THEOratorio della Maddalena is located in the northern area of the ancient nucleus of Novi, close to the layout of the fifteenth-century walls. It overlooks Via Abba, formerly the Maddalena district, with a paved churchyard in front.
The architectural layout of the oratory allows us to date it around the end of 500'. This does not exclude that the Company of Disciplinants, to which the realization is due, could have been much older and therefore originally settled in a building different from the current one.
The history of the Company, which became a Confraternity at the behest of Pope Clement VII in the 1618, he knows a particularly intense moment during the Jubilee of the 1750. In hearing by Benedict XIV, the confreres ask His Holiness to grant a relic, a "holy body" to be kept in the oratory, and the request is accepted. Shortly after, in fact, the body of St. Prospero arrives, taken from the catacombs of Priscilla, who in 1757 was proclaimed co-patron of the city.
The oratory of the Maddalena has an elongated structure, with a single nave, ending with a small choir delimited by three arches. The middle one, higher than the side ones, frames the altar and contains the plastic group of the Lamentation.
The Lamentation over Christ is a statuary group in polychrome terracotta, enclosed in a niche and restored in the 1980. It consists of eight figures, arranged in a semicircle around the deposed Christ. All the statues, almost natural in size, would have been shaped and cooked on the spot, forming a single block with the base.
The figures, starting from the left, are: Giuseppe d'Arimatea, Giovanni Evangelista, Maria Vergine, Maria di Giacomo, Mary Magdalene and Nicodemus, mostly on their knees. In the background, on the sides, there are two other pious women.
Above the niche of the Compianto stands the grandiose representation of Calvary, a composition that engages the entire apsidal space on several levels, culminating in the scene of the Crucifixion that takes place at the top.
The group is animated by over twenty wooden statues, framed by the surface of the freshly painted walls. These are single pieces, of the highest quality, made almost naturally in essence of olive, originally brightly painted and sometimes worn.
The complex can be dated around the early 600s and, despite its stylistic homogeneity, reveals the contribution of different hands. A workshop, whose master demonstrates a great technical experience, modeling the figures in moved, casual poses, with refined drapery and naturalistic results, and his apprentices, whose trait is recognizable in some sudden stiffening of the forms.
We can state that it is a work of high artistic quality, which leads to the pathos that it still transmits to those who visit it.
Via Paolo Giacometti, 22