About the Exhibition

This landmark exhibition, organized to commemorate Fairfield University’s 75th anniversary, features artistic treasures from the Roman church of the Gesù never before seen in America: Bernini’s bust of Roberto Bellarmino (patron saint of Fairfield University), Gaulli’s monumental painted wood model of the apse, a gilt bronze altar sculpture by the versatile painter, draftsman and sculptor Ciro Ferri, the sumptuous jeweled cartegloria from the altar of St. Ignatius, and the magnificent embroidered chasuble of the church’s great benefactor, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. These masterpieces are joined by more than fifty paintings, sculptures, rare books, precious objects, drawings, prints, and historical documents by Bernini, Domenichino, Gaulli, Ciro Ferri, Carlo Maratti, and Andrea Pozzo, among other Italian Baroque masters, on loan from American museums and private collections.

Together these masterpieces tell the fascinating and intertwined stories of the church’s early history and splendid interior embellishment, and the foundational chapters of the Society of Jesus. The exhibition's narrative threads include the enviable patronage of the powerful Farnese family, who championed the cause of the new order and funded the building of the Gesù; the long and at times challenging campaign to suitably embellish its austere and barren interior and dedicate its principal altars; and the imperative to formulate a new imagery exalting and promoting the Order’s founders, Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, following their canonization in 1622.

This exhibition gives visitors to the museum an unparalleled window onto the extraordinary works of art found within the walls of the Gesù, the immensely talented artists who created them, and the powerful and strong-willed personalities whose vision, ambitions—and financial means—made it all possible.

THE HOLY NAME Art of the Gesù: Bernini and his Age

Hover over the image and use the left and right arrows to navigate through the images or view the whole album


This landmark exhibition is made possible through the collaboration of the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College; the Burns Library, Boston College; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Getty Research Institute; the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Morgan Library & Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the New York Public Library; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Princeton University Art Museum; the Yale University Art Gallery; and several private collectors.

Generous support for the exhibition, publication and related programs has been provided in part by the Center for Catholic Studies, Fairfield University, The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, Vanderbilt University, the Dianne Modestini Charitable Trust, PADA (Private Art Dealers Association), Charles Scribner, Christie's, New York, and a number of private benefactors.


The exhibition catalogue is the most significant book available in any language on the Church of the Gesù in Rome. Richly illustrated with 246 color images, the catalogue is comprised of thirteen essays by an international team of specialists in Italian baroque sacred art and religious culture followed by a checklist of the works of art in the exhibition.

Published by Saint Joseph’s University Press, Philadelphia, PA

Purchase the Catalogue →


The exhibition is organized in celebration of Fairfield University’s 75th anniversary and is complemented by a rich array of programs, lectures and special events, all free and open to the public (unless otherwise noted on the program registration page).

View program registration →


Thursday, February 1, 5 p.m.
Art of the Gesù: Bernini and his Age
Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Professor and Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art, Queen’s University, Ontario
Dolan School of Business Dining Room
Part of the Edwin L. Wiesl, Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation.
Register for the event →

Tuesday, March 6, 5 p.m.
Inside the 17th-century Gesù: Jesuit History, Saints, Theology, and Science
Evonne Levy, Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art, University of Toronto
Bellarmine Hall, Diffley Board Room
Part of the Edwin L. Wiesl, Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation.
Register for the event →

Tuesday, May 1, 5 p.m.
Bernini's Rome: The Eternal Feast
Charles Scribner, Art Historian and Author
Barone Campus Center, Dogwood Room
Second Annual Members' Lecture
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Thursday, April 5, 5 p.m.
Keynote Lecture: The Jesuits and the Arts: How and Why It Happened
John O’Malley, S. J., University Professor, Department of Theology, Georgetown University
Co-sponsored by the Center for Ignatian Spirituality.
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Friday, April 6, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Symposium: Art of the Gesù
Barone Campus Center, Oak Room
Generous funding has been provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
View the full symposium program (PDF) →
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Musical Performance

Thursday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.
Sacred Music in the Age of Bernini
Egan Chapel

Art in Focus Gallery Talk Series
with Michelle DiMarzo, Curator of Education and Academic Engagement

Bellarmine Hall Galleries

Thursday, February 8, 11 a.m.
Giovanni Battista Gaulli, The Triumph of the Name of Jesus
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Thursday, March 8, 11 a.m.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bust of Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino
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Thursday, April 19, 11 a.m.
The Chasuble of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese
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Thursday, May 17, 11 a.m.
Giovanni Battista Gaulli, Model for the Apse of the Gesù
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Subscription Lecture Series

Going for Baroque: Art in Rome in the Age of Bernini and Caravaggio
Fiona Garland
Tuesday, April 24, 10 a.m.
Tuesday, May 1, 10 a.m.
Tuesday, May 8, 10 a.m.
Bellarmine Hall, SmArt Classroom

Register for the series →

Visit the Church of the Gesù

Interior of the Church of the Gesu

Experience the splendor of the church of the Gesù through this 360-degree virtual tour.

To begin the tour, please click on "View the Tour," then click on "The Façade" or scroll down to begin with other views.

View the Tour →


Every evening, visitors to the Church of the Gesù are treated to an awe-inspiring display of Baroque theatricality in the chapel dedicated to Saint Ignatius Loyola.The lights dim and orchestral music swells as the chapel’s altarpiece, painted by Andrea Pozzo ca. 1695, slowly descends from view to reveal a larger than-life sculpture of the saint, originally designed ca. 1698 by the sculptor Pierre Le Gros the Younger. Click on the link at the right to watch the video (filmed by Fairfield University student Elizabeth Danna '19)

Watch the Video →


Charles Scribner III
Bernini's Rome: The Eternal Feast

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Art of the Gesù

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Sacred Music in the Age of Bernini

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Gauvin Bailey
Art of the Gesù:
Bernini and his Age

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Evonne Levy
Inside the 17th-Century Gesù:
Jesuit History, Saints, Theology, and Science

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Gauvin Bailey

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Carey Mack Weber

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Philippe de Montebello

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Franco Mormondo

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Betsy Roscasco

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Xavier Salomon

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Charles Scribner

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Linda Wolk-Simon

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Scroll For More Videos

The audioguide to the exhibition is introduced by Linda Wolk-Simon (Frank and Clara Meditz Director and Chief Curator, Fairfield University Art Museum) and narrated by Paul Lakeland (Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies, Fairfield University), with an afterword by Philippe de Montebello (Honorary Chair of the Exhibition Committee and Director Emeritus, Metropolitan Museum of Art).

Listen to the Audio Tour →

In the Press

WSHU, "A Bernini Masterpiece Leaves Rome For The First Time—And Comes To Connecticut" →

Apollo, "The Jesuit Masterpieces Coming to Connecticut" →

Art Daily, "Major exhibition features artistic masterpieces from the glorious Church of the Gesù" →

The Art Newpaper, "How the wonders of il Gesù were transported to America" →

Fine Art Connoisseur, "Masterpieces from Rome’s Church of the Gesù" →

ArtsJournal, “Magnificent Gesu Exhibit: Ask and You Shall Receive” →

America, "The art of Jesuit Rome comes to Connecticut" →

Additional Information


Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. We are closed for national and university holidays and during inclement weather.

The museum will be open during the university's spring recess March 10-18 and will be closed March 30-31 for Good Friday and Holy Saturday.


The museum is open to the public and admission is free.


Public tours are offered daily at 12 noon; register here →. Gallery Spotlight talks are offered daily at 2 p.m; register here →. Private tours with a curator are available for a fee; please contact museum@fairfield.edu or (203) 254-4000 x4046.


The FUAM is located on the lower level of Bellarmine Hall on the campus of Fairfield University. For GPS please use the following address: 200 Barlow Road, Fairfield, CT, 06824

Reach Us By Car:

CT Turnpike (I-95) from New York:

Exit 22, left on Round Hill Rd. Follow to second stop sign, turn right on Barlow Rd. Follow 1/2 block to University entrance on left through stone gates. Follow directions above.

CT Turnpike (I-95) from New Haven:

Exit 22, right on North Benson Rd. Follow to first stop light, turn left on Barlow Rd. Follow 1/2 block to University entrance on right through stone gates. Follow directions above.

Merritt Parkway (Rt. 15) from New York:

Exit 44, left at end of ramp, right on Black Rock Tpke. Follow 2 mi., turn right on Stillson Rd (Rt. 135 South). At second light, bear left onto North Benson Rd. At second light, turn right on Barlow Rd. Follow 1/2 block to University entrance on right through stone gates. Follow directions above.

Merritt Parkway (Rt. 15) from New Haven:

Exit 44, at end of ramp make a left. At first light make left onto Black Rock Turnpike. Follow directions above.


Free parking available at the lot in front of Bellarmine Hall, as well as the lot in front of the Quick Center for the Arts on the campus of Fairfield University. Handicap parking is available next to the museum’s service and classroom entrance on the lower level of Bellarmine Hall.

Reach Us By train:

Take Metro-North, New Haven Line, to Fairfield Station (approximately 70 minutes from Grand Central Station).

For further information or to schedule a visit or tour, please contact

Fairfield University Art Museum
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 254-4046

Museum Membership

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