East meets West, in Santa Maria de Olearia’s frescoes
The complex of Santa Maria de Olearia, on the Amalfi Coast, includes three small overlapping churches built starting in the late 10th century in Maiori.
During the Middle Ages, the town was a favorite hermitage and a meeting point for monks of the Eastern and Western Christendom. Today, its unique history is mirrored in the remaining layers of past architectures such as Santa Maria de Olearia.
Here, the so-called crypt (or catacomb) showcases frescoes in Campania’s typical Medieval style alongside paintings obviously inspired by Byzantine art.
A second cycle in the Chapel of the Virgin, on the upper terrace, represents scenes from the life of Jesus according to the canons prevailing at the time in Campania and Lazio, although it based on Byzantine sources.
Finally, critics say the Chapel of Saint Nicholas – the third and highest up part of the complex – is decorated with paintings by 11th-century Roman artists.
Clearly, the road between Byzantium and Rome passed through the Gulf of Salerno.