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S. Niccolò in Matigge:
The Interior


[image ALT: It is a view of the interior of the church of S. Niccolò near Matigge, Umbria (central Italy).]

The 12c chapel accommodates about 20 worshippers:
standing in the entrance we see nearly all of it.

Matigge is not a big place and its church isn't fancy: it's just a place where people have been going to pray for 800 years; and as with countless other small churches in Italy, the frescoes on the walls are not so much decoration — and certainly not showpieces by famous artists — as a sort of prayer painted rather than spoken.


[image ALT: It is a view of the interior of the church of S. Niccolò near Matigge, Umbria (central Italy).]

Over the altar: Crucifixion (2d half of the 15c) with SS. Bernardino da Siena, Claire, Sebastian, Rocco, and Francis. A sixth saint has gone missing.

The fresco we see above is an example; it's not the most successful painting in the church. Not only is the execution awkward, but the iconography as well: the artist, maybe under compulsion from S. Niccolò's parishioners, has crammed in too many saints, rather like the

". . . young man from Japan,

Whose verse just didn't scan:

When asked why this was so,

He said, "I don't know;

Maybe it's because I try to fit as many words in the last line as I possibly can."

At any rate, we have:

My candidate for the missing saint on the right is S. Nicola — not the bishop though: rather, the priest of Tolentino.

The peculiar colors are the result of serious water damage; but water won't transpose words:


[image ALT: The titulus, reading 'IRNI' rather than the correct 'INRI', in a painting of the Crucifixion. It is a detail of a fresco in the church of S. Niccolò near Matigge, Umbria (central Italy).]

The titulus over the cross. It ought to read INRI, for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, but reads IRNI instead.

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Page updated: 5 Nov 04