d. Auditorio di Mecenate. ROME. I. TV. and E. Hills. 173
1825). — In front of the chancel arch is the High Altar, consisting of an
ancient basin of porphyry, said to have been the tomb of the Patrician
Johannes, and containing the remains of St. 31atthew and other relics; the
canopy is borne by four columns of porphyry. Below the high-altar is
the richly decorated Confessione di San Matteo, in which are preserved five
boards from the 'Santa Culla' or 'Cradle of the Infant Christ'. Between
the flights of steps descending to the Confessio is a Kneeling Statue of Pius IX.,
by Jacometti. — In the apse of the Tribune are 'Mosaics by Jacobus Torriti
(1295): Coronation of the Virgin, with saints, near whom are Pope Nicho¬
las IV. and Card. Jac. Colonna (comp. p. lxiv). The four reliefs by Mino
da Fiesole were executed in 1463-64, at the expense of Card. d'Estouteville,
for the ciborium over the high-altar. The subjects are the Nativity,
the Adoration of the Magi, the Assumption (with portrait of the cardinal to
the right), and the Foundation of Santa Maria Maggiore.
At the beginning of the nave are the tombs of Nicholas IV. (d. 1292)
on the left, and Clement IX. (d. 1669) on the right, erected by Sixtus V. and
Clement X. respectively. Right Aisle: First chapel: Baptistery with fine
ancient font of porphyry. Adjacent is a pillar commemorating the con¬
version to Roman Catholicism of Henri IV of France. Farther on is the
Cappella del Crocifisso with 10 columns of porphyry. — In the Right
Transept is the sumptuous "Sistine Chapel, constructed by Dom. Fontana
under Sixtus V., and gorgeously restored; in the niche on the left, an
altar-piece (St. Jerome) by Ribera; on the right, occupying the whole wall,
the monument of Sixtus V., with a statue of the pope by Valsoldo; on the
left, monument of Pius V. by Leonardo da Sarzana. Over the altar, a
canopy in gilded bronze represents angels bearing the chapel; in the 'Con¬
fessio' under the staircase a statue of San Gaetano, by Bernini, and by the
altar a relief of the Holy Family, by Cecchino da Pietrasanta (1480). — At
the end of the right aisle, the Gothic monument of Card. Consalvi (Gun-
salvus, d. 1299) by Johannes Cosmas.
Left Aisle. 1st Chapel (of the Cesi): Martyrdom of St. Catharine, altar-
piece by Girol. da Sermoneta; on the right and left two recumbent bronze statues
to the memory of cardinals of the family. 2nd Chapel (of the Pallavicini-Sforza).
said to have been designed by Mich. Angelo: Assumption of Mary, altar-
piece by Sermoneta. — In the Left Transept, opposite the Sistine Chapel,
is the Borghese Chapel, constructed by Flaminio Ponzio in 1611, and also
covered with a dome. Over the altar, which is gorgeously decorated with
lapis lazuli and agate, is an ancient and miraculous picture of the Virgin
(almost black), painted according to tradition by St. Luke, which was car¬
ried by Gregory I. as early as 590 in solemn procession through the city.
The frescoes in the large arches are by Guido Reni, Lanfranco, Cigoli,
etc. The monuments of the Popes (1.) Paul V. (Camillo Borghese, d. 1621)
and (r.) Clement VIII. (Aldobrandini, d. 1605) are by pupils of Bernini. The
crypt contains tombs of the Borghese family.
For the neighbouring church of Santa Prassede, see p. 178.
To the S.E. and S. from the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore run
two important thoroughfares: the Via Carlo Alberto (p. 174), on
the left, and the Via Merulana (PI. II, 26,28), on the right, leading
to the Lateran (p. 279; Yihr.; tramway No. 3 in the Appendix).
In the Via 31erulana the so-called Auditorio di Mecenate (PI. II, 29),
a building in 'opus reticulatum', was discovered in 1874. The walls were
decorated with paintings, which are now rapidly fading. Outside the S.
and E. walls are seen fragments of the Servian Wall (p. xxx). It is
very doubtful whether the Gardens of Maecenas, which lay between the
Servian Wall and the cemetery of paupers and slaves (remains of its
'puticuli' or well-graves found near the Via Napoleone Terzo), extended
to this point. It is, however, certain that this building was not a lecture-
hall, but more probably a greenhouse. The antiquities it contains, mainly
from the Esquiline, are of little general interest. Adm. on Thurs., 9-11