CHURCHES A Story Of Glory … (No. 50)

Posted by on 24. Mai 2013
Santa Maria Maggiore

That's the papal basiclica ...

Santa Maria Maggiore

... and this is the „Columbus Ceiling“!

You have probably been there but nobody told you. I do here. When you enter the papal basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, you are struck by the sight of the ceiling: very high, very ugly and so richly gilded that you can’t imagine they used real gold. But they did! And the gold came a very long way: When Colombus „discovered“ America, the basic reason for his adventure was to find El Dorado, the Land of Gold. He didn’t succeed (nobody did) but he brought back a couple of pounds which he presented to the Kings of Spain (the monarch and his wife). And they send the gold on (or a nice portion of it) as a gift to the Pope. And he gave it to the artists who were in the process of errecting Santa Maria Maggiore and told them, to cover the ceiling with it! So gold from America, stolen there from the natives by a Spaniard, illuminates now this church in Rome and hardly anybody knows it. It doesn’t more Santa Maria Maggiore more beautiful, but more interesting.

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