Church of Madonna di Fontebianco

Church of Madonna di Fontebianco

Church of Madonna di Fontebianco

The aedicula of the Madonna di Fontebianco stood on an important road junction, it was then incorporated into the Church called today The Church of the Cemetery. The aedicula was frescoed by the Master of Esanatoglia, Diotallevi di Angeluccio, in his youth.

The decoration is developed on the back wall of the bezel and on the side walls. At the bottom is represented the Virgin enthroned with the Child between St. Anatolia, St. Victoria and two praying Angels. On the side walls and on the small barrel vault the decoration appears more damaged; in particular, two saints are visible on the left wall, a younger one holding a pincer (San Cosma or San Damiano), and part of a holy bishop (most likely San Cataldo); on the other hand, the figures on the right wall are not very recognizable.

The representation in the aedicula of some saints confirms the popular religiosity: Saint Anatolia is the patron saint of the city, to her is dedicated the church of the Pieve, there are also several statues of the saint, among them one created by the Master of the Magi, hosted in the Civic art gallery, stands out for its refined forms; San Cataldo, a bishop, is particularly dear to Esanatoglia, to whom is dedicated theperched Hermitage that dominates Esanatoglia from above; finally, the church of the Camaldolese Monastery of Fontebono, which stands in the locality of Cappuccini, from which the frescoes detached and presented in the exhibition in the Civic Art Gallery, were dedicated to Saints Cosma and Damiano.

On the top of the vault, the images of the Agnus Dei and of Christ (or God) blessing are incomplete. The artist, in this fresco, refers to the models of painter Allegretto Nuzi, demonstrating his direct dependence on the Fabriano school of the time, which included Allegretto Nuzi and Francescuccio Ghissi. The Child, held up with open legs on the mother’s left knee, grabs with his left hand a flap of his dress and the gestures of the Madonna recall, in fact, a triptych by Allegretto Nuzi of the Vatican Art Gallery.

On a stylistic level, the sinuous line that defines the contours of the saints, the hands of the Virgin, as well as a naturalistic accent in the tufts of hair that come out of the hood of St. Cosma and in his face veiled by a pinkish halo are worthy of note. The details of the clothing of the saints correspond to the fashion of the time and also recur in Nuzi’s works (the martyrs’ very tight clothes, with flared necklines and long sleeves).


The Master of Esanatoglia, Diotallevi di Angeluccio

Painter active in the second half of the 1300s, of the Fabriano school (pupil of Francescuccio Ghissi da Fabriano). He worked in Esanatoglia, San Severino Marche, Matelica and also in Ancona. In order not to confuse him with the others, he was called “the Master of Esanatoglia“. Although he did not sign some of his works, scholars attribute to him some others in the territory of Esanatoglia:

– the processional banner, the work that made him famous, represents on one side the “Virgin of Mercy” and on the other the “Christ scourged between S. Anatolia and S. Cataldo vescovo”
– the aedicula of the Madonna di Fontebianco, incorporated into the Cemetery Church
– frescoes now detached from the Monastery of SS. Cosma and Damiano of Fonte Bono
– Perhaps the frescoes that decorated the church of S. Maria della Misericordia

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