San Sisto, Piacenza

San Sisto is a Renaissance style, Roman Catholic church, located in Piacenza, Region of Emilia Romagna, Italy.

Mannerist facade.

History

The church and an adjacent convent and hospital were founded in 874 by Queen Angilberga, wife of the Emperor Louis the Pious. She had been exiled some years after in death, but in 882, she was allowed to return to Italy, where she became abbess of the Benedictine convent, persumably this one.

The monastery became wealthy due the granting of significant privileges and properties in northern Italy. Over the centuries, several orders of monks and nuns competed for control of this monastery until 1425, when it was assigned to the Benedictine order of Monte Cassino. In 1499, they commissioned the present church from Alessio Tramello, which was consecrated in 1511.

The facade, in St Benedict, but the female saints Barbara and Martina are represented only by busts nestled above the side windows.

The adjacent Renaissance style monastery (1591-1596) is owned by the military and closed to visitors. The cloister has a number of medallions frescoed by Bernardino Zacchetti

The interior has chapels frescoed by Antonio and Vincenzo Campi, there is an altarpiece and a in the choir of massacre of the innocents by Camillo Procaccini and another painting by Jacopo Palma il Giovane in the choir. The cupola at the center of the transept was frescoed by Bernardino Zacchetti.

At the end of the Nave, in the choir of the apse is a copy of the Raphael's Sistine Madonna attributed to Pietro Antonio Avanzini.[2] To the great loss of Piacenza, the Benedictines pawned off the original in 1754 to Augustus III, King of Poland for the lordly sum of twelve thousand zecchini. The painting is now one of the masterpieces on display at the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden;

To the left of the transept is the altar and tomb dedicated to Margaret of Parma, designed by Simone Moschino. On the facing side is the monumental chapel of St Barbara (1926), patron saint of artillery men. The nave ceiling is painted with a pattern of a cassettoni or geometric squares on a barrel ceiling.[3]

References

  1. ^ Nuovissima guida della città di Piacenza con alquanti cenni topografici, statistici, e storici, by Tipografia Domenico Tagliaferri, Piazza de' Cavalli, #55, Piacenza (1842); Page 114.
  2. ^ Avanzini died in 1733, before the painting was sold.
  3. ^ Comune of Piacenza, church entry.

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