Cripta di San Magno – Anagni, Italy | Instant News


An extraordinary example of Italian Medieval religious art lies hidden in the historic city of Anagni, which is located about an hour to the southeast Rome. Also known as the City of Popes (four Popes from the city), Anagni was crowned by a beautiful Roman cathedral dating from the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries.

Beneath the cathedral floor, Saint Magnus’s extraordinary basement provides an extraordinary example of medieval religious art in the 13th century with various cycles and representations that adorn a space of more than 500 square meters. It consists of three naves, three apses, and 21 painted vaults.

Three craftsmen known as “Mr Anagni” are believed to be responsible for different cycles, which represent the story of human salvation from creation to the end of time, with apocalyptic nuances and several walls adorned with stories of local saints and saints. martyr. All scenes are presented in clear shades and shades that are well preserved with clear influences from Rome and southern Italy (Norman Sicily). They will be admired by medieval pilgrims who visit the crypt to worship the city’s saints. For some art historians, craftsmen introduced new innovative styles that contributed to the transition from styles influenced by Byzantine art to early art in Roman and Tuscan schools. Craftsmen are also believed to have painted the beautiful Gothic Hall, at Santi Quattro Coronati Monastery in Rome.

Among the many scenes and elements, those who present the union between science and religion are the most valuable. The ancient Greek scholars Hippocrates and Galen were depicted when they described the elements of Plato (as described in his work Timaeus), which, in turn, are described as balls of their own weight and position one above the other. Another powerful representation is humanity as a microcosm at the center of the world. The human central figure is surrounded by concentric circles that connect the human cycle with nature: age, humor, season, and elements.

Another scene presents four Tetramorph – creatures made of four parts (human, eagle, bull, and lion) – a reference to the prophets Ezekiel and Doomsday.

The long sequence of frescoes is dedicated to the story of Arch and other biblical stories while the main apse depicts the Apocalypse and the story of the relics of Saint Magnus, the patron saint of the Cathedral. Look at the sheep in the middle with seven horns (omnipotent) and seven eyes (omnipresent). 13th-century kosmatesque marble floors adorn basements and churches.

Near the cellar, you can also visit the Oratory of Saint Thomas Becket. The 12th-century pictorial cycle is not well preserved and mostly depicts the stories of the Old and New Testaments and the stories of Becket’s life and deeds. Interestingly, the form of the oratory seems to indicate its previous use as a temple to Mithras, a mithraeum.

According to local stories, Saint Magnus appeared in a dream to the person in charge of the construction of the cathedral, bishop Pietro da Salerno, urging him to complete the construction of this sacred site and the magical story of the construction of the Cathedral as well. preserved in local legends associated with the help of bulls and wolves. This relief is located on the top right of the main door: when a stone is taken from a nearby mine, a hungry wolf kills one of the two bulls used to transport the stone to the construction site. Bishop Peter then ordered the wolves to take the place of the lost bull and the Cathedral was completed in time.



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