Views 1021 at January – 21 – 2013
World Monuments Fund Watch
Belongs to the Ministry for the Goods and the Cultural Activities of Italy
Nikon D300 Sigma 15/30
The Collegiate Church of Castell’Arquato – Piacenza – Italy
Ancient chronicles tell about a high-medieval church in Castell’arquato founded in 758 by the nobleman Magno dedicated to Maria Assunta and donated to the bishop of Piacenza in 772. Nothing remains of the building, apart from a still preserved high-medieval round baptismal font, that was probably connected to the church. According to chronicles, the so called parish church dating back to 1059 was seriously damaged by the earthquake in 1117, but was immediately rebuilt. In 1122 it was concescrated by the bishop Aldo, and it was probably finished soon afterwards, since the architectural structure is homogeneous, i.e. probably built in a single building campaign. The church has undergone several restorations since 1911 and researchers have compared it to S. Savino’s Basilica in Piacenza, for the width of the central nave (which is double with respect to the side naves) and for some elements, like the compound piers and the double arcading. The parish church of Castell’arquato may be also connected to Lanfranco’s school and culture, and is therefore very important to understand the development of the romanesque art in Emilia. In effect, both the architectural structure and the low relief decorations likely date back to the 12th century, as well as the sculptures at the sides of the main altar and of the apse altars; according to some researchers, they are parts of a choir enclosure dating back to the 12th century. Most of the sculptured and decorated capitals also belong to this period. The sculptures located at the entrance portal of the western portico (Portico del Paradiso) are worth mentioning. We must also mention S. Caterina d’Alessandria Chapel, built at the beginning of the 15th century, and S. Giuseppe Chapel, built in 1630 as “ex voto” for the end of the plague.