RUSCONI, Camillo
(b. 1658, Milano, d. 1728, Roma)

Apostle St Matthew

San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome

The significant sculptural undertaking that inaugurated the eighteenth century in Rome was the realization of the colossal statues of the Apostles in twelve monumental, green marble niches, decorated by the dove symbol of the Pamphilj family, which Francesco Borromini built during the reconstruction of the interior of San Giovanni in Laterano. The statues, the completion of Borromini's project, were executed before 1718 by the most important sculptors of the time from Rome and elsewhere. The sculptors included Camillo Rusconi (Andrew, Matthew, James the Greater, John the Evangelist), Francesco Moratti (Simon), Angelo de' Rossi (James the Less), Giuseppe Mazzuoli (Philip), Lorenzo Ottoni (Thaddeus), as well as the Frenchmen Pierre-Étienne Monnot (Peter, Paul) and Pierre Le Gros (Bartholomew, Thomas).

Among these artists Camillo Rusconi was the most noted sculptor of the first half of the century.

The statue shows the apostle at a moment of psychological tension which is given visal expression by the juxtaposition of a book and the saint's head. St Matthew is represented with his foot crashing a bag of money, a reference to his work as tax-collector before being called to follow Christ.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 8 minutes):
Johann Sebastian Bach: St. Matthew Passion BWV 244 (excerpts)