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mail: Bill Thayer 
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S. Maria Assunta di Valfabbrica


[image ALT: The interior of a medium-sized but spacious-looking church, roughly 6 meters tall, lit by windows toward the top on either side. It is a view of the interior of the church of S. Maria Assunta in Valfabbrica, Umbria (central Italy).]

Built in 1959‑60, the parish church of Valfabbrica is interesting not so much for its exterior, which is not a success, but for the late‑20c interior decoration.

The most prominent artwork is a series of large paintings by Valfabbrican artist Ennio Bocacci (1985): 2 of them above, flanking the altar, but principally the monumental triptych over the door of the church, depicting not so much the Last Judgment, but Heaven and Hell:


[image ALT: A large wall decorated with three roughly rectangular paintings, several meters tall; flanked by two vertical groups of 3 rectangular stained glass windows. It is a view of a modern monumental triptych in the church of S. Maria Assunta in Valfabbrica, Umbria (central Italy).]
For some further detail, see this perspective-corrected view.
The windows on either side tell the early life of Jesus, with an emphasis on his family.

The painting is primarily noteworthy as a theological explication of Hell: the damned are in their own dark world, separated from the love of God; to them the radiance of Heaven appears as flame.

In style and treatment Bocacci owes much to Norman Rockwell; his depiction of the blessed is a resounding affirmation of middle class values:


[image ALT: A painting of a family group: a man and a woman, seated, and a small boy, an older girl, and a young adult woman; above them, other portraits of people in 20c clothing, or no clothing at all. It is a detail of a modern painting in the church of S. Maria Assunta in Valfabbrica, Umbria (central Italy).]
[decorative delimiter]

I've been unable, on the other hand, to discover who made the glazed ceramic tabernacle over the altar. I like it:


[image ALT: A glazed ceramic sculpture of twelve men at a table: it represents the Last Supper, of course. It is the tabernacle over the main altar of the church of S. Maria Assunta in Valfabbrica, Umbria (central Italy).]

The Last Supper.

Christ's halo has a raised edge, and the others are anisotropic, so to speak: decorated only on the front. The number of dots, different for each of the apostles, probably doesn't reflect their canonical order of precedence — but leaves me wondering just the same.


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Page updated: 30 Jul 04