Rock church and Site of interest

The oldest frescos and one of the most important examples of Lombard art in Southern Italy can be found in the Church of Sant’Angelo and Santa Maria, or as it is commonly known – the “Crypt of Original Sin”. These were archiepiscopal commissioned frescoes dating back to the first half of the 9th century, which show scenes from the Old Testament taken from the book of Genesis, with splendid triptychs of the Archangels, various Virgins and Apostles. Although the rock churches have not preserved any frescoes from the Byzantine period, Byzantine pictorial art was clearly an inspiration for the frescos within Matera’s rock churches, starting with the elevation of the Diocese of Matera to seat of Archdiocese in 1203. Icons were painted according to the Byzantine style from the early years of the thirteenth century up until the influences of the Angevin and Aragonese Gothic became predominant. These iconic frescoes represent the various cultural influences and devotional traditions of this area, such as Latin, Byzantine and the Crusades.


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