(36) "Scala Regia" by Bernini - Magic staircase next to St. Peter's Basilica. Bernini's illusions are vibrant!

Travels in Rome" - Charms of the Theater City of Rome and Pilgrimage to Bernini

Travels in Rome] (36) "Scala Regia" by Bernini - Magic staircase next to St. Peter's Basilica. Bernini's illusions are vibrant!

Previous Article(35) The Colonnade in St. Peter's Square is not finished! The original design and the intention of Bernini's design will change if you know."In addition to St. Peter's Square, Bernini was entrusted with an important task. This is the "Scala Regia" staircase, which I will introduce here.

Scala Regia.Wikipedia.

Now let's look at the commentary on this piece.

In connection with the improvement of this square, Bernini also renovated the staircase connecting Palazzo Apostolico and San Pietro on the right side of the square. This staircase is the Pope'sresidenceappartamentiSince it was the only passageway between the church and thefront stairsscala regia(This staircase was called the "King's Staircase" (the north side of which was built by Bernini).aisle (of a church)corodoreThe north aisle is connected to the north aisle, which also leads out to the colonnade. (It is in the population of this northern aisle that the famous Swiss Guards in costumes said to have been designed by Michelangelo can be seen.)

The staircase, however, was narrow and dark, and even life-threatening to the aging Pope. In 1663, Alexander VII ordered Bernini to renovate the staircase to make it safer and more splendid. Thisfront stairsscala regiaThe biographer, perhaps conveying Bernini's own words, describes the construction of the "B" as the most difficult of all. The conditions and challenges presented to Bernini were indeed difficult.

The staircase was sandwiched between the exterior walls of the Sistine Chapel and the Palazzo. The walls were not parallel, and the distance between them was only 3.4 meters at the top of the staircase, compared to 4.8 meters at the bottom. In this narrow and irregular space, Bernini's task was to build a staircase worthy of the name.

If you want to know what a person is capable of, you have to put him in a difficult situation," he said, and his delight in overcoming adverse conditions to create beautiful works of art led him to another brilliant solution here. In other words, he put up columns on both sides of the staircase, and the ceiling is pierced from the bottom to the top in a cylindrical shapearched ceilingvaultThe problem was solved by moving the columns away from the wall at the bottom and gradually attaching them to the wall as they ascended, while at the same time gradually lowering the height of the vaulted ceiling.

The solution consists of two ideas. The first is the idea that a space that gets narrower as it goes up creates an illusion of perspective, so that the staircase looks more magnificent than it actually is. The idea of such an illusion can be seen in the stage backdrop of Palladio's famous Teatro Olimpico and in Bramante's San Satiro (Milan).choir seating (noh theater)koroand, shortly before Bernini, Boㇽ Romini also used a sharply false perspective in the garden of Palazzo Spada in a smallpillared corridorcolonnatemaking (although according to recent research, this plan did not originally originate in Boㇽromini). All of these are designed to create the illusion of perspective, that is, they appear to be very shallow but far away, when in fact they are very shallow. Bernini also used this idea.

However, hisfront stairsscala regiaThe third idea is to control this effect so that it does not become too sudden. This idea is manifested in the fact that the columns are separated from the wall at the bottom and attached to the wall at the top. In other words, the illusion of perspective created by the rows of columns is less than that created by the actual wall. The reason for this device may be that the ceiling above the walls would have had to be lowered too much to accommodate the reduced wall spacing, which would have been unacceptable for practical purposes. At the same time, it is true that this device makes the narrow staircase appear wider. Furthermore, the arches created by the columns and ceiling make the staircase look like a triumphal arch, which further enhances the significance and beauty of the staircase. Bernini's solution is nothing short of brilliant. Bernini himself seemed pleased with it, proudly telling Chantreau that it was the most daring work he had ever done. It is important to remember that his use of illusion was not playful, as in the case of other artists, but a means of overcoming difficult conditions.
*some line breaks.

Masumi Ishinabe, Yoshikawa KobunkanBernini, Giant Star of Baroque Art.p157-159
Plan and 3D view of "Scala RegiaWikipedia.

The "Scala Regia" is more than just a staircase. As you can see from the floor plan above, the width of the staircase gets narrower as you go up. As mentioned in the explanation, the position and height of the pillars are adjusted to create the illusion of perspective.

Now, let me see this "Scala Regia" in action.

This is the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica. The large door on the left side of the photo leads to the interior of the cathedral. Scala Regia" is located on the right side of the entrance, or in this photo, at the back of the front.

Behind this door is the "Scala Regia". The statue on the other side of the door is also by Bernini. We will take a closer look at this statue later.

And some of you may have noticed this picture.

Yes, there is a fence in front of this door, and general visitors are not allowed to enter.

However, I was given a special tour of the Vatican City on November 30. I was given a guided tour of an area that was off-limits to all but authorized personnel that day. For more information about this, please see(13) A special tour of the Vatican City, which is off-limits to all but authorized personnel! And a rare behind-the-scenes look at St. Peter's Basilica!I have discussed this in detail in the article "The

So I was granted special admission to the "Scala Regia" at the end of the fence.

The statue that greets you as soon as you walk out the door is this "Equestrian Statue of the Emperor Constantine" by Bernini.

Masumi Ishinabe commented, "This equestrian statue, like Saint Teresa, is attached to the wall, making it difficult to tell whether it is a round carving or a relief. It is noteworthy that this device solves the problem of equestrians standing on their hind legs, which once troubled Leonardo da Vinci so much, without difficulty. (The artist's commentary on the work is interesting: "The statue is a very good example of the kind of work that Leonardo da Vinci was so annoyed with.

It is true that if a statue of an overwhelmingly massive cavalryman is to be made to stand on its hind legs, a major problem arises as to how to create a center of gravity. When one thinks about it, it is nothing short of a miracle that the sculpture is able to maintain its shape without breaking in such a balanced manner.

But Bernini overcame this difficulty without difficulty by attaching the sculpture to the back wall. It is indeed a feat of ingenuity. This is the quintessence of Bernini's ingenuity in overcoming adverse conditions.

This is "Scala Regia". Indeed, the top of the stairs looks far away. It is like a temple. There is a unique atmosphere that makes you feel that something noble and great is on the other side. This is the specialty of Bernini, who is good at producing theatrical effects. The Pope walking here is truly sublimated into a world leader.

Looking along the wall at the rows of columns, one can see that the corridor narrows as one moves forward. Bernini took advantage of the narrowness and irregularity of the space to create this magnificent staircase. It is truly genius.

Go down the stairs to the exit. On the right side of the building is the colonnade of St. Peter's Square.

Looking back, I can vaguely see the "Scala Regia" that I just came down. The small lights and dim silhouettes are fantastic. The view from afar was probably well calculated by Bernini. I can only say that it is magnificent.

The entrance and exit with the Swiss Guards mentioned in the commentary above.

Incidentally, it only looks like this from the outside. The "Scala Regia" is not open to the public. I was fortunate to be able to visit it. It was a great opportunity for me to make a connection.Jimmy TourI would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The "Scala Regia". It was a wonderful place to enjoy the great ideas of Bernini's last years.

be unbroken

*The following photos are my Bernini notes. I hope you will find them useful.

*The list of articles in the "Rome Travel Journal" can be found atCategory page hereindicates direction or goal (e.g. "to")

*Please visit this category page for recommended books to learn about Rome and Italy.
The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, the Vatican, and Roman Catholicism."
The Italian Renaissance and the Revolution in Knowledge."

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