The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

Between 1953 and 1954, the Schwendi Chapel was built in the Weisstannen valley. After weeks of physiognomic studies of the inhabitants of the region of St. Gallo, Comensoli painted a wall of the church with the theme of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. The Madonna rises up to heaven leaving behind a crowd of peasants dazzled by the light and terrified by that vision: the faces, the figures are those of people forged by working the land, simple people and devoted. We are now far from the stylized silhouettes of Meilen’s painting “Fight with demons”: realism and mysticism dictate the times of the figuration. Comensoli involves and is involved in that choral apparition: he is struck by the solemnity of the moment.

The parish priest and the people of Weisstannen appreciate this work. Numerous visitors, including Brecht’s widow, actress Helene Weigel, bear witness to unconditional admiration. The years passed and in 1976 the new parish owner did not share the enthusiasm of his predecessor and he did not appreciate the mixture between sacred and profane that is within the very meaning of the work. And on the pretext of restoration work, he had the painting erased by masons, without even making contact with the higher ecclesiastical authorities.

It is an act of vandalism that hits Mario Comensoli hard. Friends from Zurich try to alleviate his suffering by setting up an exhibition at the Zum Strauhof museum of the drawings used for the preparation of the fresco. Unfortunately, there are only a series of charcoals, several black and white photos and a colour drawing saved by a teacher from the region that could represent at least a compositional phase of a lost work of art.