Chapel of St Hippolytus or 'Gazolda'

The chapel of Sant'Ippolito opens on the left side of the nave, and is the only one with independent access from the portico, as well as from inside the church. It was erected in the mid-16th century as the mausoleum of the titular family of a small feud, an enclave within the Gonzaga duchy: the Ippolites. To this day, the village that constituted this domain bears the name Gazoldo degli Ippoliti, as does the sacred space, also known as 'Cappella degli Ippoliti' or 'Gazolda'.

There are two main points of interest. Firstly, the altar, crowned by an imposing altarpiece by Antonio Maria Viani, a painter and architect from the early 17th century. The work illustrates the martyrdom of the saint from whom the noble Mantuan family claimed its origins. He was a Roman soldier, martyred at the time of Diocletian's persecution. Hippolytus is surrounded by other martyrs, behind him the emperor orders the torture to proceed: he will be tied by the feet to horses that, dragging him, will tear his body apart. The painting is of a very high quality and the comparison with the apse in the cathedral of Mantua is appreciable, although the tones are darker, also to enhance the tragic aspect of the scene.

An autograph 'easel' version of the work is also known, which was recently identified and has become part of an important private collection in Mantua. It may well be the painting marked in the inventory of Paolo Ippoliti's possessions of 16 February 1604, as suggested by Chiara Tellini Perina's documentary discovery, and thus formerly located within the Ippoliti family's residences in Gazoldo.

The decoration on the walls is very fresh, luminous, and graceful, entrusted to a series of frescoes with triumphs of racemes and other plant decorations, accompanied by a pair of breakthroughs containing landscapes with small figures; all certainly reminiscent of Julian inventions, and emerged from the scialbatura during the restoration carried out in 1964. A monumental marble cenotaph on the wall bears the memory, with names and coats of arms, of the nobles buried in the crypt below.

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