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Oratorio dei Pellegrini (1457-68)

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The “societa s. Iacobi” was first documented in 1372, at which point is was a society dedicated to helping those who wished to make a pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostella.  It also gave hospitality to pilgrims visiting Assisi.  In 1417, it acquired land on which to build a hospice, the Ospedale dei Pellegrini, which was complete by 1422.  From 1425, the hospice was known as the Ospedale di SS Giacomo e Antonio Abate, which suggests that the Confraternita di Sant’ Antonio was also involved in its administration.

In ca. 1439, the two associations merged to form the Confraternita di SS Antonio e Giacomo.  The merged confraternity built this oratory (on the right, above) next to the hospice.  It  probably served as a chapel for pilgrims.  (The members of the confraternity met at Sant’ Antonio Abate and then, from 1595, at Santa Caterina).

The hospice was demolished in 1883.  The neo-Romanesque building that replaced it (on the left, above) now houses the Suore Francescane Missionarie del Giglio.

Christ in Glory with Saints (1468)

This worn fresco of Christ in Glory with SS James and Antony Abbot, which is by Matteo da Gualdo, is on the exterior, above the entrance.


Frescoes (1468) on the Altar Wall


These frescoes on the altar wall are signed by by Matteo da Gualdo in the painted tablet on the left, and dated by inscription.  They depict:

  1. the Madonna and Child with musical angels (badly damaged); 

  2. St James (on the left) and St Antony Abbot (on the right); and

  3. the Annunciation (above). 

Frescoes (1477)

A document in the archives of Assisi documents the commissioning of the frescoes on the walls and in the vaults of the oratory from Pierantonio Mezzastris. They depict:

  1. Scenes from the life of St Antony Abbot


  3. In these frescoes on the left wall:

  4. on the left, St Antony welcomes camels that arrive at his hermitage in the desert miraculously laden with food for the poor; and

  5. on the right, St Antony distributes money to poor people who come to his hermitage.

  6. Miracles of St James 


  8. These frescoes on the right wall depict a series of miracles by which St James helped a family of pilgrims en route for Santiago di Compostella when the son was wrongly accused of theft:

  9. on the left, a chicken comes to life on the table of the judges to proclaim his innocence (with the signature of the artist on the tablecloth); while

  10. on the right, St James appears to save him from hanging. 

  11. Doctors of the Church

  12. These frescoes are in the vaults.

Frescoes on the Counter-façade (1477)


Although these four frescoes featured in in the work commissioned from Pierantonio Mezzastris,  only two are generally attributed to him:

  1. Christ blessing, with angels (above the entrance, illustrated above); and

  2. St Antony Abbot, to the right.

The other two figures on the counter-facade:
  1. St James (on the left); and

  2. St Ansanus (on the far right);

are attributed to Andrea d' Assisi, l' Ingegno or (more recently - see the reference below) to Perugino.

Art from the Ospedale dei Pellegrini 

Frescoes from the Facade

A number of frescoes, which were detached from the facade before the demolition of the Ospedale dei Pellegrini in 1833, are now in the Pinacoteca Comunale.  They include:

  1. the Madonna and Child enthroned with SS James and Antony Abbot and kneeling donors (ca. 1422) by Ottaviano Nelli (illustrated above);


  1. two frescoes (ca. 1422) attributed to the workshop of Ottaviano Nelli:

  2. the Virgin of an Annunciation and St James; and

  3. St Lucy; and

  4. a fragment (ca. 1468) of a praying angel, which is attributed to Matteo da Gualdo.

Frescoes (15th century)

These frescoes from a tabernacle outside the hospice are now in the Pinacoteca Comunale.  They include figures of  SS Benedict, Scholastica, Catherine of Alexandria and Rufinus.

Read more:

G. Benazzi and E. Lunghi (Eds), “Pierantonio Mezzastris: Pittore a Foligno nella Seconda Metà del Quattrocento”, (2006) Foligno

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