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Ecclesiastical Politics as Reflected in the Mural Paintings of San Pietro al Monte at Civate

Ecclesiastical Politics as Reflected in the Mural Paintings of San Pietro al Monte at Civate

By Naomi Meiri-Dann

Assaph – Studies in Art History, Vol.6 (2001)

Introduction: The church of San Pietro al Monte Pedale sopra Civate (Lecco, Lombardy) stands on the slopes of Monte Pedale, high above the village of Civate, and can only be reached only by a strenuous climb up a mule trail. Near it lies the socalled oratorio di San Benedetto, a small structure whose original function is unclear.. These two edifices are the remains of a Benedictine monastery established, according to legend, by Desiderius, the last Lombard king, in the 8th century. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times, deserted and resettled, gradually declining until being finally abandoned in 1798. A second church, which belonged to the monastery and was dedicated to San Calogero, sits at the foot of the mountain.

The present church of San Pietro and the “oratorio” of San Benedetto are believed by most scholars to date from the third quarter of the 11th century. It was probably during the last decade of the same century that some changes were made to the edifice of the church and it was decorated with mural paintings and stucco reliefs.

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