2016-08-05 18:42:34
Schedules of Opening MuMar and Park of the Rests of the Convent of S. Domenico

Morning: 9:00 - 13:00

Afternoon: 16:00 - 20:00 (summer schedule)

                15:00 - 19:00 (winter schedule)


Allegory of Religion (late 1630s)

The oldest source mentioning this work is a handwritten essay on sculpture by Orfeo Boselli. He says that he made the Allegories of Religion and Wisdom  and a series of angels for the high altar in the Dominican convent of Soriano that was consecrated in 1640. The stature was sculpted at the end of the 1630s and was set into the altar gable. It is clearly classical in style with its well-balanced face and careful draping. The draping was partially modified when the statue was moved to the balustrade of the eighteenth century altar. During restoration work the head and hand, which were fortunately found, have been repositioned.

(Mario Panarello)

Apex with vase and bust (first half 17th Century)

This elegant piece was one of a pair, the second of which has been lost. The style is early 17th century. Of particular interest is the head covering of the vegetable shaped figures and the animal shaped mask of the central vase. It probably came from the high altar brought to Soriano from Rome in the late 1630s and may be from the decorative side doors as they are similar to Martino Longhi’s other works.

(Mario Panarello)

St Dominic makes water spurt from the mountain (second half 17th century)

This low relief was originally one of a pair. The other, entitled “Moses makes water spurt from the desert”, is in the Church of the Carmine, Soriano. They may both be linked to a series of miracles which occurred in Soriano in the second half of the 17th century attributed to St Dominic. A 1680 source mentions a miraculous event connected to the drought of that year. Building on the convent had been halted due to the lack of water when a sudden spurt appeared near the convent. It was interpreted as having divine origin. The low relief portrays the saint with the prior standing beside him surrounded by artisans. It has been attributed to the sculptor Francesco Grassia from Palermo who was working in Rome in the mid 17th century. This low relief is similar to one by the same sculptor showing the Nativity on the pedestal of a group including the Virgin and Child and saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist made in 1670 for the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome.

(Mario Panarello)

Medallions with St Rose of Lima and St Thomas Aquinas

These medallions which portray two important Dominican saints would have been positioned on pilasters between the chapels inside the church (built after 1694). The saints were given a position of superiority compared to the beatified of the same order. The figures are easily identifiable. They were originally attached to a background of French marble mosaic and despite not being of the highest quality, they are to be appreciated for their overall expressivity. The facial features of the angels holding the medallions appear rather clichéd and lacking in variation. However, Scaglia made a wealth of marble decoration for Soriano and that in itself was a novelty as the artist was mainly known for his wooden and stucco works in Umbria.


(Mario Panarello)

Medallions with the Blessed Pious V

When the marble decorations for the pillars in the Dominican church were made (1694-1709), Pope Pious V (Antonio Ghislieri), a Dominican linked to the Battle of Lepanto, had not yet been canonized (he would be in 1712). As a “beatified” of the Church his effigy would have been placed on one of the corner pilasters of the nave. This can also be deduced from the rough surface of the rear of the figure. The face is in a state of ecstacy like the others in the same cycle but the features also denote a strong character.

(Mario Panarello)

Figures of angels holding medallions and sacred symbols

There was a succession of clipei (round portraits) on the pilasters of the nave in the Dominican church. These were held up by pairs of angels and interspersed with other angels holding the symbols of the saints depicted at the top and bottom of the pilaster. The figures have been recomposed and it can be noted how they were sculpted in a continuous row unlike the Vatican prototype where the angels were framed separately.

(Mario Panarello)

Bust of St Thomas Aquinas

Almost certainly from the old Dominican convent in Soriano. The moral character expressed in the figure is underlined by the vigorous but detailed and soft working of the marble. Note the shining sun, symbol of the saint, as well as the accurate modelling of the hair. These remind us to some extent of the eccentric sculptor from Palermo, Francesco Grassia, who was working in Rome during the 17th century.

(Mario Panarello)

Bust of St Dominic (1630s)

This extraordinary marble bust from the convent is one of the most complete remaining after the 1783 earthquake despite some damage to the face and left shoulder. It has been attributed to Giuliano Finelli (1602-1653) of Carrara who collaborated with Gianlorenzo Bernini on the famous group of Apollo and Daphne in the Borghese Gallery, Rome (1622-1625). The bust probably originates in the years preceding Finell’s stay in Naples. This can be surmised from his abundant use of drilling technique, especially on the beard and hair which feature strongly in the works belonging to his early Roman period. In Naples Finelli made the bronze statues for the chapel of St Gennaro including one of St Dominic which is, however, much simpler and less expressive than the one in Soriano.

(Mario Panarello)

Fragment of a Bust of St Catherine of Siena (1630s)

This extraordinary fragment of marble is part of a bust intended to glorify the stigmata of St Catherine of Siena, whose cult was made official by Pope Urban VIII in 1630. The bust was seriously damaged in the 1783 earthquake and the surface has been calcified by exposition to the elements. The figure combines classical features -  for example the smoothness of the face – with baroque seduction – the half-open mouth, almost speaking, the deep iris, the lock of hair caressing the cheekbone. There is realism in the expertly worked crown of thorns and in what remains of the veil and wimple. The details of this extremely well-balanced sculpture make the viewer regret the loss of the rest. The attribution to Gianlorenzo Bernini or one of his followers, although problematical, may be justified comparing this bust with some of his other works produced during the 1620s. Some similarity may be found with the bust of the Blessed Spirit (pre 1619) at the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See and the face of Daphne in the famous group at the Borghese Gallery (Rome).

(Mario Panarello)

Great Angel holding Festoon, High Altar (after 1751)

Managing the work on the high altar, built during the 1740s and 50s to a design by Carlo Marchionni, was a complex operation. At first the Neapolitans Matteo Bottigliero and Francesco Pagano had been hired, only to be put aside some time later in favour of the more famous sculptor Antonio Corradini who was working in Naples at that time. Corradini made one of the huge angels situated at the top of the aedicule (the documents do not specify which) before arguing fiercely with the marble worker Francesco Raguzzini. Corradini abandoned the scene in a fit of anger and the two original sculptors were called back. They made the second angel, which is probably the surviving one as the draping does not seem to be up to Corradini’s usual standard, despite Francesco Pagano being fairly skilled in this art.

(Mario Panarello)

Statues of St Thomas Aquinas and St Vincent Ferrer (1751-1757)

The high altar, built to a final design by Carlo Marchionni, was to include various sculptures, in particular high reliefs and statues. They were made between 1751 and 1757 by Francesco Pagano and Matteo Bottigliero, pupils of Domenico Antonio Vaccaro. The statues of St Thomas Aquinas and St Vincent Ferrer were put in the space between the aedicule columns, either side of the high relief depicting the miracle of the “Holy Image”. Unfortunately the statues have lost their heads and have been damaged but the work is strong, the result of the two individual artists. It can be surmised that St Thomas is by Pagano and St Vincent by Bottigliero comparing contemporary statues by the two for the spire of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza del Gesù, Naples.

Fragments of the altar rail, High Altar (1748-1757)

Various marble fragments have been recovered from the presbytery area of the high altar. From original drawings and from the ruins themselves it is possible to learn some more about the area where the 18th century statues of Religion and Wisdom stood. A marble rail decorated with black mosaics surrounded the presbytery and steps. The embellishments were still conditioned by the late baroque style and in particular by the work of Cosimo Fanzago.

(Mario Panarello)

Fragment of the body of the Virgin, High Altar (1751-1757)

The miracle of the granting of the “Holy Image” was depicted on a marble high relief on the 18th century altar. It included the ancient canvas itself in a frame. The canvas was not usually on display but closed behind silver doors. The figures of St Mary Magdalene and St Catherine of Alexandria stood on either side of the painting, with the Virgin holding it up at the top. Only a few fragments of this great high relief, by Bottigliero or Pagano, have been identified, including the biggest piece from the body of the Virgin. The lower part of the fragment is not broken but finished off well as it would have stood partially on the marble frame. The figures on the high relief were surrounded by clouds, angels and cherubs. It is not known who drew up the original design for the work but it is likely that the artists used one of the many popular images of the Virgin existing in the early 17th century as their model.

(Mario Panarello)

Fragments of the decorative marble cladding, presbytery pilasters

When the high altar was nearing conclusion, the marble worker Francesco Raguzzini started to decorate the eight pilasters near the presbytery. The surfaces were covered with a succession of squares containing palm branches and acanthus garlands. The many fragments which have been recovered allow experts to reconstruct the decorative pattern. Inside the huge frames between the squares were torch-bearing angels made by the sculptors of the high altar statues, Francesco Pagano and Matteo Bottigliero.

(Mario Panarello)

Decorative shelf, High Altar (1748-1757)

It is not known exactly where this anthropomorphic shelf stood on the altar. The figurative elements are missing although the pendant itself has survived. Remaining details suggest work by Bottigliero or Pagano although it should be remembered that the young Giuseppe Sammartino was also working at the same studio as Pagano from 1756 meaning that some of the decoration may have been his. Sammartino was to go on to become an artist of note in the following decades.

(Mario Panarello)

High Altar frontal and aedicule facing the chancel

The monumental high altar in Soriano had two façades. One facing the nave, the other overlooking the chancel which allowed the Dominican fathers to celebrate religious functions apart from the congregation. This side of the altar was not as rich as the main façade despite the presence of important decorative elements including the altar frontal which has unfortunately lost its marble cladding, and the huge aedicule. The marble mosaic cladding depicted the Dominican emblem at the centre. The draping ,in the style of Vaccaro recalling Bernini, was covered in green marble and copper overlay as can be seen from contemporary sources.

(Mario Panarello)

Avviso Pubblico Valorizzazione BBCC-II Edizione


Obiettivo Specifico 5.2 - Valorizzare i beni e le attività culturali quale vantaggio comparato dalla regione Calabria per aumentare l'attrattività territoriale, per rafforzare la coesione sociale e migliorare la qualità della vita dei residenti.