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S. Cecilia di Acquasparta:
The Interior


[image ALT: A wide rounded arch with elaborate floral traceries in stucco. It is a detail of the interior of the church of S. Cecilia in Acquasparta, Umbria (central Italy).]

The exterior of this church, austere and even homely, and sharply divided into a Romanesque and a Renaissance zone, doesn't prepare us at all for this: classic 18c lines and a spritz of floral rococo. Here for example is the stuccoed vault of the 2d chapel on the S side of the church, to the visitor's right:


[image ALT: A wide rounded arch with elaborate floral traceries in stucco. It is a detail of the interior of the church of S. Cecilia in Acquasparta, Umbria (central Italy).]


[image ALT: A painting of a hooded and bearded man holding a book in his left hand, which is pierced by a nail hole, and blessing us with his right; he is surrounded by a series of 16 rectangular vignettes depicting groups of people. It is a painting of St. Francis, surrounded by scenes of his life, in the church of S. Cecilia in Acquasparta, Umbria (central Italy).]
S. Francesco d' Assisi
(Painting: oil on canvas, late 14c?)
The 1978 edition of the TCI guide to Umbria says that S. Cecilia houses a number of beautiful 16th- and 17th‑century reliquaries and similar furnishings. I saw nothing of the sort, though, and I hope that either I ran thru the church too fast, or they've been carefully locked away: theft from Italian churches seems to be one of the chief industries of Switzerland, or at least it's thru that country that so much looted art leaves Italy on its journey to unscrupulous dealers. (See my diary for one ancient sculpture, stolen from Acquasparta, that led to the retrieval of other items at the Swiss border.)

The ten chapels, five to a side down the nave, do contain things of beauty, however; of them the painting shown here, in the 5th chapel on the S side, was my favorite (see also this pulled-back view of it in its 18c setting). It depicts St. Francis of Assisi — notice the nail-holes of the stigmata in his hands and feet — surrounded by vignettes that tell the story of his life: among them for example, to his right, his meetings with the Pope, that eventually led to the recognition of his Rule and the official foundation of the Franciscan Order.

It wouldn't be St. Francis of course without the miracle of the birds (lower left corner); might as well see it a bit larger:


[image ALT: A wide rounded arch with elaborate floral traceries in stucco. It is a detail of the interior of the church of S. Cecilia in Acquasparta, Umbria (central Italy).]


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Page updated: 26 Jul 04