Interior of the Sant'Ignazio Church in Rome
Courtesy Fabianodp via Adobe Stock Interior of the Sant'Ignazio Church in Rome

Centered around 17th century Italian painter, architect, and scenographer, Andrea Pozzo, the "A Matter of Perspective: Andrea Pozzo and Jesuit Art in Rome" exhibition is currently being displayed at the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries of the Art Institute of Chicago through Sept. 18. The show highlights architectural publications and treatises from the 16th to 18th centuries including Pozzo's influential two-volume book, Perspectiva Pictorum et Architectorum (or Rules and Examples of Perspective Proper for Painters and Architects) which was published in 1693.

The treatise delves into the principles of perspective in art and architecture, as well as includes details on how Pozzo used the illusory technique to create realistic frescoes and alters for Jesuit churches in Rome (such as a faux dome at the center of Sant' Ignazio di Loyola a Campo Marzio's nave ceiling, which was commissioned after money for a real dome ran out during construction). In addition to his work in Rome, Pozzo also decorated other Jesuit buildings throughout Italy and Europe, including in Vienna, Mondovì, and Frascati.

The exhibition also presents the work of Pozzo's contemporaries—mathematicians, and architects alike—within the context of Roman Jesuit architecture, spirituality, and religious teachings.