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S. Croce di Apecchio: the Interior

[image ALT: A small flat closet-like box, maybe 25 cm tall and 20 cm wide, surmounted by a wooden cross of the same size again. It is the tabernacle on the main altar of the little church of S. Croce in Apecchio, Marche (central Italy).]

On a blustery day in early April of 2004, I stood in this church for all of two or three minutes maybe: it's not very big, I saw no remarkable works of art, and I'm as much at a loss for information now on S. Croce as I was then; but why I didn't take a general view of the interior, I have no idea.

The tabernacle on the main altar that you see here, though, gives you a good feeling for the room. It's small, and simple, and made of wood, and sits on a molding not of marble, but of faux-marbre: wood again, painted to look like the more expensive material — a subterfuge now so common in Italian churches that there's really no pretense to it any more.

[image ALT: A carved stone angel. It is a detail of a baptismal font in the church of S. Croce in Apecchio, Marche (central Italy).]
Close-up of the medieval baptismal font.

The font is equally simple — see also this fuller view (notice the bell-pull to the belfry above) — but there's a bit more to it. The carving is a bit rough, yet the design is elegant. The Adoration of the Cross is a Byzantine theme: in the early Middle Ages, Apecchio was part of the so‑called "Byzantine corridor", a narrow strip of land connecting Ravenna to Rome; if it's a bit odd to see the motif on a baptismal font, a very appropriate connection can be made with the passage in the New Testament in which Jesus eventually heals a man at the Pool of Bethesda —

And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.

(John 5:4, Douay-Rheims version)

If I were pressed, I'd date the carving to the 13c.

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Page updated: 4 May 05