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Funeral Chapel for Domenico Ortelli

Giuseppe Terragni, Funeral Chapel for Domenico Ortelli, Cemetery of Cernobbio, 1929

The project of the Cappella Ortelli (Ortelli Chapel) is formed by the inclusion of two spaces into one another. The contrast between light and shadow is an intentional metaphor for the contrast between life and death. The rhetoric of monumental representation in this chapel is replaced by the modernity of abstraction. The superimposition in the chapel plan of two different spatial forms is particularly interesting: the plan, at first narrow, widens in the terminal area, which is however lower; the entrance prism rises to seek the light which, unable to enter from the sides, filters through a transparent parabolic shaped slab placed in the ceiling above the altar; the lower C-shaped body of the apse includes the prism, welding it to the ground. The tombstone is first surmounted by Vitaliano Marchini’s white marble bas-relief representing the resurrection and so concluded at the top with the wall inflected in an onyx plate. It is currently owned by the Pozzi-Simeoni family.