Oratorio del Rosario di San Dominico

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Date of travel

October, 2017

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On a small side street behind the Church of St Dominic, is the Oratorio del Rosario di San Dominico, which was founded at the end of the C16th by the Knights of Malta and is still maintained by them. The outside is very uninspiring, and is quite easy to miss. A doorway leads into a porch with a small desk collecting the entry fee. This then leads into the Oratorio.

The inside contains some of the best C18th stucco work in Palermo by Giacomo Serpotta.

The black and white marble floor sets off the white walls with their gold decoration and statues of the Christian virtues, modelled on fashionable society ladies. These are interspersed by paintings by well regarded artists, representing the mysteries of the Rosary. Above are stucco ovals depicting scenes of the Apocalypse.

Above the altar is the Madonna of the Rosary with St Dominic and the Patronesses of Palermo painted in 1628 by “van Dyke.”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oratorio_del_Rosario_di_San_Domenico#/media/File:Van_Dyck_-_Madonna_del_Rosario_-_Palermo.jpg . In the centre of the ceiling is a painting depicting the Coronation of the Virgin.

I’m afraid the church did little for me. I found it cold and austere.


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