Frescoes in Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome (The Last Judgement)
by Pietro CAVALLINI

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is one of the oldest titular churches in Rome. The present structure, whose interior was completely remodeled in the Baroque style, was built during the Carolingian period under Pope Paschal I (817-24). The mosaic in the apse also dates from this period. Around 1300 the interior of the church was entirely redecorated. Above the high altar Arnolfo di Cambio placed an elaborately designed Gothic ciborium with opulent figurative decoration (completed in 1293). The fresco decoration of the interior façade and the walls of the nave was added c. 1300. According to Ghiberti and Vasari, the frescoes were the work of the Roman painter Pietro Cavallini. The frescoes of the nave were largely destroyed when Cardinal Francesco Acquaviva had the interior redesigned in 1724-25.

Not until 1900, during restoration work in the church, did large sections of the old fresco decoration come to light again. The middle register of a depiction of the Last Judgment on the west wall of the basilica, fragments of the fresco of the Annunciation on the north wall, and two scenes from the story of Jacob on the south wall were uncovered. It is assumed that there were cycles of the Old and New Testament, respectively, on facing walls of the nave.

Of the paintings in Santa Cecilia, the most important is the fragment of the Last Judgment that extends the entire width of the west wall (its size is 320 x 1400 cm). In the enthroned Christ and apostles, whose rich colouristic harmonies are dominated by soft orange and green, and in the angels with feathers in graduated colours, there is a wholly new sense of real rather than schematic volumes, of surfaces, and of textures in light.

The innovations of Cavallini provided a strong incentive, perhaps even inspiration for Giotto, who must have seen and studied Cavallini's work in Rome.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 8 minutes):
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem K 626: Dies irae


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Last Judgment (fragment)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

2459*450
True Color
183 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1885*550
True Color
173 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1800*583
True Color
168 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1299*750
True Color
182 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1100*1238
True Color
217 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1000*1220
True Color
229 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1000*1294
True Color
216 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1000*1279
True Color
218 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1200*821
True Color
186 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1000*1286
True Color
227 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1000*1287
True Color
209 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1000*1324
True Color
212 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1000*1334
True Color
239 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1000*1369
True Color
252 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

790*964
True Color
174 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

779*966
True Color
161 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

766*964
True Color
164 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

786*958
True Color
159 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

752*960
True Color
187 Kb



Last Judgment (fragment)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1200*947
True Color
183 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

900*1102
True Color
178 Kb



Last Judgment (detail)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

784*962
True Color
135 Kb



Esau Appears to Isaac (fragment)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1200*712
True Color
134 Kb



Jacob's Dream (fragment)
c. 1300
Fresco
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome

1264*1100
True Color
201 Kb




Works by Pietro CAVALLINI
Last Judgement | Mosaics | Paintings