Rubens Madonna della Vallicella
Churches

Rubens’ motorized painting in Rome

In the Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, also known as the New Church, since it was rebuilt in 1575 there is the fresco of the Madonna with the Child Jesus and two Angels. In 1599 a large, simple building with white walls without particular decorations and variegated marbles was inaugurated and like St. Philip Neri before his death, according to the new Tridentine rules.

Rubens,_madonna_della_vallicella
Rubens,_madonna_della_vallicella

After the reconstruction of the new church, in the early 1600s, it was decided to move the fresco, found in a cellar near the church, to the main altar. Rubens was commissioned to create an altarpiece that had to be perfectly integrated with the ancient miraculous fresco. The Rubens altarpiece holds the precious fresco in a very suggestive baroque mechanism. A copper oval is lowered and raised showing, only on some occasions, the painting dedicated to Mary

Antica icona della Madonna della Vallicella
Antica icona della Madonna della Vallicella

Even today, entering the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella it is possible to attend the show: the motorization of the painting takes place in the evening mass on Saturday, the oval goes down to go up again during the evening mass Sunday. Rubens’ baroque machine is also activated on the occasion of the main holidays.

The church, after several renovations and additions over the centuries, was erected again as a parish seat, on 1 June 1905, by Pope Pius X (1903-1914) with the apostolic constitution Almae Urbis Nostrae and entrusted to the Confederation of the Oratory of San Filippo Blacks.

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