BATTAGGIO, Giovanni di Domenico
(active 1465-1499 in Lombardy)

Exterior view

begun 1490
Santa Maria della Croce, Crema

In 1490 Battaggio designed his most complex structure, the church of Santa Maria della Croce, Crema. The church was built about two and a half kilometre from city centre, outside the medieval walls, on the road to Bergamo where a Marian apparition may have affected Caterina degli Uberti, a woman from Cremona.

This church is central in plan, circular outside and octagonal inside. The oblique walls of the octagon open on to apsidal chapels that do not project from the external profile; the straight sides open on four chapels with an exterior octagonal profile and a Greek-cross plan inside. The exterior is executed in polychromed terracotta. An arcaded gallery runs around the circular corps de logis that rises above the ensemble of projecting chapels.

The plan of the church reflects the influence of Classical and Early Christian models: the central plan with satellite wings comes from San Lorenzo in Milan, the scheme of the octagon inscribed in a circle from Roman mausolea, and the plan of the peripheral chapels recalls that of the chapel of Sant'Ippolito in San Lorenzo. Similarly, on the upper level the system of superimposed galleries shows the influence of such medieval monuments as the baptistery of Cremona.

According to the records, Battaggio was dismissed from the project c. 1499 because of a disagreement with his clients. The master builder Antonio Montanaro of Cremona brought the church to completion in 1500, introducing Gothic decorative elements to the Renaissance plan.

View the axonometric drawing of the church.