Interior Decorations of the Chapel

Particolare dell’intradosso della cupola della cappella (Fototeca ISAL-BAMS Photo Rodella)
Detail of the lower surface of the dome of the chapel (ISAL-BAMS Photo Archives, photograph by Rodella)

Inside the chapel of the Assumption of Saint Mary and St. Francis of Assisi, are some original decorations dating back to past centuries. The set of wall paintings, in fact, includes two large ovals in the centre of the dome and another two placed symmetrically on the sidewalls.

The paintings are attributed to Giovanni Angelo Borroni, a painter close to the Crivelli family and creator of the frescoes inside the villa dating back a decade earlier. Since the consecration of the church took place in 1754, it is plausible to assume that the interior decorations were done the previous year, at the time of the full artistic maturity of Borroni. The differences of the strokes used in the frescoes found inside the villa may be due to the presence of his son, Vincenzo, next to him.
The fresco, which dominates the centre of the dome, is visually striking and dramatic. Two angels are represented on a cloud showing the nails of the Passion and allude to the relief carved on the external side portal representing St. Francis receiving the stigmata.
On the left oval is a representation of the Adoration of the Child with Saints Francis and Charles Borromeo.
On the right oval, numerous figures are represented such as St. Stephen and St. John the Evangelist on the right, St. Michael in the centre; Saint Anne and, probably Gaetano di Thiene, on the left.
Stefano and Gaetano are the patron saints of Stefano Gaetano Crivelli who commissioned the frescoes, while the others were chosen for reasons of family devotion. The children of Crivelli are called, in fact, Maria Anna, John, Jane and Michael Ignatius. The presence of the Archangel Michael was also a clear reference to the departed and recalled the desire of the Crivelli family to transform the chapel into their mausoleum.
The main altar is impressive and the marble balustrade is made lighter by vaults as well as some wrought iron elements. The altar, with an Ambrosiano tabernacle, is open at the bottom by a metal oculus for relics. On the left is a niche with a wooden door for the holy oils, which was also part of the original decoration of the chapel.
The rich marble frame was designed to accommodate the altarpiece made by Bernardino Campi in 1569 entitled Madonna venerated by St. John the Baptist and Dalmazio, purchased directly by Stefano Gaetano Crivelli and now kept at Isimbardi Palace in Milan. The frame contains a copy of the altarpiece unfortunately stolen from the chapel in January 2015.