Symbolic significance of the Sanctuary
The existing three-nave church represents a medieval religious view of the world in which material objects were deemed illusory, and only the Divine and Transcendental as true reflections of the real world. Symbolizing Christianity, the impenetrable fortress was seen as shielding the righteous from external threats. The southern portal is a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture, with the sculpture of Christ above the altar portrayed as the Judge of the World, flanked by an Evangelist on either side. The painted cupola, depicting the Creation, is the largest remaining Romanesque fresco in existence. Of interest to art historians, is the man hidden under a hood; a self-portrait of the artist.
The crypt beneath the high choir dates back to the 12th Century; the statue of St. Candidus (patron saint of the monastery) erected around 1240.
The San Candido Crucifixion Group is one of the most significant High Medieval religious works of art. Dating from the mid-13th Century, the Christ after the Resurrection is portrayed as the Son of God. After conquering suffering and returning from the dead, Jesus appears radiant and victorious. The head of a Mongol beneath the Saviour’s foot represents the vanquished invader. This portrayal is in sharp contrast to the martyred and suffering Christ of the late Middle Ages. Rating: A unique work of art of that era.