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Busto Arsizio (Varese, Italy): Church of St. Anthony Abbot

Foto Church of St. Anthony Abbot
Foto Church of St. Anthony Abbot
Foto Church of St. Anthony Abbot
Foto Church of St. Anthony Abbot
Foto Church of St. Anthony Abbot
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Church of St. Anthony AbbotThe church was built, in its original version, in 1363 as seat first of the brotherhood of St. Anthony and then of that of the Blessed Sacrament. It was modified in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In particular, in the years 1669-72 the ceiling was redone, which took on the aspect it retains, with a barrel vault with lunettes in correspondence with the windows.
However, the current form of the church is mainly due to the radical restructuring that was carried out in the years 1793-1794 under the direction of Giuseppe Gaeta. Further changes were made in 1889 by Carlo Maciachini, who created a very elaborated new facade. In 1939, however, the decorative coating added by Maciachini was removed and the facade and was reduced to bare plaster. The insertion of the statue of the titular saint in the niche above the door dates back to 1975. The church is now also used for art exhibitions.

Currently the church has a very simple facade (Fig. 1), divided vertically by pilasters into three parts (almost simulating an internal structure with three naves which is completely non-existent) and as the only decorations three smaller niches occupied by statues plus a much larger one in the center at the top left empty.
The interior is much richer (larger picture), with an almost square plan, with the walls marked by pilasters with an Ionic capital and a barrel vault with an elliptical cross-section and lunettes in correspondence with the large rectangular windows. The vault (Fig. 2) is divided into four spans, with the second wider than the others, and is completely frescoed with neoclassical decorative motifs. In the center of the wider span there is an elliptical fresco painted in 1880 by Luigi Tagliaferri and depicting the glory of St. Anthony Abbot, in the center of the fourth the dove symbol of the holy spirit enclosed by a mixtilinear frame.
The presbytery is not structurally distinct from the nave, but only delimited by a polychrome marble balustrade which extends along the entire width of the nave. The side walls of the presbytery are enriched by two small boxes, where the one on the left is only a decoration and not really reachable.
The altar in polychrome marble dates back to the Baroque period. On it there is a large retable with architectural structure, decorated on the top with putti and cherub heads. In the center a mixed-line frame with an altarpiece inside depicting the Virgin with the Saints Anthony and Carlo Borromeo, painted around 1600 by Giovan Pietro Gnocchi.
On the counter façade there are three large canvases:
  • On the left, Vision of San Bernardino from Siena, seventeenth century canvas by Antonio Crespi Castoldi
  • In the center, The glory of the Blessed Sacrament (Giuseppe Mariani, 1728)
  • On the right, Virgin and Saints Bernardino from Siena, Chiara, Leone from Perego and Leone from Lodi painted by Salvatore Bianchi, early eighteenth century
On the side walls, inside four niches, there are statues of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century of the holy bishops Barnabas, Biagio, Ambrose and Augustine.
At the center of the right wall there is also a much larger niche with a wood dough crucifix from the early sixteenth century inside.
In the nave there is also a seventeenth century organ originally placed on the right balcony of the presbytery and restored in 1990.
Finally, the sacristy deserves to be mentioned, with a beautiful wooden ceiling and in which there are two large solid and carved wood wardrobes.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value

Piazza Santa Maria, 21017 Busto Arsizio VA