Santa Susanna

Carlo Maderno
1597-1603


This early Baroque church has two stories on the front facade, with the upper narrower than the lower, although the volutes on the upper story mask the difference. A triangular pediment crowns the design. The strong vertical sense is achieved by repeated elements on both stories (pilasters repeat columns) and by the breaking of the horizontal division with the pediment of the lower story.
 
Although this is an early example of Baroque architecture, it foreshadows later developments, particularly in its use of figural sculpture in niches and the dynamic movement toward the center. Not only does the width of the bays increase toward the center (with the door filling the entire bay), but there is a slight movement toward the center because the outer bays end with pilasters whereas the inner bays are framed with columns. The lateral bays next to the center bay have niches with sculpture, which give prominence to the center, and the center appears to be framed by double columns (pilasters on the second story), which also increases the focus on the center. The plan is longitudinal, a tradition that was important to Counter Reformation architects.





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