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San Vincenzo (Modena)

Unluckiest Church in Modena

San Vincenzo

Even in this city of overwrought churches, San Vincenzo stands out. It was a project of the Theatines, a powerful and aristocratic religious order that in the mid-16th century had the full backing of the popes. The Theatines built churches that were perfect exemplars of the Counter-reformation ideals of beauty and spectacle for the masses: light and airy, opulently decorated with heavenly frescoed vaults and stucco laid on like thick cake frosting. Their great church of Sant'Andrea in Valle in Rome was the model, and it is recaptured on a smaller scale here.

San Vincenzo

Begun in 1617, the church is largely the design of Bartolomeo Avanzini, the court architect who also worked on the Ducal Palaces at Modena and Sassuolo (he isn't responsible for the restrained facade, a compromise solution that was added later). While still under construction, San Vincenzo got even fancier, as Duke Francesco IV decided to make it a kind of pantheon for the Este dynasty.

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Baroque Art and Architecture

Churches in Modena

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Comune di Modena