Italy Santa Maria Della Vita

13 images 1 contributors Shoot with care

Sue Wolfe

Shoot with care
This is an active church so please dress respectfully. Shoulders should be covered.

About this spot
Nestled in the Quadrilatero district is the Santa Maria Della Vita. Construction of the current church began in 1687. The dome was finished in 1787 and is visible from the Piazza Maggiore. The church was originally small and served the adjoining hospital. The Sanctuary, under Napoleon, became a museum at the end of the 18th century when religious communities were disbanded. It was reopened and is now considered the most important example of Baroque art in Bologna.

It is probably best known for the Compianto sul Cristo Morto (Lamentation over the Dead Christ) by Niccolò dell’Arca, dating back to the 15th century. The sculptures have been called the “Scream of Stone,” and it is easy to see why. The life-size grieving mourners at the death of Christ exhibit expressions of raw grief. It is thought that dell’Arca may have studied the faces of the sick and suffering to achieve such a result. Included in the grouping is Mary Magdalene, Mary of Cleophas, the Apostle John, the Virgin Mary, Mary Salome and Nicodemus.

The exterior is plain with two statues of the founders overlooking the street. However, the interior is ornate with a large dome and several side chapels. The Compianto sul Cristo Morto is in a chapel to the right of the altar.

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