Oratorio di San Lorenzo
via Immacolatella, 1
The Oratorio di San Lorenzo is located in the Kalsa district, next to the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, with access from a garden of papyrus reeds and orange trees. The building was constructed around 1570 by the confraternity of San Francesco, initially to bury the deads of Kalsa neighbourhood. Giacomo Serpotta was called in to work on the stucco decorations from 1699 to 1706. The main nodes of the narrative thread of the decorations, made with marble dust, are the so-called ‘teatrini‘, culminating on the counter-facade with the depiction of Martirio di San Lorenzo. Episodes are shown from the life of San Lorenzo (to whom the fifteenth-century church demolished was dedicated) and San Francesco d’Assisi, patron of the Compagnia dei Bardigli e Cordigeri. These tales are accompanied by a host of allegories, examples to be followed by the brothers of the confraternity: Humility, Glory, Welcome, Repentance, Perseverance, Mercy, Charity, Alms, Truth and Faith. In 1609 Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio painted an altarpiece for the Oratorio depicting the Natività con i santi Lorenzo e Francesco d’Assisi, which was stolen during the night between 17 and 18 October 1969, and has never been recovered.
Today the Oratorio is managed by the non-profit company Associazione Amici dei Musei Siciliani, which organizes guided visits.
Oratorio di San Lorenzo is part of the section City on Stage of The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence. From 15 to 24 June, the installation-performance, i’m happy to own my implicit biases (malo mrkva, malo batina), by Nora Turato took place at the Oratorio di San Lorenzo.