The church is unmistakable, thanks to its beautiful, high dome. It was built after the pledge given by the Modenese people to the “Madonna della Ghiara” during the plague in 1630, as the plaque on the facade commemorates. Even Duke Francesco I had to leave the town in that situation.
The front was designed by Cristoforo Malagola, known as Galaverna, in the Ionian and Corinthian order. The aim was to enhance the background of Corso Duomo.
Like many of the churches in Modena, the interior has a single nave with lateral chapels.
On the portal, the painting by Francesco Stringa (1699) represents Saints Geminiano, Contardo and Omobono.
On the left, in the ‘contagion chapel’, Ludovico Lana’s masterpiece, Madonna della Ghiara with the Saints Geminiano, Omobono, Rocco and Sebastiano and scenes of the Modenese plague: the rich golden frame and the view of Modena (with the City Tower now called ‘mozza’, after the earthquake in 1500 which destroyed it) are really interesting.
In the presbytery, Assunta by Jacopo Consetti and Saint Joseph’s death by Francesco Stringa. On the right, Madonna col bambino e Sant’Antonio by the Stringa; Crucifixion by Ludovico Lana in a marble altar by Andrea Baratta; Santa Filomena by the 19th century painter Adeodato Malatesta.
For many years, at dawn, in this church the ‘magpie Mass’ was celebrated in memory of a manservant who was condemned to death for the theft of some silverware which was actually stolen by the bird.
[Images 2 e 3 courtesy of Archivio Fotografico del Museo Civico d'Arte di Modena]