The Church of the Madonna del Sasso


It's always interesting, when a painter produces a landscape, to try and place oneself where the painter was painting. This summer, we went to Orselina (in the Ticino region, near Locarno, Switzerland) to find the subject of the only painting of a monument by Achilles De Maertelaere. The painting, an oil on canvas mounted on wood, measures 56 cm wide by 47 cm high. The frame still appears to be the original one.

It is a view of a Baroque church, dedicated to the Madonna del Sasso. It has been a place of pilgrimage since the 16th century. The church was built in 1502 on the spot where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a Franciscan monk in 1480, with Lago Maggiore and the Alps in the background.

Achilles De Maertelaere worked at the spot of the Capella della Resurrezione, opposite the church (see photo). The painting is undated, but the context (see Gleaning below) suggests a date of 1950.

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