Church of Sant’Agata: What to See Inside
The small Church of Sant’Agata is a precious instance of 14th-century Perugian art.
Built in the Franciscan Gothic style, lhe church retains, extraordinarily, its original 14th-century architectural appearance: an ogival structure, a single nave, two groin vaults, supported by six half-columns immured in the walls.
The frescoes are of great quality: belonging to the Umbrian-Sienese school (14th century), they are inspired by the art of Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti, who participated in the decoration of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
The first arcade frescoes, with the stories of San Severo and other saints are inspired by Martini; while the Scena del Calvario (1319 – 1333) on the central wall is inspired by Lorenzetti. The Crocifissione (Crucifixion) by Maestro di Paciano, on the back wall above the altar, recalls Pietro Lorenzetti’s fresco in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis.
Some of the frescoes visible today were only found in 2015 during the long restoration work that followed seismic events in 1997.
Two enthroned figures were discovered in the two “sails” above the altar; they are probably two Church Fathers. Additionally, near the side entrance on the right, the image of St. Francis receiving the stigmata, came to light, a clear reference to Franciscan worship. Under St. Francis’ image, a Trifacial Trinity (Jesus Christ with three faces), is depicted. This rare iconography is very difficult to find because it was declared heretical. Prohibited by the Council of Constance in 1414, almost all examples of it were destroyed.
Church of Sant’Agata: the Outside
Outside the Church of Sant’Agata you’ll see a very simple and delicately decorated gate. The travertine decorations are in 14th-century Gothic style.
To the left of the gate, you’ll find a ceramic panel depicting Saint Agatha and, below, a plaque dedicated to Monsignor Luigi Maglielli.
The majolica ceramic panel was completely hand-painted by Master Craftsman Maria Antonietta Taticchi and designed by artist Marco Mariucci.
The image, which is full of colors and splendid enamels, is inspired by the life of Saint Agatha and her iconography, but brings new light to the tragic story of the Saint. In the panel the Martyr is represented in all her exterior and interior beauty: having totally devoted herself to God, she transcends the tragic actions of man and shines in the victorious aura of eternity.
All the elements in the image have a particular significance. Indeed, Saint Agatha is patron saint of nursing mothers and nurses and is invoked against breast diseases, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and fires.
Under the ceramic panel you find lthe plaque dedicated to Monsignor Luigi Maglielli. Affixed by the City of Perugia, it recalls this priest’s commitment to the preservation over the years of the church and its precious paintings.