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Church of Saint John the Baptist – Atri

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Chiesa di San Giovanni
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This church also known as St Domenico’s Church was built in 1322 and then largely changed during the 16th and the 18th century. The lower part of its façade displays a successive sequence of terracotta and stone. It comprises of a handsome sixteenth-century portal reminder of the same style of the Cathedral’s Basilica by Rainaldo (1305). The taste remains Romanesque-style, although more indulgent on the use of ornaments. The base of its archivolt features two small mitred heads, one of bishop Bernardo and the other of his successor. Above there is the Lamb with Cross (Agnus Dei) with two hostile lionesses on either side. On the left, there is an ogival portal in stone, the convent’s door, and above it, high on the right, a fourteenth-century single lancet window.

Internally the church presents just one nave and eight lateral chapels with stucco altars. Among these, the Chapel of the Rosary presents a wooden altar dated 1629. Behind the high altar, there are three canvases of the 1789 by Giuseppe Preposti. The vast fresco on the ceiling representing the Triumph of Saint Domenico of the 1724 is by Giovan Battista Savelli, an affiliate of the Congregation of the Jesuit Artists of Atri. The existing vault is a replacement of the eighteen-century wooden ceiling and it represents the Domenican Order spreading out to the four continents. This work is by the laic Jesuit Andrea Pozzo who was inspired by a fresco seen at the St Ignazio Church in Rome (1694).

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