0241 National Religiosity and Visual Propaganda: the Spanish Church of the Saints Ildephonsus and Thomas of Villanova in Rome

  • Pablo González Tornel (Author)

    Pablo González Tornel received his PhD in 2005 from the School of Architecture, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain. Since 2018, he has been Associate Professor of Art History at the Universitat Jaume I in Castelló de la Plana, Spain. His research focuses on Early Modern Spanish art and its European connections, and the cultural configuration of the Early Modern Spanish monarchy. González Tornel was awarded grants and fellowships by the Mellon Foundation, the Università degli Studi di Palermo and the Bogliasco Foundation. His research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as The Sixteenth Century Journal, Hispanic Research Journal, I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, or Renaissance Studies. He is the author of the monograph Roma hispánica. Cultura festiva española en la capital del Barroco (Madrid 2017) and editor of the exhibition catalogue Intacta María. Política y religiosidad en la España barroca/ Unblemished Mary. Politics and Religiosity in Baroque Spain (Museo de Bellas Artes, Valencia, 2017).

Identifiers (Article)


The construction of the church of Sts Ildephonsus and Thomas of Villanova on the Via Sistina in Rome began in 1667. Headquarters of the Spanish Discalced Augustinians in Rome, the church was directly inspired by Francesco Borromini's Chapel of the Three Magi (Cappella dei Re Magi), and its artistic iconography featured a comprehensive program of Spanish political propaganda. The church was decorated as a monument to the Immaculate Conception, the favoured devotional cult of the Spanish monarchy, and its Marian content was reinforced by the paintings of the Virgins of Copacabana and Guadalupe, patrons of Peru and Mexico respectively. The entire ensemble, including the dedication of the church to the Spanish saints Ildephonsus and Thomas of Villanova, transformed the temple into a celebration of the Iberian monarchy.


Spain, Rome, Virgin of Copacabana, Immaculate Conception, Chiesa dei Santi Ildefonso e Tommaso da Villanova in Rome, nationhood