The Carolingian Frescoes of the Church of Santa Perpetua in Tirano

Discovered by accident in 1987 when plaster fortuitously fell off the walls like scales before eyes, what was revealed beneath in this very humble and simple monastic church of S. Perpetua in Tirano was a cycle of Carolingian frescoes that depicted not only the martyr St. Perpetua herself, but also St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Jude, St. Matthew, St. John, St. Luke and St. Gabriel the Archangel. 

The dating of the frescoes subject to a certain amount of speculation but are thought be from the ninth century.  They exhibit rather exuberant liveliness of both form and colour and their style are what we would today consider 'iconographic', though they evidently have their origins within the shared tradition of the ecclesiastical art of the first millennium. 

St. Perpetua

St. Matthew and St. Jude
St. Peter seen on the right with his keys

St. Paul, seen on the left along with St. Matthew and Jude

The Archangel Gabriel in what was likely a scene depicting the Annunciation

Some general views of the church help set their broader context.

A remarkable little treasure perched high up within the region of Lombardy.

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.