Church of Santa Maria Maggiore - Spello

Church of Santa Maria Maggiore - Spello

Founded in the 11th-12th centuries, the church of Santa Maria Maggiore (also known as the Collegiate Church) has a façade dating from 1644, made when the building was enlarged. Note the architrave, the jambs with a beautiful frieze and acanthus spirals of the portal, the work of sculptors active in the 12th-13th centuries between Foligno and Bevagna and partly attributable to Spoleto craftsmen. The church is divided into two parts: on the right is the priory palace, which is now inhabited by the parish priest, and on the left is the Palazzo dei Canonici (from 1522), which today houses Spello’s Municipal Picture-gallery. The church is in the shape of a Latin cross and has a cross-vaulted nave. In the second half of the 17th century, it was equipped with as many as seven altars and rich stucco decoration. On the altars are numerous works attributable to the 17th century.

To the right of the entrance is a marble altar by Gaius Titienus Flaccus (now used as a stoup) that has been in in Santa Maria Maggiore since the 15th century; next to it is a pyx-shaped marble baptistery, by Gasparino da Val di Lugano (1509-1511).

After the left altar along the left wall is the Baglioni Chapel, commissioned in 1500 by Troilo Baglioni from the artist Bernardino di Betto, known as Pinturicchio (Perugia, c. 1452-Siena, December 11, 1513). It features a richly decorated Deruta majolica floor from 1566. The chapel is entirely decorated in fresco by the artist, starting with the vault sails with the Tiburtine, Eritrean, European and Samian sibyls seated on thrones; on the left wall, an Annunciation with self-portrait and signature of the artist. On the back wall, an Adoration of the Shepherds and Arrival of the Magi, and on the right wall, Christ among the Doctors in the Temple.

Also along the left wall, note the Renaissance sandstone pulpit by Simone da Campione (1545). The high altar is covered by the ciborium (or tribune) in caciolfa stone by Rocco di Tommaso da Vicenza (1515). In the roundels are eight terracotta heads by Giandomenico da Carrara: Prophets (1562).

At the pillars flanking the apse two works by Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, Pieta, St. John the Evangelist, and Magdalene on the left, removed from an unknown location (work dated 1521) and on the right, Madonna and Child, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Blaise, removed from unknown location (work dated 1521).


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