Church of St. Mary of Servants

Church of Santa Maria dei Servi

The trefoil arches are made of brick. A bell tower, designed in the neoclassical style by architect Giovanni Santini, was added against the church in the mid-19th century.

The interior, redone in the 17th century, has stucco decorations in the Baroque style; of particular interest are the beautiful wooden choir and the large Sacristy cupboard, commissioned in 1628 from Giuseppe di Francesco Bendini of Montepulciano. On the first altar on the right, a fresco depicting Our Lady of the Star among Saints, in a Perugian setting, was brought to light by demolishing part of the Baroque stucco. Of particular scenic effect is the Baroque altar flanked by stucco statues in the style of Bernini, depicting Blessed Giacomo Villa and Blessed Matteo Lazzari.

The damaged Deposition from the Cross of 1517 by Pietro Vannucci known as Perugino, is one of the high points of his artistic production, dating to a few years of his death. Here the master also looks to the pathos of Raphael, his former pupil, now on his way to immortal fame. In fact, Christ shows many similarities to the Urbino artist's work. The episode of Mary's fainting, echoing the similar subject depicted by Giotto in the basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, underscores how Perugino continues to make himself an interpreter of that typically Umbrian world of lauds, which have their roots in the medieval period.

The master depicts the scene in his highly original vision of extreme formal synthesis, almost impressionistic, in the quick touches of the landscape, while at the same time emphasizing the drama of the event. The fresco, hidden in a cavity wall, was rediscovered in 1834 by the German Antoine Remboux. After him the fresco impressed numerous painters including the Nazarenes, Purists, and Preraphaelites, who understood it as a source of inspiration for their Romantic sensibilities.

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