An excellent description of the history that the frescoes of this church have had is described by Raineri, who report
" In the acts of the Holy Pastoral Visits of many dioceses, towards the end of the 16th century, one can find it on almost every page,
the all too often fatal phrase: "mandat dealbari". Even the Monregalese knows how many chapels from the 1400s
were whitewashed by order of the apostolic visitor Scarampi.
It is still told, and the fact is handed down from generation to generation by old local priests, that when it was ordered by the Bishop of Albenga to cover with white the paintings of St. Bernardino of Triora, the order must also apply to those of the church called della Montata near Molini di Triora.
The order of the bishop met resistance from the most authoritative people of the Molini place, and then the Prelate, who was in Sacred Visitation, ordered that the scaffolding be raised immediately to carry out the whitewashing of the walls of the church; and he wanted to assist
in person to these operations.
Since he then had to leave suddenly for Albenga, the Molini family immediately demolished the scaffolding and the work started was no longer continued.
And this is why in the church of Molini the paintings of the presbytery did not suffer the same fate as those of San Bernardino. "
This is what Father Ferraironi tells us in his book (26) with the date and the name of the author of these paintings:
1435 Antonio de Monteregale.
It can almost with certainty be said that this is the only bibliographic citation of this painter that is so important for 15th century Monregalese painting.
The great baroque altar that was erected against the wall of the altar, if it ruined the fresco somewhere and prevented the view for a long time, it also served to protect it from complete destruction, taking into account the disposition of many bishops.
and religious of the 17th and 18th century towards medieval Gothic art.
Since the Reverend Abbot Allaria gave news of these paintings in 1918 and the altar was detached about 90 cm., thanks also to the interest of the parish priest of that time Don Ferdinando Novella, the frescoed wall has always remained behind this golden altar.
As mentioned in the work of Geronimo Raineri (9) together with Dr. Piero Gasco and Renzo Bongioanni they took numerous photographs of these paintings, and the few images that appeared in the above mentioned article allowed, for the first time
to provide an evaluation of Maestro Antonio's art.
The frescoes by Antonio Monregalese in the Church of Montata, now a cemetery chapel, by Molini di Triora cover the whole wall of the altar and the ogival vault of the presbytery.
The side walls, under the shawl, and the triumphal arch above the current span, most likely conceal other paintings.
The part of the altar, 4.90 m long at the base, carries a painted plinth depicting a crenellated wall up to 1.20 m high from the floor.
Above this, for a height of 1.90 m., there is a band with two side panels, which, even if very ruined, allow a glimpse, on the left, of "The Flight into Egypt", and on the right "The Adoration of the Magi".
In the centre is painted a polyptych surmounted by the characteristic Gothic triangular spires, with the Christ of Piety (fig. 3)
in the central tympanum some saints in the others (St. Anthony Abbot).
In the central panel is portrayed the Virgin and Child (fig. 4), on the left S. Lorenzo and S. Giovanni Battista, on the right
S. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Stephen.
In the semicircular bezel, 2.60 m high in the middle, the Crucifixion is represented.
In the centre the figure of Christ (fig. 4) dominates the crowd below, with the grandeur of his stature.
The angels in flight collect the blood coming out of the wounds, and while an angel welcomes the soul,
a little naked little body of the good thief, a devil rips that of the bad thief from the mouth.
The Sorrowful Virgin is supported by the Pious Women; Magdalene is kneeling at the foot of the Cross,
with her blond hair scattered on her mantle, while John is standing upright behind her.
The Longino with joined hands and the crowd of soldiers, Jews and knights, dressed in sumptuous medieval costumes,
rich in brocades huddles around the cross.
Among these stands out the figure of the knight who announces: Vere filius Dei erat iste .
In his studio Raineri has described this great scene in a particular way because if he refers to the Italian tradition
of the Crucifixion with multiple characters as opposed to the French tradition reduced to the essential characters
of the Passion: Christ, the Virgin and St. John, however, it is in the costumes of the Pious Women
of the Virgin and in the gestures of the crowd itself, she feels the echo of the Provençal manner alive.
The sails of the ogival vault carry the images of the four Evangelists in round medallions.
Embedded in a large and accurate frieze there are another 12 smaller medallions with figures of saints.
The frieze, also shown on the ridges, crosses in the centre of a large rose window divided into geometric segments.
Two white rectangles at the sides of the central polyptych bear the following inscription in black semi-gothic characters:
[M] CCCC o XXXV die
[n]ovenbris hoc opus factum
[fuit] a tempore massarum venerabilis domini
petri canis laurencii odi diti
buzhacarinii anthoni robaudi
atque manfredi caponi -
anthonius de montisregalis pin.xit. (3).