sanbernardo richini 1Current Chapel of the churchyard in Albairate, at a short distance from the centre and a few steps away from the Agricultural Museum, St. Bernard's church is one of the most interesting examples of minor Baroque architecture in the milanese area: it was designed in 1641 by Francesco Maria Richini, author of many seventeenth-century buildings including the facade of St. Bernard in Abbiategrasso, to replace a temporary structure wanted by Federico Borromeo to protect a venerated image of the Virgin.

 

Already the outside amazes for the modernity of design: in this building Richini has beveled the facade coerently with the church plan, giving it in a way  typically Baroque but unusual in the Milanese area, where plants similar to St. Bernard's one, that is curved or polygonal , are usually preceded by flat facades , as in the richiniana St. Joseph in Milan , even if  some works by his predecessor Fabio Mangone , although burdened with a heaviness that can not be found here , had already experienced similar movements to the albairatese one. This one of Albairate therefore constitutes a significant example of the up-to-date culture owned by Richini , who normally prefers to remain coherent with the rational sixteenth century architecture despite knowing the Baroque news of curved facades that find the most complete expression in the Helvetic College in Milan.

 

The small arcade preceding the entrance shows four columns supporting arches : a clear link to the other works by Richini as the courtyard of Durini Palace and of  Brera Palace, both in Milan; the regular sections that divide the façade bring us back to the sixteenth-century culture, while the designs of  windows and the portal have a Baroque design; inside geometric lines are softened in the variety of  movements given from the bevellings that allow the light to flow along the wall, to focus on niches with statues of the saints and lead to the main altar flanked by two windows and richly worked in marble and stucco, with the image of the Virgin surrounded by columns, putti and decorations.

 

The milanese elegance, the Baroque movement, the light, decorations, the quality in construction make this church a real jewel of the milanese province, a work worthy of the important name of Francesco Maria Richini.

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