The church of Santa Maria assunta in Celana

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta di Celana boasts ancient thirteenth-century origins.

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The church of S. Maria assunta in Celana

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta di Celana boasts ancient thirteenth-century origins.

The first documents referring to a small parish nucleus in Celana date back to 1244. The later changes that have been made to the original nucleus have been extensively documented, to the point of making it assume the current appearance halfway between the baroque and the late eighteenth century. Most of the work is to be placed in the sixteenth century, a very important period from the political point of view: in those years, in fact, the division of the country was being discussed by the municipality of Caprino Bergamasco, and that would lead to the establishment of an independent Seminar and to a separate management of the patrimony deriving from offers and donations. The new church with an adjoining convent would then have to be able to contain all the legacies that the inhabitants of Celana faithful had done to their parish as a symbol of gratitude and as a further confirmation of the desire for self-management of the community.

It is precisely in the context of these internal struggles that the commission of the altarpiece of the Assunta was to be placed in Lorenzo Lotto in 1527 by Balsarino Marchetti de Angelini, a rich merchant originally from Caprino. The altarpiece would presumably have represented the instrument of a game of power to promote the nomination as parochial head of a distant relative.

Altarpiece by Lorenzo Lotto (1527)

The altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin by Lorenzo Lotto is housed in the apse inside a splendid frame of clear Neo-Baroque style. Although it was created two years after the artist’s return to Venice in 1525, the work, which at first glance appears to be one of the many common examples of depicting the theme of the Resurrection of the Virgin, is in fact a studied summa of all the experience gained from the Lotto from its beginnings up to the flourishing years of Bergamo. In fact, in the altarpiece three levels of reading can be identified: the landscape and the sketches in the background, the figure of the Assumption in heaven and the Apostles in the foreground. The latter, in particular, in their incessant swirl of gestures and colors that does not allow pauses to the eye, is witness to a thorough study of Leonardo and the masters of the north, in particular Dürer.

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