Santi Luca e Martina
Santi Luca e Martina is a church in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Italy, situated between the Roman Forum
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

 and the Forum of Caesar
Forum of Caesar
The Forum of Caesar, also known as Forum Iulium or Forum Julium, Forum Caesaris, is a forum built by Julius Caesar near the Forum Romanum in Rome in 46 BC.-Construction:...

 and close to the Arch of Septimus Severus.


The church was initially dedicated to Saint Martina, martyred in 228 AD during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus
Alexander Severus
Severus Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235. Alexander was the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter's assassination in 222, and was ultimately assassinated himself, marking the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century — nearly fifty...

. In 625 Pope Honorius I
Pope Honorius I
Pope Honorius I was pope from 625 to 638.Honorius, according to the Liber Pontificalis, came from Campania and was the son of the consul Petronius. He became pope on October 27, 625, two days after the death of his predecessor, Boniface V...

 commissioned construction of the church. Restored first in 1256 during the reign of Pope Alexander IV
Pope Alexander IV
Pope Alexander IV was Pope from 1254 until his death.Born as Rinaldo di Jenne, in Jenne , he was, on his mother's side, a member of the de' Conti di Segni family, the counts of Segni, like Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory IX...

, it was a simple rectangular structure surrounded on three sides by other constructions until it was rebuilt by the painter and architect, Pietro da Cortona
Pietro da Cortona
Pietro da Cortona, by the name of Pietro Berrettini, born Pietro Berrettini da Cortona, was the leading Italian Baroque painter of his time and also one of the key architects in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture. He was also an important decorator...

, in the seventeenth century.

In 1577 the Accademia di San Luca, the academy of painters, sculptors and architects in Rome, was founded and in 1588 it was given the church which was rededicated as S. Luca in S. Martina. The academy undertook minor refurbishments of the church and also there were projects for a new church prepared in drawings attributed to Ottaviano Mascherino (1536–1606). Gradually the academy began to acquire properties adjacent to the church.

In 1634, Pietro da Cortona was elected president of the academy. Almost at once he began restoration of the crypt and, as was common at this time in Rome, buried remains were found and were attributed to the martyred Saint Martina. No doubt it was hoped that this would precipitate an influx of funds to shelter the relics in a new church. In November 1634, Pope Urban VIII
Pope Urban VIII
Pope Urban VIII , born Maffeo Barberini, was pope from 1623 to 1644. He was the last pope to expand the papal territory by force of arms, and was a prominent patron of the arts and reformer of Church missions...

 visited the church, and the papal nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini
Francesco Barberini
Francesco Barberini may refer to:*Francesco Barberini , Cardinal-nephew of Pope Urban VIII from 1623*Francesco Barberini , Cardinal from 1690...

, who had been protector of the church since 1626, dedicated 6,000 scudi  although their full support for a new building seems to be in some doubt.
Construction of the new edifice began in 1635 but was subject to interruptions such as Cortona's extended visit to Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 from 1639–47 and Francesco Barberini's flight from Pope Innocent X
Pope Innocent X
Pope Innocent X , born Giovanni Battista Pamphilj , was Pope from 1644 to 1655. Born in Rome of a family from Gubbio in Umbria who had come to Rome during the pontificate of Pope Innocent IX, he graduated from the Collegio Romano and followed a conventional cursus honorum, following his uncle...

 to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 from 1645-48. At the time of Cortona's death in 1669, some parts, such as the interior dome decoration, were still incomplete.


The plan of the upper church is almost a Greek cross with nearly equal arms and the centre is crowned by the dome. Large Ionic columns, supporting a large entablature
An entablature refers to the superstructure of moldings and bands which lie horizontally above columns, resting on their capitals. Entablatures are major elements of classical architecture, and are commonly divided into the architrave , the frieze ,...

, cluster around the crossing and populate the wall spaces of the apsidal transepts, choir and nave. The windows in the apsidal vaults are each surmounted by a split pediment with a head in a scallop shell with octagonal coffering above, motifs which Cortona used in his fresco painting. However, apart from the altarpieces, the interior is white stucco; a surprising design decision for a church dedicated to the patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of painting (St. Luke), built for the painting academy in Rome and by a painter who had decorated some of the most opulent church vaults in Rome such as Santa Maria in Vallicella
Santa Maria in Vallicella
Santa Maria in Vallicella, also called Chiesa Nuova, is a church in Rome, Italy, which today faces onto the main thoroughfare of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele...

. The interior dome decoration has been attributed to Cortona's pupil and collaborator, Ciro Ferri
Ciro Ferri
Ciro Ferri was an Italian Baroque sculptor and painter, the chief pupil and successor of Pietro da Cortona.He was born in Rome, where he began working under Cortona and with a team of artists in the extensive fresco decorations of the Quirinal Palace...

; ribs and coffering are combined as they are at Santa Maria della Pace
Santa Maria della Pace
Santa Maria della Pace is a church in Rome, central Italy, not far from Piazza Navona.The current building was built on the foundations of the pre-existing church of Sant'Andrea de Aquarizariis in 1482, commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV. The church was rededicated to the Virgin Mary to remember a...

 but here the forms of the coffering are far more fluid and almost shimmer with movement.

Two stairways from the upper church lead down to the lower church that has a corridor connecting to an octagonal chapel directly below the dome of the upper church and the chapel of Santa Martina below the high altar. A circular opening in the vault of the octagonal chapel allows a view through up to the dome of the upper church. In contrast to the white spatial expansiveness of the upper church, the lower church, and particularly the chapel of Santa Martina, is richly decorated with colour, marbles, gilt bronze and has relatively low vaults. In the Chapel of Santa Martina, the Ionic columns in the corners have been placed on the diagonal, reminiscent of Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

's design of the Sforza Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore, and so setting up oblique as well as orthoganal tensions in this chapel centred on the altar to S. Martina.

The gentle curvature of the facade is contained by a double storey of paired pilasters The columns of the ground storey are pressed into the wall rather than projecting as a spatial entity like the entrance portico at Santa Maria della Pace. Other elements such as pediments and mouldings are allowed to project between the columns to create spatial tensions which are reminiscent of Florentine Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...


In the upper church, the main altarpiece Saint Luke painting the Madonna was painted by Antiveduto Grammatica
Antiveduto Grammatica
Antiveduto Grammatica was a proto-Baroque Italian painter, active near Rome.Grammatica was born in either Siena or Rome. According to Giovanni Baglione the artist was given the name Antiveduto because his father had a premonition that he would be soon be born during a journey between his native...

, and is a copy of the original attributed to Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 found now in art collection of the Accademia. Below this is a white marble statue of the martyred S. Martina by Nicolo Menghini. In the left transept is an Assumption and Saint Sebastian by Sebastiano Conca
Sebastiano Conca
Sebastiano Conca was an Italian painter.He was born at Gaeta, then part of the Kingdom of Naples, and apprenticed in Naples under Francesco Solimena. In 1706, along with his brother Giovanni, who acted as his assistant, he settled at Rome, where for several years he worked in chalk only, to...

, and in the right transept is the Martyrdom of San Lazzaro by Lazzaro Baldi
Lazzaro Baldi
Lazzaro Baldi was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Rome.-Biography:Baldi was born in Pistoia and died in Rome. He was part of the large studio of Pietro da Cortona, and became adept at fresco technique. He painted a David and Goliath for Alexander VII in the Palazzo...

 who is buried here.
Inside the main entrance door to the upper shurch, a stone slab marks Cortona's burial place (died 1669) and there is a wall memorial with a bust of Cortona by Bernrdo Fioiti in the lower church.

The sculptures of the Evangelists in the pendentives of the dome are 18th century additions sculpted by Filippo della Valle
Filippo della Valle
Filippo della Valle was an Italian late-Baroque or early Neoclassic sculptor, active mostly in Rome.-Biography:Della Valle was born in Florence....

, Camillo Rusconi
Camillo Rusconi
Camillo Rusconi was an Italian sculptor of the late Baroque in Rome. His style displays both features of Baroque and Neoclassicism. He has been described as a Carlo Maratta in marble.-Biography:...

, and Giovanni Battista Maini
Giovanni Battista Maini
Giovanni Battista Maini was an Italian sculptor of the Late-Baroque period, active mainly in Rome.He was born in Cassano Magnago in Lombardy, and died in Rome. He may have had contacts with Foggini in Florence. By 1708, he had moved to Rome where he joined the large studio of Camillo Rusconi,...

. To the right of the entrance is the monument to Carlo Pio Balestra (1776) by Tommaso Righi
Tommaso Righi
Tommaso Righi was an Italian sculptor and stuccator with a practice in Rome. His marble and stucco funeral monument to Carlo Pio Balestra , patron of the Church of Santi Luca e Martina, in the Roman Forum, is probably his most prominent commission...

 and a Monument to Giovanna Garzoni
Giovanna Garzoni
Giovanna Garzoni was an Italian painter of the Baroque era. She was unusual for Italian artists of thetime for two reasons: first, in that her themes were mainly decorative and luscious still-lifes of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and second, because she was a woman.Garzoni was born in Ascoli...

by Mattia De Rossi
Mattia de Rossi
Mattia de Rossi was an Italian architect of the Baroque period, active mainly in Rome and surrounding towns.Born in Rome to a family of architects and artisans, he rose to prominence under the mentorship of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and even inherited the position as chief architect of the Fabbrica di...


In the sacristy is a relief of the Ecstasy of St Mary Magdalene by Alessandro Algardi
Alessandro Algardi
Alessandro Algardi was an Italian high-Baroque sculptor active almost exclusively in Rome, where for the latter decades of his life, he was the major rival of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.-Early years:...

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