The Collegiate Church of San Quirico of Orcia
The collegiate church of Saints Quirico and Giulitta, also known more simply as the Collegiate Church of San Quirico, is a place of worship in San Quirico d'Orcia, in the province of Siena. Quirico and Giulitta are a child and his mother, who died martyrs, as the tradition of the Catholic Church maintains.
Originally, it was a parish church. The current building was built at the end of the 12th century or at the beginning of the following century. However, the oldest part seems to be the one corresponding to the facade.
In 1653 the original apse was destroyed to build a choir. It is here that in 1749 the work of Antonio Barili, initially performed for the Cathedral of Siena, was transferred. It is an important work thanks to the inlays it presents but also for being a great historical document, as it allows us to discover the figure and the work of the carver.
The church has a Latin cross plan with a single nave and apse chapels. The main portal is the most important of the three present: the style is Lombard, with a slightly raised arched porch, supported by two pairs of sandstone columns on each side, resting on column-bearing lions. Inside the porch it is possible to observe five columns on the left and five on the right with capitals decorated with animals and acanthus leaves.
On the architrave, on the other hand, there are two facing crocodiles.
In the center of the lunette San Damaso was carved in high relief, identifiable however with San Quirico.
It is believed that it was Giovanni Pisano, in 1288, who built the first of the side portals. Furthermore, in the cusp of the portal there is the inscription in Gothic characters Iohes, which refers to the name of Pisano.
The other portal, on the side of the transept wall, is the work of Lotto, where Gothic and Romantic elements are fused together.
In 1644 the parish became a collegiate church. In 1724 the interior of the church was remodeled in Baroque style, at the behest of Cardinal Anton Felice Zondadari.
A new bell tower was built between 1798 and 1806.
Among the works inside the collegiate church, there is the large fifteenth-century altarpiece with the Madonna and child, angels and saints on a golden background, by Sano di Pietro, a painter and illuminator from Siena.
In the lunette, on the other hand, the Resurrection and the Descent of Christ into Limbo are represented.
The coat of arms of the Municipality of San Quirico and five episodes from the Life of the Madonna are painted on the predella.
At the entrance to the Church, on the floor to the left of the nave, there is the tombstone of Prince Henry II of Nassau, a rather charitable Earl of Nassau.
The Suffrage Chapel, on the left side of the nave, contains a detached fresco known as the Madonna della Mela or Madonna delle Grazie, attributed to Girolamo di Benvenuto, and the painting by Rutilio Manetti representing the Madonna del Rosario saving a girl from drowning.
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