On the front side of the church of San Francesco, the Sforza chapel is connected to the main building with a nice arcade.
The chapel, dedicated to “Santa Maria degli Angeli” (in remembrance of the Assisi “Porziuncola”), was in a second time turned into a family chapel to house the graves of Sforza. The first tombstone was dedicated to Elisa Patrocini, mother of Muzio Attendolo Sforza.
The transformation works were probably wished by Cotignola citizens as a thanksgiving act to Lodovico il Moro, who in 1495 gave to Cotignola the title of “town “. On the other hand, the works could also have been commissioned by members of Sforza family in honour of the founders of the dynasty. Anyway, they were carried out by Francesco and Bernardino Zaganelli.
The frescoes, dated 1495 -1499, decorate the chapel vault and the apse.
Up on the walls, an ornament with spirals and faced snouts frames the images of the four Evangelists. Each of them is in the centre of the wall accompained by its symbol.
On the west wall, Saint Matthew looks at an angel who plays music. He protects his eyes from the light with his left hand. Also Saint Marc with the lion does the same, but has also the Gospels on his knees, as if he was previously reading them. Saint Luke with the bull is the only one to look down. He has a pen on his right and Gospels on the left. Saint John with the eagle looks at a musician angel standing at a corner. Also in this case, it looks like it had been distracted from a previous activity, the one of writing.
In the apse, recent restorations works have discovered under a lime layer a marvellous fresco by Gerolamo Marchesi. It celebrates the miracle of Stigmata. The decorations on a plaster placed under a sub-arch connecting the Vault to the chapel are attributed to the same Marchesi.
Address: Via San Francesco 15 – 48033 Cotignola (RA)
Phone: 0545 908871 – 908826
How to get
The chapel is next to S. Francis church a few kilometers from town centre, Lugo direction, next to the local cemetery. Wide car park in front of it.
open upon request (tel. 0545 908871 – 908826)
(Updated to 05/05/2023)