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Art Masterpieces Never Before Seen In U.S. Coming To Fairfield University

Bernini's bust of Roberto Bellarmino will be part of a new exhibition of art masterpieces at Fairfield University.
Bernini's bust of Roberto Bellarmino will be part of a new exhibition of art masterpieces at Fairfield University. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Fairfield University Art Museum will soon present a major exhibition featuring international masterpieces never before seen in the United States.

“The Holy Name — Art of the Gesù: Bernini and His Age” will be on view in the museum’s Bellarmine Hall Galleries from Feb. 2 through May 19 with a series of related talks and programming across campus celebrating the works in this monumental exhibition.

“If I were still director of the Metropolitan, I would be jealous of Fairfield doing this show,” said Philippe de Montebello, director emeritus of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, who is honorary chair of the exhibition committee.

“It’s simply incredible. It brings to the Fairfield University Art Museum some of the greatest artists working in 17th-century Rome.”

The exhibition’s focus is the Church of the Gesù in Rome, the mother church of the Society of Jesus, which founded Fairfield University and several other Jesuit institutions across the United States.

Founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1540, the Gesù is situated in the heart of the city in the shadow of the ancient Forum, and is known as one of the greatest architectural monuments in Rome.

This landmark exhibition, organized by Fairfield University Art Museum Director Linda Wolk-Simon, features treasures from the Gesù, including Bernini’s bust of Roberto Bellarmino, Gaulli’s monumental painted wood model of the apse and a gilt bronze altar sculpture by Ciro Ferri.

The masterpieces will be joined by more than 50 paintings, drawings, sculptures, rare books and historical objects lent from museums and private collections around the U.S., including The Met, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Princeton University Art Museum and more.

Programming around the exhibition kicks off at 5 p.m., Feb. 1, with "Art of the Gesù: Bernini and his Age,” a talk by Gauvin Alexander Bailey of Queen’s University, Ontario. The lecture in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room, is free and open to the public.

Several other talks, a concert and guided tours are planned. For a full list, more information and to RSVP, visit

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