Counterfaçade of the Church


The current counterfaçade of the church actually corresponds to the back wall of the medieval house of worship, whose first documentary evidence dates from the 13th century (1229, 1233, 1250, 1253). Indeed, at that time its longitudinal axis had the canonical orientation, with the presbytery and the apse positioned towards the east and the façade facing west. The fragments of frescoes hidden behind the organ gallery, which can only be seen with difficulty, date from the medieval period. They were rediscovered in 1989. Behind the handrail, along the flight of steps that leads to the organ loft, can be seen two well-defined female figures, not particularly large. In the same section, to the left, can be seen the standing figure of a saint (Saint John the Evangelist), much higher than the two women. On the other part of the wall, hidden behind the wooden structure holding the pipes and bellows, it is possible to partially see another standing saint (Saint John the Baptist), inside a decorative frame. They are positioned symmetrically at the sides of what was probably a complete pictorial composition, originally entirely visible to the faithful as they faced the main altar. Stylistically, some experts believe that the fresco fragments recall certain characteristics of some French painting from the first half of the 14th century. There are similarities with the expressive methods of the so-called “Maestro di San Nicola”, the anonymous fresco painter who worked in the church of S. Andrea in Savigliano, in Savigliano’s old town hall and in a private home, also in Savigliano. The linear Gothic of the fragments in this church, as well as some affinities with the painted wooden ceiling in Alba’s Palazzo Serralunga (from the Angevin period), suggest a possible dating to the third decade of the 14th century. The pipe organ was installed in the organ loft in 1876. It was the work of two organ-making brothers from Centallo, Francesco and Vittorio Vittino.


Associazione culturale San Giovanni
Piazza Pertinace 4, 12051 Alba
CF 90044700046