Church of San Michele Arcangelo in Peschiera Maraglio
Originally depending on Sale Marasino, the parish church of Peschiera Maraglio became independent in the 16th Century. The church, which bears the ancient dedication to San Michele Arcangelo (St. Michael the Archangel), is located in the high part of the village. The original construction, dated end of the 16th Century, was replaced at the beginning of the following century by the present building, consecrated in 1648 and then rebuilt in the 18th Century.
The two orders façade, divided into three parts by two pairs of pillar strips, ends with a smooth triangular gable. The portal is also in Sarnico stone and is decorated with Tuscan pillar strips defined by mouldings. The broken gable has a dedicatory inscription  in the centre where, rather curiously, there is no mention of St. Michael.
The rather small bell tower (17th Century), is decorated with overhanging stone mouldings and plastered.
The single nave interior is covered with a barrel vault interrupted by rib vaults in correspondence with the four chapels; the walls are interspersed by massive pillar strips with composite order capitals, covered with faux marble plaster; the sanctuary, surmounted by a dome, ends with an apse. The decoration is very elaborate, both on plasters (18th-19th Century) and frescoes. A frieze with garlands runs along the sides; the mural paintings are set in mixtilinear lunette or ogival frames. In the vault and the inside façade frescoes with St. Michael defeating the devil, the Apparition of St. Michael on Mount Gargano, the Theological virtues, and other monochrome scenes and figures date back to the 18th Century and are similar to other frescoes in the area executed by travelling Lombard artists yet to be identified. The Apostles, along the walls within arched plaster frames are dated as being 19th Century.
The frescoes in the sanctuary, enclosed by elaborate white plaster frames with gilded inserts, depict the Assumption of the Virgin in the dome, the Evangelists in the squinches and in the lower lunette the Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila. They are the work of Francesco Monti, the Bolognese artist, representative of a graceful and a slightly fragile late baroque style, who moved to Brescia in 1738 and was active in the town, the district and also the Bergamo area.
The high altar, with variegated marble panels, culminates in a beautiful mixtilinear marble tabernacle with small columns (18th Century), ornamented by six free-standing small white marble statues surmounted by a onion-shaped crown. What are unusual are the two wings, both dating to the 18th Century: the lower, silver and gilded copper, depicts the monstrance flanked by two angels; the upper is an intense Pietà painted by Domenico Voltolini from Brescia.
The altarpiece, depicting The Virgin in Glory with St. Michael the Archangel and St. Roch, from the early 19th Century, is presented in a 1930 frame which has a style of more ancient models. On the curve of the apse, it is flanked by two other late 18th Century paintings with St. Lawrence and The Virgin appearing to a saint, hung high up in elaborate gilded frames and overhanging two marble aediculas. There are four chapels dedicated, respectively, to the Relics, to the Sacred Heart, to Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Roch. The altars in white, black and red marble with protomes in the shape of heads of cherubs are dated 17th Century and come from the previous site. The altarpieces are more modern (some, the work of South Tyrolean artists, dating back to 1930) and feature sculptures, mainly in wood, 19th or 20th Century, alternating with more antique examples, such as the St. Roch and St. Michael on the altar of Relics.
The commission of the beautiful wooden statues of St. Joseph and St. Joachim for the altar of the Rosary to the Fantoni workshop from Rovetta dated 1764, the year in which the master carvers delivered a Madonna and Child, also made of wood, now replaced by a more recent statue (20th Century). The statues of Saints Peter and Stephen at the sides of the Sacred Heart of Christ also bear the Fantoni style.
The Mysteries on the altar of the Rosary dating to the late 18th Century and the two paintings with St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena in the same chapel are also works of a good level.
For further information:
TURLA F., La vergine bellezza di Montisola, Brescia 2001, pp. 397-403.