Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi
Per informazioni e prenotazioni visite guidate
Info and reservation guided tours :
Cooperativa IL SOGNO
Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. 06/184.108.40.206 Fax 06/220.127.116.11
San Luigi dei Francesi è una chiesa di Roma che si trova nell'omonima piazza, non distante da Piazza Navona.
È la chiesa nazionale dei francesi di Roma dal 1589.
La chiesa è conosciuta soprattutto per ospitare, nella Cappella Contarelli, un ciclo di pitture su san Matteo realizzate dal Caravaggio: L'ispirazione di San Matteo, il Martirio di San Matteo, oltre a quella che è una delle sue opere più note, La vocazione di san Matteo.
The church was designed by Giacomo della Porta and built by Domenico Fontana between 1518 and 1589: the works could be completed through the personal intervention of Caterina de Medici, who donated it some possessions in the area. It is the national French church of Rome and actually entitled to the Virgin Mary, to St. Dionigis Areopagitas and St. Louis IX, king of France. The French character is evident since the facade itself, which has several statues recalling national history: these include Charlemagne, St. Louis, St. Clothilde and St. Jeanne of Valois. The interior also has frescoes telling the stories of St. Louis (by Charles-Joseph Natoire), St. Dennis and Clovis.
The church was chosen as the place of sepulture for the higher prelates and members of the French community of Rome: these include the tomb of Pauline de Beaumont, died by consumption in Rome in 1805, erected by her lover Chateaubriand, the classic liberal economist Frédéric Bastiat and that of Cardinal de Bernis, ambassador in Rome for Louis XV and Louis XVI.
Domenichino painted here one of his masterworks, the frescoes portraying the Histories of Saint Cecilia. Other artists who worked in the decoration of San Luigi dei Francesi include Cavalier D'Arpino, Francesco Bassano il Giovanni, Muziano, Giovanni Baglione, Siciolante da Sermoneta, Jacopino del Conte, Tibaldi and Antoine Derizet.
The church's most famous item is however the cycle of paintings in the Contarelli Chapel, painted by the Baroque master Caravaggio in 1599-1600 about the life of St. Matthew. This include the three world-renowned canvases of The Calling of St Matthew, The Inspiration of Saint Matthew, The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew.
The church, together with the other French churches in Rome, is governed by an "Administrative deputy" named by the French ambassador at the Holy See. The Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Ludovici Francorum de Urbe is Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger.
Adiacent to the church is the late-Baroque San Luigi dei Francesi Palace. It was built in 1709-1716 as a "recovery for the French religious community and the pilgrims without resources". Its porch has a bust of Christ whose face is traditionally identified as Cesare Borgia's one. The interior houses a gallery with the portraits of the French kings and a notable Music Hall.