Cappella di Villa Suardi

Description

This wonderfully decorated chapel was built after the dissolution of a vow: the client, the powerful aristocrat Battista Suardi, wanted to show his loyalty to the Church of Rome, during a period characterized by the Protestant Reformation and mercenary raids.

Therefore, in 1523 he called the master Lorenzo Lotto and asked him to decorate the oratory, called “chapel”, inside his mansion in Trescore Balneario, at the beginning of Cavallina Valley. It’s easy to understand the deep meaning of this extraordinary work conceived by the artist, as he intended to celebrate Christ’s victory over the evil. 

The frescoes painted on the main walls represent the histories of Saint Barbara and Saint Brigida from Ireland; instead, on the back wall you will find the episodes of the life of Saint Catherine Martyr from Alexandria and of the redeemed Magdalene.


Saint Barbara was a Roman noblewoman who had secretly converted herself to the Christian faith: in just one sequence, Lotto describes her escape from the father, who wanted to force her to get married, then the trial and the martyrdom. On the other side, the artist depicts Saint Brigida’s vocation and her miracles, using single isolated frames. 

Try to spot the Gospel sentence “Ego sum Vitis, Vos Palmites” (“I am the Vine, you are the Branches”) painted above the imposing figure of the Christ-Vine, in the middle of the Chapel’s northern wall, over the history of Saint Barbara. Christ is portrayed as a miracle Vine: branches grow from Him, intertwining with the medallions depicting the Saints.

This decoration represents the opposition to those heretics who try to harvest the grapes of Christ, which is the Church, and the exaltation of the good deeds carried out by the two Saints.
Lotto’s frescoes follow a realistic narration, using cold shades: you will admire a pure and clean light, almost transparent, enlightening the paintings. Looking up, you will also observe a fake arbour on the ceiling, with a bright blue background obtained by using some actual wood beams.

Out of curiosity:

Look carefully: above the main door, you will find Lotto’s self-portrait dressed as a bird hunter, carrying an owl and a bundle of branches on his back.

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This wonderfully decorated chapel was built after the dissolution of a vow: the client, the powerful aristocrat Battista Suardi, wanted to show his loyalty to the Church of Rome, during a period characterized by the Protestant Reformation and mercenary raids.

Therefore, in 1523 he called the master Lorenzo Lotto and asked him to decorate the oratory, called “chapel”, inside his mansion in Trescore Balneario, at the beginning of Cavallina Valley. It’s easy to understand the deep meaning of this extraordinary work conceived by the artist, as he intended to celebrate Christ’s victory over the evil. 

The frescoes painted on the main walls represent the histories of Saint Barbara and Saint Brigida from Ireland; instead, on the back wall you will find the episodes of the life of Saint Catherine Martyr from Alexandria and of the redeemed Magdalene.


Saint Barbara was a Roman noblewoman who had secretly converted herself to the Christian faith: in just one sequence, Lotto describes her escape from the father, who wanted to force her to get married, then the trial and the martyrdom. On the other side, the artist depicts Saint Brigida’s vocation and her miracles, using single isolated frames. 

Try to spot the Gospel sentence “Ego sum Vitis, Vos Palmites” (“I am the Vine, you are the Branches”) painted above the imposing figure of the Christ-Vine, in the middle of the Chapel’s northern wall, over the history of Saint Barbara. Christ is portrayed as a miracle Vine: branches grow from Him, intertwining with the medallions depicting the Saints.

This decoration represents the opposition to those heretics who try to harvest the grapes of Christ, which is the Church, and the exaltation of the good deeds carried out by the two Saints.
Lotto’s frescoes follow a realistic narration, using cold shades: you will admire a pure and clean light, almost transparent, enlightening the paintings. Looking up, you will also observe a fake arbour on the ceiling, with a bright blue background obtained by using some actual wood beams.

Out of curiosity:

Look carefully: above the main door, you will find Lotto’s self-portrait dressed as a bird hunter, carrying an owl and a bundle of branches on his back.