The central apse with the main altar and dome
Point of interest 8
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You are now on the main altar. With your back facing the central nave,
raise your eyes and look up to admire the wonderful stucco decorations of the barrel vaults, dating from 1668,
a masterpiece by Giovanni Monevi who depicted the three bishops, Saint Guido, Saint Maggiorino and Saint Ambrogio in the apse’s semi-cupola, the “Cena Domini” in the vault, the “Deposition of the cross” and the “Farewell of Jesus Christ from Mary Most Holy before heading towards the Passion”, commissioned by the Bishop Ambrogio Bicuti.
It is also to the same artist that we owe the altarpiece of the “Assumption of the Virgin”, inserted in the original seventeenth century marble frame that lies in the background of the main apse.
The frescoes on the lateral walls depict a “miraculous healing of Saint Guido”
on the left, and on the right “Jesus walking on the waters;
they are attributed to the painter Pietro Ivaldi, locally known as “the Mute” (1862 – 1864), as are the “Evangelists” depicted in the dome’s pendentive. You may catch a glimpse of the “Triumph of God” in the highest part of this structure, but it is difficult to attribute it to an artist and put a date to it due to the numerous restoration works it has undergone in time.
For most of its artistic and structural definition, this main altar, dates from 1864, a work of art by the Architect Edoardo Arborio Mella, that just as for the pulpit, inserted Renaissance sculptures, originating from old, noble chapels of the Cathedral.
Tra queste sculture sono ragguardevoli come fattura: i pilastrini con angeli portanti il turibolo dell’incenso e la “Ultima cena” scolpiti da Nicolò Longhi per la cappella del SS. Sacramento nel 1547; la lastra con “S. Gerolamo che toglie la spina al leone”
e quella con le Sante Paola e Eustochio e il Bimbo prodotte dal maestro Giovanni Antonio Pilacorte nel 1480 per la cappella di S. Gerolamo; due “Madonna con Bambino” di prima metà Cinquecento, di cui una dalle forme michelangiolesche; e, infine, databili agli inizi di quest’ultimo secolo, una “Crocifissione con S. Giovanni e Maria” e due pannelli della “Annunciazione”. Tutte le opere riportate sono di matrice culturale lombarda, di scultori dell’area luganese.
If you go behind the altar the wooden chorus is worth admiring, for its simple, neoclassical elegance, made in 1860, and also the contemporary “Venetian” floor, and the two stained-glass windows with images of the Assunta from 1933.