Chiesa del Gesù Church
The Chiesa del Gesu is the mother church of the Jesuits, founded in 1540 by Ignatius of Loyola as a reaction against the theories of the Protestant reformers (such as Luther and Calvin). The atypical style of the front is a precursor of the famous Baroque style.
Luxurious decoration were added to the interior 100 years after St. Ignatius of Loyola during the 17th century.
The giant fresco ("Triumph of the Name of Jesus") on the ceiling was painted by Baciccia in 1679. This trompe l'oeil (optical illusion that makes the depicted objects appear in three dimensions) is one of the most famous Baroque-style paintings.
In the middle of the church on the left you will find the St. Ignatius Chapel, designed by A. Pozzo between 1696 and 1700. The lapis lazuli representing the earth is thought to be the largest piece in the world. The statue of the saint is actually a copy, as Pope Pius VI had the original silver statue melted down to pay war reparations to Napoleon.
During daytime the statue of St. Ignatius is hidden behind a painting, but every day at 5:30pm the painting slides away to reveal the statue.