270 IV. Ancient Rome. ROME. S. Giovanni in Laterano.
end of the choir passage is a handsome marble sanctuarium (PL 12), dating
from about 1500; near it the Tabula Magna Lateranensis, or list of relics.
Aisles. At the back of the first pillar on the right in the nave (PL 13),
Boniface VIII. between two cardinals proclaiming the first jubilee (1300),
by Giotto. On the Right: The 2nd chapel (PL 14) belongs to the Torlonia
family, and is richly decorated with marble and gilding; over the altar,
Descent from the Cross, a marble relief by Tenerani (a custodian opens this
and other chapels, '/'.! fr.). The 3rd chapel (PL 15), belonging to the Massimi,
constructed by Giac. della Porta, contains the Crucifixion, an altar-piece by
Sermonela. Farther on in the right aisle, the monument (PI. 16) of Card.
Ouissano (d. 1287). — On the Left : The 1st chapel, that of S. Andrea Corsini
(PL 17), designed by Galilei in 1734, contains ancient columns and a large
vessel of porphyry from the portico of the Pantheon, in front of the bronze
figure of Clement XII. (Corsini, d. 1740); the walls sumptuously inlaid
with precious stones. Below the chapel is the burial-vault of the Corsini,
with a :,Pieta by Bernini (?). During the excavation of the latter were
found the antiques now in the Pal. Corsini.
The sacristan conducts visitors to the left from the last chapel
(PL 18) into the interesting* Court of the Monastery, of the 13th cent.,
with numerous small spiral and inlaid columns. Various fragments
from the old church are placed in the passages. The monastery was
founded at the end of the 6th cent, hy Benedictines from Mte.
The Portico of the right transept, opening on the Piazza S.
Giovanni in Laterano, was erected by Sixtus V., the founder of the
palace (see below), while the small campanili, standing far apart,
were built by Pius IV. The corridor below to the right (PL 19),
contains a bronze statue of Henri IV. of France, by Nic. Cordieri.
In the S.W. angle of the Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano is
situated the octagonal * Baptistery, II Battistero, or S. Giovanni in
Fonte (Plan of Rome, II, 30), where according to a Roman tradition,
Constantine the Great was baptised by Pope Silvester in 324 (the
fact, however, being that his baptism did not take place till 337,
shortly before his death). Sixtus III. (d. 440) is regarded as the
founder of the chapel. This was long the only baptistery at Rome,
and afforded a model for all later buildings of the kind. In 461
Pope Hilarius added to the baptistery the Oratories of St. John and
John the Baptist on the E. and W. sides respectively, and about
the year 640 John IV. added the Oratory of S. Venanzio, adjoining
that of St. John. LeoX. roofed the baptistery with lead, and his
successors decorated and modernised it.
The Baptistery has two Entrances , one from the piazza, and one
from the court, which we reach on the left on leaving the right transept of
S. Oiovanni in Laterano. The latter entrance to the Baptistery is embel¬
lished with two ancient columns of porphyry with their architrave, built
into the wall here by Sixtus III.; and by it the portico, mentioned below,
is first entered.
From the piazza we at once enter the precincts of the Baptistery
itself. It is divided into a central space and surrounding passage by eight
large columns of porphyry with an antique arebitrave in marble, which
are said to have been presented by Constantine. In the centre is the font
in green basalt. The frescoes are hy A. Sacchi, Maratta, and others. —
Adjarent, to the right, is (he Oratory of John the Baptist, containing
a statue of the saint in bronze by L. Vuladier, executed in 1772 (after
Donatello), and placed between two columns of serpentine. The bronze