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Oratorio Santa Cecilia

Bologna's 'Sistine Chapel'

Decapitation of Valeriano by Amico Aspterini

In 1504, Giovanni Bentivoglio commissioned the decoration of this oratory from the same masters who frescoed his chapel in the nearby the church of San Giacomo Maggiore: Lorenzo Costa, Il Francia and Amico Aspertini, along with some of their students and helpers.

They gave him his money's worth with their frescoes on the Lives of SS. Valeriano and Cecilia, all recently restored by Genus Bononiae.

The story is rather obscure, so here it is scene by scene, and the artists who painted them:

Panel 1 Marriage of Cecilia and Valerian (Francia). Cecilia was a noble Christian convert forced by her parents to marry the pagan Valerian. During her wedding, her story goes that she 'sang in her heart to the Lord' that Valerian would become a Christian and respect her vows of virginity.

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Renaissance Art and Architecture

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Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by PD Art