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The Oratory of Lentate sul Seveso: sacred, votive and colorful frescoes inspired by Giotto in Lombardy

Friday 05 march 2021

The frescoes of the Oratory of Saint Stephen Protomartyr in Lentate sul Seveso in Lombardy: examples of 14th century Lombard painting, inspired by Giotto's models renewed by the Signoria of Milano and by the painter Giovanni da Milano

The Oratory of Lentate sul Seveso: sacred, votive and colorful frescoes inspired by Giotto in Lombardy

The Oratory of Saint Stephan in Lentate sul Seveso, in the province of Monza and Brianza, near Milan, was built in 1369 by Stefano Porro, a trusted man of the Visconti seigniory of Milan, and he was also their ambassador to the court of Emperor Charles IV of Boemia. The Lordship of the Porro was present in Lentate sul Seveso from the second half of the fourteenth century with feudal property or rights.

The nobleman Porro built the Oratory to dedicate himself a privileged place of prayer and to follow the fashion of the time: to have a place of private worship. The building respects the typical plan of the fourteenth century noble chapel: a single nave with a presbytery, the construction technique is composed of river pebbles and bricks bound by lime mortar.

The simple architectural structure is in strict dependence on the pictorial decoration, and is partly referred to the painter and miniaturist Anovelo da Imbonate. He was the pupil of Giovanni da Milano, who was a disciple of Giotto. On the lunette of the entrance door is the Imago Pietatis: it's the iconography of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The cyrcle of frescoes along the nave is dedicated to the story of the life of Saint Stephen Protomartyr. This cyrcle was inspired by Act of the Apostles and by hagiographic Legenda Aurea also. The main fresco is the Crucifixion by Anovelo da Imbonate.

The other frescoes are works by painters called Masters of Lentate, exponents of the pictorial school of the International Gothic.

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