Monumental complex of S. MARIA DE Oil in Maiori (SA)

santa maria de olearia maiori

Reopened to the public from 27 March 2013 thanks to the collaboration between the town of Maiori and the Superintendence of artistic goods of Salerno and Avellino, the monumental complex of Santa Maria de oil, located along the Amalfi road that connects the promontory of Head of the bear with Maiori, is one of the most important Benedictine monastic settlements of the entire Amalfitano territory.

News of its foundation date back to the first Archbishop of Amalfi, Leone, who played the charge from 987 until his death in 1029; He granted to Peter, a hermit who lived in those places with his nephew John, to build the church of S. Maria de oil, near the site where the oil processing took place. Rare and precious testimony of art and architecture of the early Middle Ages in the entire Duchy of Amalfi, the monument was made known, for the first time, in 1871 by the Salazar. Built in the shadow of a large natural rocky cavern, over time a good part of it has been transformed to private use.

As suggestive as its architectural and environmental characteristics, the paintings that decorate it are the most interesting. These are three different fresco painting cycles, all of which are medieval, but executed at different times, located in as many overlapping environments as the cult destination. In the first of these, commonly called crypt or Catacomb, composed of three adjoining halls, is present, in two of the eastern apses, the first nucleus of frescoes, probably dating back to the primitive settlement, there are represented figures of saints whose Stylistic figure is to be traced back to the medieval culture bell between X and XI century.

On the adjoining wall you can recognize Byzantine characters, transferred here through the Apulian hermit painting of the first thirty years of the 11th century. On the terrace above, against to the rock, stands the church that houses the second important cycle of frescoes. They represent scenes from the life of Christ, from the Incarnation to the Passion, from Byzantine repertoires, but of a clear imprint of Campania-Lazio. Through a small staircase you can access the Chapel S. Nicola, built above the church and entirely frescoed, even on the façade.

The apse of the small compartment is turned to the north and shows the Virgin with St. Nicholas and St. Pauline, with a clear reminder of the role played by the two saints in defending orthodoxy against heresy. On the east wall are depicted scenes of miracles of St. Nicholas and on that opposite two theories of saints, in poor state of preservation. On the vault stands a clypeus containing Christ Pantocrator; On the façade, on the sides of the Lord's hand, two elegant fluttering angels appear.

The articulated spatial setting of the figures, made with conscious plasticity, prompted the modern criticism to bring these paintings closer to medieval Roman painting between the 11th and 12th centuries, whose peculiar datum is the references to the Carolingian culture and Late Antique.

Opening Hours:
Wednesday h. 15.30-19.30
Saturday H.  9.30-13.30
Sunday H.  9.00-14.00

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