San Luigi dei Francesi: Church Versus Cheek
When you walk into the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi (the national church in Rome of France), located between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, you realise the reason for its fame. It’s not the Baroque architecture by Giacomo della Porta and Domenico Fontana. It’s not the church’s paintings by Domenichino or Cavalier d’Arpino. As the crowd clustered in front of the Contarelli Chapel tells you, the frescoes by Caravaggio are the main draw (the life of St. Matthew).
Born Michelangelo Merisi, Caravaggio, who lived from 1571-1610, was the most dramatic, realistic painter of his day. He was also one of the cheekiest. In the frescoes, his first major commission, he gave the saints dirty feet and showed an angel ticking off points on his finger for St. Matthew to make in the Gospel. Cheeky indeed.
Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi
10am-12.30pm/3am-7pm. Closed Thursday afternoons