Church of Saint Maurizio

Church of Saint Maurizio (cimitery)   ,   12070   Castelnuovo di Ceva   (CN)   Italy

The chapel of Saint Maurizio is located inside the cemetery of Castelnuovo di Ceva.

The location of the cemetery and the chapel è slightly elevated and isolated from the town.

It shows externally the aspect of the Romanesque architecture of the XI century, with a gabled facade and wall face. in stone ashlars.
It is a small sacellum with a single nave with the presbyterial area enriched in 1459. by a frescoed wall decoration extended on the walls and on the ogival cross vault.
The lunette of the back wall, beyond the altar, has a pictorial decoration that has not been fully preserved.

According to Raineri can be attributed to the hand of Antonio da Monteregale the frescoes contained in the chapel, dated 1459. They are really very beautiful and very well preserved ! To see !

An extensive documentation of this cycle of frescoes can be found on the volume Antichi affreschi del Monregalese (2) , (3) and subsequently in several articles appeared in the Bulletin of the S.S.A.A. of the Province of Cuneo (5) , (9) , (4) , (6) by Raineri.

These mural paintings, dated October 10, 1459, assume a considerable importance in the context of the discourse undertaken on the Gothic art of Monregalese.
The valuable workmanship and the affinities of manners with other frescoes, put in the foreground this testimony, highly valid, of the style widespread in our region in the second half of the fifteenth century, an era that we can consider as the most fruitful and significant season of the development of art in the Monregalese.
The church, now a cemetery chapel, was certainly the chapel of the Castle, which stood near the hill and of which only remains the square gray stone tower partly ruined, survived the fire that in 1800 completely destroyed the castle.
The tower and the castle date back to the eleventh century and probably the initial chapel must have been older. of the one that currently exists, as shown by the heads carved in sandstone, placed at the base of the ridges of the ogival vault. and the cross always of sandstone leaning against a wall.
The present church has only one nave, with a trussed roof, and only the presbytery is frescoed.
In the sails of the ogival vault are depicted the Evangelists paired with the Doctors of the Church, seated on typical trunks gothic.
At the intersection of the ridges covered with friezes there is a rose window, with a cross in the center.
Both the design and the colors of the rose window repeat almost perfectly those of the chapels of Cerisola, S. Croce a Mondovì Piazza, of the Church of Montata di Molini di Triora and that of S. Fiorenzo di Bastia.
The identity of a frieze or iconographic subject is certainly not enough to assign a specific painting to the hand of the same artist, but until we have more certain elements, even the friezes assume, as Marguerite Roques also asserts, the importance of evidence for some attribution or to be able to at least restrict the search to a more restricted number of artists who worked in these areas in the second half of the 15th century.
In the articles published by Raineri had indicated the name of two masters: Antonio Monregalese and Segurano Cigna, and the affinities found between the works signed by these painters and several existing frescoes in the Monregalese area, and in particular a similarity of manners and style that bring back the echo of Nordic-Provençal painting widely spread both in western Liguria and southern Piedmont.
To confirm this in S. Maurizio it is possible to admire on the lunette above the altar a Crucifixion, reduced to essential characters (Our Lady of Sorrows, St. John and Mary Magdalene at the feet of Christ), that we find again in Prunetto, in Cerisola, and with some more characters at S. Fiorenzo di Bastia.
The shape of the Virgin's habit recalls that of Molini di Triora, of S. Fiorenzo and of the Pious women of Cerisola.
Another common element è the crenellated wall that stands as a background to the Cross, and that together with the others above mentioned reflects the French and Nordic manners.
Under the lunettes are represented S. Maurizio on horseback and S. Michele that weighs the souls.
The hairstyle of the hair and the feathered tiara of the knight recall the same motifs of St. George depicted in the chapel. of S. Nicola in Bardineto and that of the chapel of S. Giorgio in Roccaciglié, all presenting the same refinement of drawing and coloring.
The spatula snout of the horse, that is repeated in the snout of the donkey of the Nativity and of the Adoration of the Magi represented in the right wall, recall the snout of the horses of Molini di Triora and those of S. Fiorenzo di Bastia and the snout of the goat in S. Croce a Mondovì Piazza.
The use of pebble filling of empty spaces, floors and horses' coats is also common to all the paintings of the time.
On the left wall is represented the martyrdom of the Theban Legion.
In the lunette the bishop St. Dionysius (so says the inscription) blesses St. Mauritius and the ranks of the Christian knights.
Under in two squares we see S. Maurizio submitted to judgment and scene of the beheading of the martyrs by means of a primitive guillotine, where it stands out as a symbol of violence the huge wooden hammer brandished by the executioner with both hands.
As in other paintings of the time, the scene of the angels transporting the souls of the two martyrs to heaven in the form of naked bodies is inevitable.
Many are the elements that bring this cycle of frescoes closer to the one signed by Antonio Monregalese at Molini di Triora and beyond those elements already exposed we can notice remarkable similarities of drawing and coloring and so until other evaluations, we can attribute to Antonio's hand also the frescoes of Castelnuovo dated 1459, having executed those of Molini di Triora in 1435.
Since Segurano worked later both in Cerisola in 1461 and Prunetto 1478, he may have learned the Nordic-Provençal manners that we find in his painting from the then older and already established Antonio, who returned from Liguria to work in his native land.








(*Municipality Website of Castelnuovo di Ceva


Church of Saint Maurizio (cimitery)
12070 Castelnuovo di Ceva (CN)
(CN) Italy