The Parish Church of the Conversion of Saint Paul

San Paolo d'Argon | Luoghi religiosi

A gallery of sacred art from the 17th and 18th centuries, guarded over by precious stones

At one time this church belonged to the Abbey of the area and if you would like to visit, it would be advisable to do so in the company of one of the designated guides who can tell you all about its secrets, as it is a place which is otherwise not very well known. Walking on its chess-board floor of red and white, you will discover that it has a history stretching back nine centuries to when the church was founded in 1079, at the same time as the Benedictine abbey next door.

 

Should there happen to be no guides available when you visit, the works of art speak for themselves and you are likely to be left open-mouthed in astonishment.

Giovan Battista Caniana, Francesco Barbieri, Antonio Balestra, Gregorio Lazzarini, Sebastiano Ricci, Paolo De Matteis and Guiseppe Maria Crespi are some of the artists that transformed the church into what is virtually an art gallery, from the end of the 17th century and into the 18th century.

There is an unforgettable representation of the Creed as imagined by Sant’Ambrogio, a cycle of paintings which puts into pictures one of the cardinal prayers of the Catholic faith. Lifting one’s head upwards, there are paintings to be seen depicting stories from the life of Saint Paul to whom the church is dedicated, and also of Saint Benedict, founder of the monastic tradition, since it was he that the monks of the abbey regarded as their role model during the period the church formed part of the abbey complex.

After having counted all 7 of the beautiful, baroque, marble altars of the school of Brescia, you should visit the sacristy, a place that often gets overlooked but which holds some wonderful surprises. Coming outside again it is the wall of white Val Cavallina marble which captures the eye: Dolomia (or Zandobbio marble) most definitely plays the leading role on the façade of this church, where, among cherubs and statues of the saints there also appears the sword of Saint Paul, the emblem of the ancient monastery.

 

Promotional material from the association InChiostro, Incontri e itinerari d’arte.

 

 

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