Sant’Antonio a Fulgenzio

16 Mar

In a city where Baroque style predominates and characterizes basilicas and churches, Sant’Antonio a Fulgenzio offers a lightness that pulls you through the door into an explosion of color. The altars , wall frescoes, soaring naves and unique mosaic floors in this Franciscan church provide a radiant alternative to the Baroque style of Lecce.

Designed and built in the early 1900s, the Apulian Neo-Gothic design borrows from a number of architectural styles. The exterior with it’s slender arches, rose window and rectangular towers is predominantly Romanesque.

The striped vault arches in the interior are similar to the arches we found in the Carlos V Castle, yet the church was built hundreds of years later.

The iconography of the brilliant wall frescoes includes deer, sheep, birds and other wildlife in astonishing detail. Where many sacred artists use these figures in the background, the artists of Sant’Antonio highlighted their natural beauty throughout the ceiling and walls of the naves.

There is a liberal use of gilt in the frescoes along with deep and vibrant blue, reminiscent of a similar use in the iconograpy of Greek Orthodox churches.

Another sharp contrast to the swirling baroque design is the use of repetitive geometrics in the altars and floors of Sant’Antonio. Some are reminiscent of the craftsman movement in the early 20th century.

The impact of this spiritual design is air and light. The space encourages quiet daily contemplation.

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