On 30th August, the completion of the wood and bronze portal of the shrine of Madonna delle Grazie in Chiusdino (Siena) was inaugurated. The inauguration took place on the occasion of festivities celebrated every year in honour of the Madonna delle Grazie (Our Lady of Grace), and was officiated at by the Bishop of Volterra. The work is composed of a frame made of durmast wood, and wings of crystal. These are surmounted by a bronze lunette depicting the Madonna making an offer on the external side. In contraposition to this is a radially formed panel with the figure of Christ placed in its centre. The whole is completed by two pairs of bronze shackles representing praying angels. The wide glass wall, modern in its conception, offers the visitor a clear view of the architecture and of the interior decorations of the shrine. The objective is also to underline as much as possible the exquisitely made gate, entirely of wrought iron and dating back to the 1600's.

The best visual effect is obtained on the whole by the clever positioning of the sources of light. At dusk these lights convey an atmosphere of charm to the long forms and mouldings of the existing structure, thus giving them added value. The work of designing and realising the sculptures and bronze works was carried out by Master Nino Gorni of Brescia. He has shown in the past how close he is to this land, a land he has frequented for nearly thirty years. Other works by the Master are to be found in the municipality of Chiusdino: from the paintings in the Council Chamber of the town hall, to the more important wood statue of Saint Galgano situated in the Chapel of Montesiepi. This particular work has won the special prize from the jury of the international exhibition "Il Cenacolo" at the art gallery of Santa Croce in Florence. It was also donated by the artist to the community of Chiusdino. The portal, also from the artist's hands, makes no attempt at competing with the works of this region that have placed Italy in a dominating position in the production of art. Yet, it conveys new fame to the cultural patrimony of the people of Chiusdino, full of the very highest levels of art as they already are.



1999 Alessandro Gorni