Church of Santa Maria del Gesù in Modica
The Church of Santa Maria del Gesù in Modica & nbsp; and the annexed Convent of the Observant Friars Minor represent one of the few surviving monuments, among the most relevant and least known, of the Architecture of the Sicilian fifteenth century.
The complex was built extra moenia, far from the inhabited center, today it has been incorporated into the Modica Alta district. It was built in 1478 by restoring a pre-existing Franciscan building already present at least since 1343, at the behest of Countess Giovanna Ximenes of Cabrera. It was declared a National Monument for having withstood the earthquake of 1693.
The façade, dating back to the first half of the 16th century, has a strongly splayed ogival portal which ends, at the sides, in two pronounced pillars , without the cusps which are kept in the Civic Museum. The capitals of the columns of the portal are carved with a decoration with leaf motifs, noble coats of arms and the iconographies of the crossed arms of Christ Crucified and San Francesco. A Franciscan cordon frames the lunette of the portal inside which there is a bas-relief which is unfortunately no longer legible. Above the portal there are two single-lancet windows with Moorish re-enactments, between them there are four coats of arms, now devoid of decorations, alternating with carved kneeling angels. Finally, above the entablature, the rose window is inserted, while on the left is the sturdy bell tower.
Of particular interest is the cloister of the convent in which we find the same tone of refinement of the facade. It has a square plan and is supported by decorated columns in the first order, and by octagonal pillars in the second. The coverage of the corridor of the first order is resolved with elegant crosses, while there is a wooden roof that rests on the masonry through shelves in the second order.