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Bellinzago Novarese (Novara, Italy): Church of San Clemente

Foto Church of San Clemente
Foto Church of San Clemente
Foto Church of San Clemente
Foto Church of San Clemente
Foto Church of San Clemente
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Places  of historical value  of artistic value around Milan (Italy): Church of San ClementeThe Church of San Clemente in Bellinzago Novarese is mentioned for the first time in a document dated 1347.
The building was rebuilt in the sixteenth century and consecrated in 1595 by the bishop Carlo Bascapè.
In the seventeenth century the sacristy was built. In 1724 the bell tower was erected, which was then raised in 1827.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the increase in population led to the decision to radically enlarge and renovate the church. The architect Alessandro Antonelli was entrusted with the work, whose project basically involved the construction of a new church in the neoclassical style which would have kept only the facade of the previous one. The initial project was then resized, because it was too demanding economically, with the renunciation of some non-essential elements such as the external porticos. The works took a long time, so much so that the interior was only completed by Alessandro Antonelli's son, Costanzo, after 1890.
The originally Baroque facade was restored in 1931.

The church is of considerable size, in relation to the town in which it is located. The layout is a Latin cross, with the bell tower placed immediately behind the façade, on the left.
Apart from the facade, the entire building is in exposed brick. It should be noted that outside the church is significantly longer than inside, because behind the transept and the apse there is an entire wing leaning against the back of the church where also the chapels of the two brotherhoods of the Blessed Sacrament and of Our Lady of the Rosary are located (Fig. 5).
The facade, of Baroque origin, is elegant and sober. Its two orders are separated by a frame and marked by pilasters, with a Doric capital and resting on a high base in the lower order, and with an Ionic capital in the upper order. There are three entrances, one main central and two secondary side entrances. The façade is enriched by a large serliana in the upper order and by nine statues of saints (Saints Cristina, Adolfo, Maria Ausiliatrice, Grato di Aosta, Clement Pope, Francis of Assisi, Giovanni Bosco, Pacifico and Teresa), of which five inside niches on the facade and four above the large pediment placed at the top of the facade itself.

The interior should comprehend three naves. The central one, with a barrel vault with lunettes, is however much higher and wider than the lateral ones, almost reduced to ambulatories. The side aisles are covered with domes, one per span.

The central nave is divided from the lateral ones by large round arches resting on pillars embellished with gray-green marble half-columns ending with Corinthian capitals supporting a frame. Note that columns and cornice are present along the entire perimeter of the church, including the semicircular apse. The vault of the central nave is divided into panels in the manner of coffers, some of which are occupied by representations of characters from the Old and New Testament.

In the center of the transept there is a large semicircular dome with a lantern. Divided into eight parts, it contains hexagonal panels with depictions of saints and martyrs. Friezes run around the lantern and inside rectangular panels there are roundels with painted faces.
The presbytery is separated from the nave by a marble balustrade and houses the high altar, also in polychrome marble, which is dominated by a central aedicule supported by small columns with cherubs.
The apse is semicircular. The apsidal basin is decorated with rhomboidal geometric motifs, with a semicircular window and a lantern that illuminates the interior. On the apse wall there are two organs, one on the right and one on the left. The lower part of the back wall is occupied by the stalls of the wooden choir.
The church has three side chapels on each side, all with the same structure, shallow and with the dome of the side span corresponding to it almost appearing as the dome of the chapel. All the domes are decorated with scenes of cherubs in the clouds. Each time, however, a detail is added that recalls the contents of the chapel in front of which the small dome is located.
On the left you have, starting from the entrance:

  • Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary: The polychrome marble altar is dominated by a large retable also in polychrome marble with architectural structure and in the center of which, in a niche, there is a statue of the Virgin of the Rosary. Note the tromple l'oeil decoration on the back wall to simulate a drape supported by cherubs. In the dome are painted putti carrying a rosary to heaven.

  • Chapel of the Crucifix: The altar and the retable are in gray and black marble. In the large niche in the center of the retable, closed by a glass, there is a large crucifix.

  • Chapel of the Immaculate Virgin: Also in this case, altar and altarpiece in polychrome marble with, in the center of the retable, a large niche protected by a glass and containing a statue of the Virgin crushing the snake. At the apex of the retable two cherubs support the crown.

  • At the head of the right aisle there is the baptismal font, protected by a wrought iron gate.

  • On the right there are instead:
  • Chapel of Maria Child: The altar houses a small urn containing a simulacrum of Mary Child.

  • Chapel of the Holy Family (Fig. 4): The altar is dominated by a large retable with architectural structure that frames an altarpiece depicting the Holy Family. At the apex of the retable there are two putti seated holding golden garlands in their hands.

  • Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows: Altar and retable are in red and gray marble. Inside the niche in the center of the retable there is a statue of the Virgin with a stylus in the heart.

Finally, there are the two arms of the transept.
The right one is longer and houses the scurolo with two superimposed urns containing the simulacra and relics of St. Pacificus and St. Christine (Fig. 3). They are located inside an aedicule temple with pink marble columns designed and built by Costanzo Antonelli in 1891. The dome is decorated with the two saints in glory among the clouds surrounded by cherubs. On the back wall, in a position that is actually not very visible, there is a large canvas of the Virgin donating the rosary. The left arm of the transept instead has an altar dedicated to Corpus Domini whose altarpiece depicts the Supper of Emmaus. Alongside there are niches with statues.
Finally, the pulpit is worthy of note, with a parapet decorated with gilded wood panels and cherub heads and supported by three putti holding a golden cloth in their hands.

Categories: Places of historical value of artistic value

Via De Medici, 10, 28043 Bellinzago Novarese NO
Further pictures of Church of San Clemente in the section Photography
Bellinzago Novarese (Novara, Italy): Base of the pulpit of the Church of San Clemente
Bellinzago Novarese (Novara, Italy): Transept of the Church of San Clemente
Bellinzago Novarese (Novara, Italy): Interior of the Church of San Clemente
Bellinzago Novarese (Novara, Italy): Ceiling of the transept of the Church of San Clemente