Oratory of San Bernardino - Siena

Source: Willem Vandenameele

The Oratory of San Bernardino, built in the 15th century on the site where Saint Bernardino of Siena used to preach during his lifetime, is on the right side of Piazza San Francesco, next to the church dedicated to the same saint.

Today the Oratory functions as a museum and is divided into two oratories one above the other. The Oratorio Superiore has wood paneling on the walls and ceiling, applied by Ventura Turapilli in 1496, and is decorated with frescoes by Sodoma: Saint Ludovico, The Presentation of Mary in the Temple, Saint Francis of Assisi, Visitation and Coronation of Mary . There are also works by Girolamo del Pacchia: Nativity of Mary, St Bernardino, The Archangel Gabriel, and Beccafumi's Wedding, Madonna in Glory with Saints, Passage of Mary.

The Oratorio Inferiore contains two 16th-century terracotta statues, one of Saint Bernardino and the other of Saint Catherine, and Andrea del Bresciano's Madonna with Child and Saints.

Saint Bernardino (Bernardino degli Albizzeschi), born in Massa Marittima on September 8, 1380, devoted himself from an early age to helping the needy by nursing the sick in the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala.

In 1402 he joined the Franciscan order and founded the Convento dell'Osservanza. In 1417 he started his activities as a preacher. Bernardino died in L'Aquila on May 20, 1444 and was canonized in 1450.


Source: Willem Vandenameele

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