During the seventeenth century the Discalced Carmelites began to leave Spain where the Order had its mother house and established themselves in other countries within the Papal State. This marked their first successful cycle of settlements which in just over a century was to include twenty male and female conventual complexes. The first settlement in Italy was the monastery of Santa Maria della Scala in Rome, founded in 1597 while the long-lasting and controversial foundation of the monastery of Sts. Valentino and Teresa in Matelica (Marche region) marked a turning point in the history of the Order when it was formally inaugurated in 1705. However many of these convents and monasteries no longer exist or have been radically modified. The cloistered settlements were located in strategic cities as well as less important towns in Lazio (Rome, Velletri, Caprarola, Viterbo), Umbria (Terni, Perugia), the Marche (Fano, Ancona, Sassoferrato, Urbino, Matelica). There was also a hermit settlement named Santo Deserto di Montevirginio located about 50 kilometres north of Rome (to which I have dedicated a previous monograph in 2002), and five or six unfinished male settlements (Tivoli, Fermo, Fano, Foligno, Roccacontrada, and perhaps Ascoli). The thriving settlements could be considered as a revival of the heroic and epic period between 1562 and 1582 when Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross founded the first thirty monasteries of the Carmelites and the Reformed Carmelites in Spain. During the little more than one hundred years examined in this book the unique trait of the Carmelite Order was the driving force of these settlements in central areas and peripheries in Baroque Italy as well as their doctrine, constitution, rules, scientific and cultural input into contemporary society, and search for a balance between pastoral services, mission and contemplative spirit. The first independent Congregation outside the geographical and cultural boundaries of the Spanish world was established in 1600. Obviously the Roman Province, founded in 1617, was strategically the most important due not only to its proximity to the Papal State, but also because it was considered exemplary by the Carmelite world which in the early seventeenth century had begun to expand from the coasts of Europe to the shores of America, Africa and the Far East. The dynamism of this first century of the Italian Carmelite Order was not to be repeated elsewhere in Europe or in non-European countries; in the Roman Province nearly two hundred years had to pass before the Carmelites spread further afield in the territories of central Italy and established the monastery in Ceprano in 1898. This new edition, updated and with additional material, is being published to coincide with the first celebrations to mark the birth of Teresa of Avila five hundred years ago in 1515. It is the last in a trilogy of monographs focusing on The Architecture of the Discalced Carmelites during the Baroque. The main aim of the book is to shed light not only on several individual worksites (where the final result is often unrecognisable or irremediably lost), but also on the area around the sites and the many universal rules and principles that generated and inspired them. The additional data provides added value thanks to comparisons with numerous contemporary worksites in local areas, in particular, either synergetic or conflictual conditions caused by changes in alliances or enmities between protagonists or interested parties which Joseph Connors perceptively considers as key players in urban dynamics; he also critically reviews them in the original context of the spiritual and temporal Papal State in Rome. In the book a whole host of allies, co-protagonists, protector-Cardinals, promoter-Bishops, devote admirers, heirs of aristocratic families or princes designate of European royal families are confronted and compared to numerous members of different religious Orders often against the background of a rather delicate consolidated historical fabric, but nevertheless one in which more or less anonymous Carmelites played a leading role: hierarchical figures in important centres and the provinces; scrupulous drafters of building regulations; architect-monks; affiliated professionals (including some of the best artists working in the Roman Baroque period); hagiographers and chroniclers; custodians of big, stratified complexes most of which have been drastically modified compared to their original layout either due to formidable campaigns to suppress or demolish them or to anachronistic refunctionalisations. Although the complexes examined in here are situated in different locations and influenced by many interested parties, we can still describe them as "Carmelite architectures" or better still "architectures by the Discalced Carmelites". In fact, the monumental and minor building heritage illustrated in this book is closely linked to the Order by a network of rules and typological, architectural, dimensional and symbolic references, albeit determined by unique contexts, circumstances and the subjective contributions of artists and the workforce. Focusing on what could be considered a niche or, at the very least, a sectoral subject is a golden opportunity to interpret a century of Baroque architecture in the wider territory of Rome using a single congregation/client as a magnifying lens.
Sturm, S. (2015). L'architettura dei Carmelitani Scalzi in età barocca. La 'Provincia Romana': Lazio, Umbria e Marche (1597-1705). Roma : Gangemi Editore.