di San Giovanni
SS. Addolorata Confraternity handed over Chiesetta San Giovanni to Gaspare
Spontini following his request in 1840. The musician decided to build
there an old people’s home and the new church of San Giovanni. The works
were supervised by Ciriaco Santini, architect in Jesi.
Church was built according to the Neoclassic Style. It was supposed to
keep the mortal remains of Gaspare Spontini. The musician died on 24th
January 1851 though and the church was unfinished. Spontini was so dressed
in the winter suite of Accademico di Francia and placed in triple coffin.
After three days of funeral honours the coffin was brought to Santo
Stefano Parish Church. The body was embalmed and the heart was given to
his wife Celeste Erard that took it with her to Paris.
Spontini died, his wife took personal care in the commission of the canvas
to be placed above the main altar. She commissioned the opera to Bellay, a
painter in Rome. The canvas should have depicted the Crucifixion. Rumors
had that Bellay was Celeste’s cousin’s husband. She then sent two
other important operas: Madonna
Addolorata, Guercino copy, San
Sebastiano painted by herself.
San Giovanni was completed on 7th March 1853. So Spontini’s
mortal remains were translated there. The body was placed in a grey marble
sarcophagus shaped by Fedele Biancini from Macerata. It is enriched by a
central marble cameo in Neoclassic style portraying the musician profile.
It was probably engraved by James Pradier, David D’Angers or Carlo
Church has a rectangular plant spotted by semicircular apses and symmetric
niches thought for the placement of other sarcophaguses. The dome
overlooking the faithful is sustained by four columns on each side. The
capitals are in Corinthian style. The main altar is instead sheltered by a
barrel vault with panels decorated with stuccoes. The two side niches are
instead covered by semi-domes decorated with grey and white stuccoes.
wife should have been buried in a tomb similar to his husband’s. She
died in France though on 1st
October 1878. She was so laid to rest in the Pere-Lachais Cemetery
in Paris. Instead of her sarcophagus there is a cenotaph, in her memory in
San Giovanni Church.