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Paolo Antonacci - Insights - Giovanni Battista Crema


07/10/2021

Paolo Antonacci - Insights - Giovanni Battista Crema         

Piazza Scossacavalli was the last square that a pilgrim coming from the city encountered before arriving in the vast square of St. Peter's:
 
Giovanni Battista Crema         
(Ferrara, 1883 - Rome, 1964)

Piazza Scossacavalli in Rome

 
G. B. Crema, pastel on card, cm 27,5 x 19,5.

It is common knowledge that St. Peter's Square with its majestic colonnade was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini to dazzle travellers emerging onto it from the narrow lanes of the "Spina di Borgo". Piazza Scossacavalli, the heart of the neighbourhood, was surrounded by stern 16th century palazzi and by the church of San Giacomo.
The piazza was demolished along with the rest of the "Spina" in the late 1930s to make way for today's Via della Conciliazione, a broad avenue designed as a visible mark of the Lateran Pact between the Italian state and the Roman Catholic Church.
 

Piazza Scossacavalli, Borgo Vecchio and the Palazzo dei Convertendi, in 1910, photograph.

In this atmospheric pastel, Giovanni Battista Crema portrays a corner of the piazza seen from the Borgo Vecchio looking towards St. Peter's Square; the piazza is immersed in the shadow of dusk as a tram heads towards us with its headlights shining, and a group of nuns makes its way towards the basilica looming in the background.
 

A major retrospective of the artist's work entitled "Giovanni Battista Crema, oltre il Divisionismo" curated by Manuel Carrera and Lucio Scardino recently opened in Ferrara.

Click here for a description of the painting.

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