Sunday, June 18, 2017
200 Views of Rome: Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
What's this doing here?
But though my head may spin in trying to relate past accounts of a positive avalanche of Roman churches, there is no problem with dear Sopra Minerva. It remains vivid and distinct in my mind and memory. For this Sopra Minerva has a host of advantages.
1. Located next door to the Pantheon, it was right in our neighborhood. We passed it countless times, and I was not averse to taking an occasional rakish shortcut right through the heart of the church itself.
2. All besotted of the Baroque does not mean that an anomalous Gothic interior doesn't offer a bit of very refreshing change.
3. There's a Michelangelo inside (front left corner of the Altar level), and while, sure, the Pieta is better, the Pieta requires two long lines, a security check at an airport level of scrutiny, and can only be viewed in a large crowd, from about 200 paces away, through a foot thickness of acrylic glass that bounces the flashes of constant photo taking into one's eyes. Meanwhile this one is nearly as good (check out the leg!), and you can get within about 3 inches of it on the least whim.
4. There's just something about that Minerva ceiling, like the first stars at the very end of dusk, that makes me go all whoozy inside, like, and I hope you'll forgive me, the prelude swamp scene sky at the start of the Disneyland ride Pirates of the Carribbean. Two peas in a pod.
P.S. Never mind that the exterior is bland. Enjoy the elephant appetizer.