The churches of Rome constitute what is probably the most important assemblage of art and architecture in the Western world. This book is a comprehensive and detailed description of 261 churches in Rome and the Vatican City, built or decorated between 1527 and 1870. It includes a history of their construction and a description of the interior decorations, including frescoes, marble and metal work, stucco decorations, monuments and altarpieces. This is based on extensive research in state, church and private archives, as well as an exhaustive survey of modem and historical bibliographical sources.
Its aim is to provide a more complete picture of the construction and decoration of these churches than has previously been known. This entails not only providing the names of the architects who designed the churches, but also the names of the masons and stonecutters who built the churches and whose skills were essential for realising the architects’ plans. This depth of information is carried through to the interior decorations. The interior of each church is described in detail, on a chapel by chapel basis, and includes stucco work, marble revetments, monuments, metalwork, frescoes and painted decorations and altarpieces. Again care is taken to document the names of the painters, sculptors, stucco workers, metal founders, silversmiths and wood carvers who carried out this work.
Archival research has thrown new light on a large number of works of art whose authorship and date have hitherto been unknown. This includes works by well-known artists, but also many others unknown to scholars. An alphabetic index of artists is supplied in Vol. II, and includes the churches where their works are to be found and accurate biographical information for each artist. In addition there is an index of patrons, and a street and rione index. The book is intended to be used as a reference and resource book, as well as being a guide for visitors to these churches. It is lavishly illustrated with 250 photographs.