A few words on the Omessa fresco, discovered recently ..

Cucu Capula fresque d'ODiscovering one of the most invaluable painted scenes in Corsica; that of the Omessa fresco. This concerns a fresco discovered in November, during the restoration project of the Saint André of Omessa church, near Corte. A late Romanesque church (XV-XVI century) largely rebuilt during the Baroque period.

Behind a picture awaiting restoration and under some layers of whitewash, this fresco was revealed in excellent condition, and never having been altered. It immediately appeared as a major historical discovery for Corsican art, along with the original architecture of the church itself, on the island.

The pictorial quality is also quite remarkable. Two panels can be perfectly observed, one recognises St Martin on horseback, sharing his coat with a poor man, represented here as a young man, with fine soft features, and feet resembling those of a bird. This particularity can astonish, but, as it represents a leper, this scene is a reminder of that of the kiss of St Martin to lepers. The lower panel appears to represent the martyr St Pierre, crucified upside down, beside a man of military appearance – backed by an architectural perspective, with drawings etched in the intonaco. Moreover, this mural decorates one of the side walls of the church, which is quite rare in Corsica.   Cucu Cap fresque bis

Seemingly, there are only two Romanesque churches in Corsica presenting these dispositions of three vessels: the Canonica and the Saint Marie of Nebbiu, older and also being cathedrals. The church of Omessa appears itself as an exception as regards architectural dispositions. This exception derives probably from the fact that there were three bishops during this period, today buried in the church, and an old story linked with that of Ugo Colonna.
The finding of the fresco thus represents a major archaeological witness of the church’s original layout, and validates the date of 1460, transmitted only orally. At this time, the church would have been transformed into a hospital by Ambroggio of Omessa, Bishop of Aleria, between 1412 and 1466, and could even have been a hospital before becoming a church – a hypothesis in reference to the leper represented as a young boy.
It now remains absolutely necessary to be documented precisely, before undertaking the conservation and restoration – technically, artistically and historically.
Source: CA’ Architectes Copyright ©

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