maria della Vittoria: lo studio berniniano della luce e il ruolo di Antonio Muñoz
The planning of a maintenance intervention at the Cornaro chapel in Santa Maria della Vittoria provided the opportunity to further investigate the restorations that were made throughout the 20th century.
The main focus is the insights concerning the way Bernini engineered the dim and golden illumination that frames the sculptural group representing the Ecstasy of St. Teresa, especially considering how the back wall of the Chapel faces South West. The opening of a duct at the tabernacle’s tympanum’s base allowed, through the use of reflective elements, to maximize the natural morning light which, coordinately with the light radiating from the oculus placed above the small dome that overlooks the statue, keeps the lighting consistent throughout the daytime.
The Historical Archive of the Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Roma preserves unpublished records of the interventions implemented in the Chapel by Antonio Muñoz as the Soprintendente per i Monumenti del Lazio e dell’Abruzzo. He was the author of groundbreaking studies concerning the Baroque style and Bernini and, in 1915, Muñoz had the opportunity to choose the glazing that, to this day, illuminates the small dome. Then, the following year, he directed the critical restoration of the statues’ right hand’s fingers.