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SIENA Art and religion - Church of the Osservanza


The Church of the Osservanza stands about two and a half kilometres outside Porta Ovile. The entire complex was originally built thanks to St Bernardino of Siena in the 15th century and is still one of Siena’s most important religious buildings. Successively the complex was enlarged and modified by the architect Giorgio Martini.

Following severe damage during a bomb raid in 1944, the church was rebuilt according to the original design. The facade is simple, preceded only by a portico with a slanting roof. A high dome surmounts the church itself.

The single-nave interior contains a number of works by different artists. Among the most interesting is the Triptych by Sassetta, known also as the Maestro dell’Osservanza, in the fourth chapel. The glazed terracotta medallions on the archway are by Andrea della Robbia (between 1425 and 1435). On the first altar to the left and in the third altar to the right there are two Madonnas by Sano di Pietro. The elegant polychrome terracotta sculpture of the Pietà is by Giacomo Cozzarelli (1435-1515).
The right hand wall of the fourth chapel is adorned with the Polyptich by Andrea di Bartolo, while in the second chapel there is a terracotta sculpture of the Coronation of the Virgin, by Andrea della Robbia.

The Museo Aurelio Castelli is adjacent to the church, in the former Sacristy, and contains a collection of religious art and furnishings all belonging to the church itself.




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