The church of San Biagio is noticeable for the buttresses along the via Emilia°°. Existing since the 14th century, and used by the Carmelite friars, it was rebuilt in 1649-65 by Cristoforo Malagola, the socalled ‘Galaverna’.
The interior has a single nave, but there are six altars in the arches on either side. On the right, in the third one, Sant’Alberto di Sicilia treading on Satan by Dosso Dossi or Gian Gherardo delle Catene (1530); a pulpit of the 15th century in red Veronese marble; Crucifixion by G. Rossi and a painting of the 19th century by Beroaldi with the Patron Saints of Modena Geminiano, Contardo e Omobono.
On the left, the painting on the baptismal font is by Domenico Carnevali (16th century). Here lies Orazio Vecchi (1551-1605), the famous Modenese musician whom the conservatoire is dedicated to. There are also San Giuseppe col Bambino and Santa Teresa by Giambettino Cignaroli; Madonna col Bambino by Preti; an altar dated 1672 by Tommaso Loraghi and a painting by Francesco Vellani (San Giovanni della Croce).
What’s most remarkable in the church are the frescoes painted in the middle of the 17th century by Mattia Preti (socalled ‘the Calabrese’) in the dome and in the conch. He was Guercino’s student in Rome. In the pendentives of the dome the Four Evangelists, in the vaulting of the ceiling Paradise, in the conch a particular Angels concert.
The high altar is covered with gold leaf; under the choir, the grave of the aristocrat Furio Molza; on the wall, Annunciation by Giovanni Battista Codebò (before 1596). In the church there is also the tomb of the famous Modenese sculptor from the end of the 15th century Guido Mazzoni.
By entering from Via del Carmine, left of the church, or by the left of the transept, one reaches a romanitc 15th century cloister with marble pillars. On the wall, there is a recently discovered Madonna con Bambino in mandorla e San Martino (14th century).
In the wonderful sacristry, rich furniture in walnut, and vaulting by Girolamo Curti (completed by Michele Colonna and Agostino Mitelli) representing Elijah and the fired cart. By the same artists is the Sant’Angelo chapel.
In the chapterhouse there is a beautiful golden panelled ceiling and the Madonna del latte attributed to Tommaso da Modena (14th century).
[Images from 1 to 5 and 27 by Stefano Villani (courtesy of Archivio Fotografico del Museo Civico d'Arte di Modena)]