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St. Joseph's church

St. Joseph's church is the only remnant of the convent of nuns Gesuate founded in 1518.
The exterior of the building features the typical oratory structure with the two latticed windows on either side of the central door, decorated with a glazed terracotta from the first half of the sixteenth century with the Madonna between Saints Joseph and Jerome.
The interior, a single nave with a cross vault, was transformed in the mid-seventeenth century with the insertion of a rich array of wood, carved and gilded: a choir leaned against the counter and a smaller one on the left side, two side altars and decoration of the stands with the imposing altar. At the center of the latter it is inserted a table with the Saints Paul, Joseph and Jerome attributable to Lorenzo Zacchia, one of the most representative figures of the pictorial culture of Lucca late sixteenth century, still tied to the classical models of the early decades of the century. The painting dates from a fairly early period of Lorenzo, who, while bearing in mind the teachings of the Old Zacchia, his teacher, proves here to open up to the most current Sienese and Florentine influences. The table belongs therefore to a time prior to the restructuring seventeenth century, while chronologically consistent with the wooden apparatus is the painting of the Immaculate Conception with Saints Carlo Borromeo and Ignatius of Loyola of Matteo Boselli (from Lucca), located on the altar of the left wall of the oratory. At the same time it dates back the execution of two paintings with St. Catherine and St. Agnes of Lucca painter Girolamo Scaglia that until a few decades ago flanked the table of Zacchia; now it remains only integrates Santa Caterina, placed now at the altar of the right side that had lost its original altarpiece.
This solution was allowed to leave in sight, squared by the wooden framing that contained the two paintings, the original decoration of the church. During the restoration work undertaken on the creation of the museum was in fact found on the wall of the apse a fresco decoration of the second half of the sixteenth century, the work of an eclectic local artist attentive to what is happening simultaneously in other cities of the region, especially in Siena. At the top of the tribune it is hard to see the Coronation of the Virgin, partially hidden by the summit wooden apparatus. Further down the angel apparition to Joseph and the get-away into Egypt occupy the position taken then by the paintings of Scaglia.

IN THE WINTER SEASON (15 November to 15 March) the concerts are held here.


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