BRA, Church Saint Andrew
Introduction And Exterior
The great Baroque façade of the church of Saint Andrew stands over the small Caduti per la Libertà square. Built between 1672 and 1682, in the Counter-Reformation period, the church was initially dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. In 1816, when the old church of Saint Andrew, deemed unsafe, was abandoned, the parish functions were moved here and the naming was changed. The construction of the building was started, thanks to the contribution of all the citizens, invited to bestow offers by the preaching of the Jesuits. The design for the facade was carried out in Rome by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and adapted to Turin by Guarino Guarini, who for reasons of space eliminated the two belfries on either side of the façade. The façade was completed over two centuries later, in 1884. The elegant Baroque façade shows the tribute to both: the monstrance of the Blessed Sacrament is on the gable of the large rectangular window, while the statue of Andrew the Apostle is at the top of the attic.
The church has three naves with deep side chapels. In 1795 is suffered serious damage when it became the warehouse of the French army. The floor, the balustrade of the altar, the marble ornaments on the walls and the entrance door were all removed. The entire area of the church is full of sculptures, paintings and gilded decorations, which make it one of the finest examples of art in Piedmont. In 1884, the central dome was “vaulted”. The fresco that decorates it was done in 1893 by the painter Gaidano and depicts the Glory of Saint Andrew. The pendentives are by Luigi Vacca and depict the four Evangelists.
Chapel Of The Rosary
The third chapel on the left side is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. There is a large canvas painted in 1642 by Jean Claret, a Flemish painter who lived in Savigliano. The work depicts the Madonna with Child who, surrounded by angels and cherubs, overlooks the figures of Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena. On the right, several figures crowd around the Blessed Alan, who lists them in the Fellowship of the Rosary. In the foreground, the Saint kneeling with the tiara placed on the ground is Saint Pius V, former bishop of Mondovì and great protagonist of the Counter-Reformation.
The Chapel of the Rosary leads to the Sacristy, a work by the architect Carlo Reviglio della Veneria in 1860. The room preserves a magnificent painting of the Battle of Lepanto, always by Jean Claret. A miraculous power is often attributed to the Rosary, especially to fight Islam and Protestant heresies. The victory of the Christians over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 was attributed to the power of the rosary and for this reason, the Fellowship ordered a painting from the artist with this subject to be placed on the altar of the church of saint Vincent Ferrer. This great painting is considered a masterpiece of Claret: there are a large number of boats and an extraordinary multitude of men that form a compact and swarming mass.
In the presbytery, we can find the high relief depicting the Martyrdom of Saint Andrew, work by the renowned Davide Calandra of Savigliano. At the top in the centre is Saint Joseph with baby Jesus and high up on the columns are the Apostles Peter and Paul, by the same author.
The Chapel Of Carmine
On the right side is the Chapel of Carmine, with a fine marble altar in neo-classical style, rebuilt in 1857. The sculptural group is the work of the sculptor Antonio Roasio of Mondovì.
The Chapel Of Saint Sebastian
An exquisite piece of work is the altar of Saint Sebastian, the co-patron of Bra, which was made in 1760 by Giuseppe Antonio Barelli. The altar is in the second chapel on the right and houses the great painting of the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, created in 1761 by the painter of the Savoy court, Claudio Francesco Beaumont. The paintings at the side are by Pietro Paolo Operti, and depict Saint Rocco and Saint Victoria; in another always by the same painter, the allegories of Justice and Prudence. The statues at the base represent allegories of Faith and Hope.
The Chapel Of The Compagnia Della Presentazione
At the altar of the Compagnia della Presentazione, near to the main entrance, the plaster statues are noteworthy, which depict Saint Cecilia and Saint Agnes, made by Antonio Brilla in the nineteenth century.
Direction: Paolo Ansaldi
Post-Production: VDEA Produzioni
Translations: Europa 92
Copywriter and research: Laura Marino
ROTARY CLUB Bra