Chapel of Saint Anthony (Jouvenceaux)

Strada Provinciale 214 87 (Sauze d'Oulx)

The chapel of Sant'Antonio abate in Jouvenceaux, Sauze d'Oulx, in val di Susa is suggestively at the center of the old town, in a small square with a stone fountain. A fine example of religious architecture of the Susa Valley, has considerable artistic elements for the frescoes placed on external walls and inside the Chapel, dating back to the last decades of the 15th century.

Structure of the Church

The construction of the chapel dates from the second half of the fifteenth century, with very simple architecture. Has a gabled façade, with a narrow entrance door moved on the left and, on top, a central window; another door opens on the left flank. The roof is made of "lose" (thin slabs of stone, typical of the Alpine landscape); on the back there is a small bell tower. The sacristy relies on back side of Church.
The Interior has a single nave covered by a wooden coffered; the presbytery, built later, presents a vault; on the counter-façade is a wooden choir.

The frescoes

The most striking aspect of the Chapel is the frescoes on the outside walls, starting from the representation of the last judgement which occupies the façade.
The best preserved is the highest, sheltered from the roof overhang, while the lower part, with the damned subject to the pains of hell, is now almost entirely lost. At the top, just below the ridge of the roof, we find the figure of Christ surrounded by angels; in the lower register, on either side of the window, are the figures of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Baptist, alongside them, sitting on the curious wooden stalls, are placed the Apostles; more lateral position are, left, the Patriarchs and the prophets on the right. The representation of the celestial hierarchy continues further down, in the third log, with the Saints, the martyrs and Confessors, left, the Holy virgins along with two pairs of angels of the Apocalypse that sound the trumpets, whose sound have awakened the dead. Among the dead rising, the "righteous", to the right of Christ (left watching the fresco) enter into the heavenly Jerusalem, that in the fresco is in the shape of a great big Tower, while the "damned" rushing to hell. The image of the demonic penis is now lost.
On the left side of the Chapel is a large St. Christopher; other images of Saints invoked by popular devotion are Sant'Antonio abate (surrounded by sick of ergotism, the "shingles") and Saint Michael the Archangel places in the upper register together with an Annunciation; in the lower register are didactically represented, into two panes, the scenes of confession and played with good and bad disposition. Regarding the authorship of the murals outside the Church, was proposed an attribution to the workshop of Bartolomeo and his son Sebastiano, active in the second half of the 15th century painters in Val di Susa, in the Pinerolese and Canavese. The dating proposition for the frescoes in the Decade 1480-1490.
Restorations carried out in the year 2000 brought to light, under the layer of dull blanketed them, frescoes inside the Chapel: the scenes related to the Life of Saint Anthony. These frescoes were proposed attribution to the workshop of Bartolomeo and Sebastian greenhouse.


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