February 11, 2013

"Neither living here, nor dead here"

 Neque Illic Mortuus

Detail of Gisleni’s grave in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome Via Mme Scherzo

From the Churches of Rome Wiki
To the left of the main door is the tomb of Giovanni Battista Gisleni, died 1672. He was a Baroque architect who was born and died in Rome, but did much work in Poland. He designed his memorial himself in 1670. It is a macabre piece, but great fun also. At the top is his portrait in a tondo, above a long memorial inscription. Below the latter is a skeleton wrapped in a shroud "facing"  the viewer, above which are two bronze medallions which demonstrate a hope in the resurrection. The left hand one shows a tree with its branches pruned but sprouting new shoots and containing an empty nest, while the right hand one shows the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a moth. Both of these are symbols of death in this world, and new life in the next. The left hand one says In nidulo meo moriar ("in my nest I die" -a reference to his dying in Rome after a long expatriate career), while the right hand one says Ut phoenix multiplicabo dies ("as a phoenix I multiply [my] days"). Below the portrait it says Neque hic vivus, and under the skeleton it says Neque illic mortuus; together this means "Neither living here, nor dead there".

 Gisleni Tomb "Neither living here, nor dead here"

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 11, 2013 9:22 AM | Permalink