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Oratory of Santa Maria dei Bianchi

The Oratory of Santa Maria dei Bianchi, formerly the Oratory of the Disciplinati, is located in the centre of Città della Pieve. The church is one of the city’s three parish churches, and part of a museum circuit along a city route that also includes the Palazzo della Corgna, the Museo Civico Diocesano di Santa Maria dei Servi, the cathedral, the church of San Pietro and the oratory of San Bartolomeo

From some documents we know that the church already existed in the 14th century and had a hospital attached to it, which later became a hospice. Beginning in the 18th century, construction started on a new church, on the structure of the previous one. In 1743 work on the interior was completed, and in 1772 the facade was begun, which was finished around 1780. The latter was influenced by both Rococo and Neoclassical tastes.

 

Worth seeing inside are frescoes and canvases by Roman painter Giovanni Miselli, 1743-1744, the Presentation in the Temple on the high altar and stucco work by Stefano Cremoni. The organ on the counter-façade, the work of Claudio Carletti da Fabriano, is very interesting. The fresco in the sacristy by Antonio Circignani is worth mentioning; it depicts The Presentation of Mary in the Temple from 1606, and has been unfortunately ruined by moisture.

Inside this church, in 1504 the friars invited the painter Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, to paint the entire back wall with the scene of the Adoration of the Magi, one of his greatest masterpieces. He carried out the work with such speed that he finished it the same year. It is one of the master’s greatest and most complex works. The Nativity scene he conceived and largely executed is undoubtedly one of his most beautiful works: from the splendid landscape represented in the background, to the fineness of the characters, very numerous in this composition, with thirty life-size figures and more smaller ones. The central part is the most carefully executed and shows that Perugino put all his ingenuity to work in the part that most attracts the eye of the observer, leaving the lateral groups of figures to his assistants.

 

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