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Soncino (Cremona, Italy): Church of San Giacomo

Foto Church of San Giacomo
Foto Church of San Giacomo
Foto Church of San Giacomo
Foto Church of San Giacomo
Foto Church of San Giacomo
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Church of San GiacomoThe Church of San Giacomo was erected in the middle of the twelfth century on the area of a more ancient hospice for pilgrims and held by the Augustinian Canons of San Cataldo of Cremona for three years (1361-1364) and later by the Dominicans (1428-1798), who built the adjacent convent complex of San Giacomo. The Romanesque structure was reformed between 1595 and 1630 to give it the current Baroque appearance. It is due to the Augustinian Canons the erection of the heptagonal bell tower, probably unique in Italy. It is enriched by single-lancet windows and terracotta decorations with interwoven blind arches. Between 1456 and 1468, the (still existing) cloister was built, on the project of the Dominican Maffeo Caleppio. Subsequently the apse area, the crypt and the raised presbytery were rebuilt.
In 1510 the church was lengthened by the addition of a further span. The work required the demolition of the fa├žade and the prothyrum of the fourteenth century. In 1595 the old wooden truss ceiling was replaced by masonry vaults, while in 1630 the side chapels were built. The seventeenth-century renewal in Baroque style also affected the facade, with the replacement of the rose window with a serliana and with the addition of the curvilinear frame in the upper part.
Unfortunately, the church experienced a period of decline starting from 1798, the year in which the convent was suppressed. After that year several chapels were altered and broken up.

In contrast to the rather inconspicuous facade the interior of the church is beautifully frescoed in Baroque style. The presence of a crypt under the raised presbytery, however, makes evident the older origin of the church.
The rich fresco decoration of the interior, which celebrates the main Dominican saints, is due to the brothers from Cremona Alessandro and Giuseppe Natali, who executed it in 1696, with the help of the quadraturists Pietro Ferrari and Antonio Sirone. In particular, the vault of the choir is dedicated to St. Thomas Aquinas and the presbytery to St. Dominic.
The soft and enveloping color tones are enhanced by the light coming from the windows under the sail vaults.

Among the twelve chapels in the church (six on each side) worthy of note are in particular:

  • Chapel of Our Lady of the Spasm: First right. On the left wall there is a fresco depicting the Lady of Sorrows, ie the Virgin pierced by swords, symbolizing the pain for the dead son which she holds on her legs. The fresco, one of the few remains of Gothic decoration, dates back to around 1470-1480. There is also a terracotta sculpture group depicting the Lamentation over the Dead Christ, probably the work of Agostino de Fondulis (or Fondutis) dating back between fifteenth and sixteenth century. The sculptural group was once polychrome, so to possess an even greater realism.
    Above it there is a painting by the Brazier Mannerist Grazio Cossali, depicting the Fall of Christ under the Cross and the Veronica.

  • Chapel of St. James: Second to the right. It contains an ancon with a wooden statue executed in 1917 depicting St. James. The altar table rests on two angel heads of exquisite baroque taste.

  • Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament: It presents an altar and ancon of 1776-1777, a fine example of an elaborate polychrome work of marble inlay. Above the altar, an altarpiece from 1530 by Francesco Carminati on the theme of the Eucharistic Christ.

  • Chapel of San Vincenzo Ferreri: Fourth to the right. In it is present, in a neoclassical stucco frame, an eighteenth-century painting by Antonio Dusi from Brescia, depicting S. Vincenzo Ferrer who resurrects the son torn to pieces by a mad mother.

  • Chapel of Sant'Antonino: Fifth on the right (Fig. 5). In it there is, inside a monumental carved wooden colorful ancon, a large altarpiece depicting the Virgin with the Child in Glory between the Saints St. James, Francis and Anthony presenting the donor Vincenzo Cerioli. It is a work of Cremonese Uriele Gatti, who also built the ancon.

The raised presbytery and apse were built around 1470. The two polychrome windows on the bottom are from the end of the fifteenth century, work by Ambrosino da Termoli, while the choir in inlaid walnut wood is from the years 1507-1508. The main altar is a valuable work in inlaid polychrome marbles, executed in 1667 by Bartolomeo Manari da Gazzaniga. Above it there is an altarpiece from the second half of the eighteenth century depicting St. James with the wizards Hermogenes and Filate.
The Baroque frescoes on the walls and on the ceiling are, as mentioned above, of 1696.

The crypt (Fig. 3) is called of Santa Corona ("of the Holy Crown") because it houses a fragment of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus. In the lunettes under the ceiling there are stations of the Via Crucis coming from an oratory in Viadana and seventeenth-century works by Domenico Savi (one of them in Fig. 4).
On the side walls of the presbytery there are two sixteenth century frescoes depicting the Encounter of Christ with the mother on the road to the Calvary and the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin.

The church is also associated with the beautiful Cloister of St. James the Apostle, with Gothic arcades.

The church houses various valuable paintings.

See also:
Page about Soncino on this web site

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value

26026, Via S. Pio V, 26029 Soncino CR
Further pictures of Church of San Giacomo in the section Photography
Soncino (Cremona, Italy): Interior of the Church of San Giacomo
Soncino (Cremona, Italy): Staircase of the presbytery of the Church of San Giacomo
Soncino (Cremona, Italy): Chapel of Sant'Antonino in the Church of San Giacomo
Soncino (Cremona, Italy): Pulpit and presbytery of the Church of San Giacomo
Soncino (Cremona, Italy): Stairs toward the presbytery of the Church of San Giacomo
Soncino (Cremona, Italy): Assumption and coronation of the Virgin in the Church of San Giacomo