Who is Guido Nincheri? I get asked that question quite frequently when I begin to mention this Italian artist during my tours. Guido Nincheri was an influential artist born in Prato, Tuscany who notably studied architecture, painting, sculpting and became a master in the art of stained-glass windows. He has decorated many churches across Eastern Canada and the United States, and has created over 2000 stained glass windows throughout his career. He will be given the nickname of the “Michelangelo of Canada” for his work. That’s how influential he was.
Having given many tours in many areas where you can find his artwork, I have become somewhat obsessed. I present to you a short list of where you can find his impressive art.
1 – Saint-Léon-de-Westmount Church
Arguably Nincheri’s greatest achievement. Back in 1928, Father Oscar Gauthier wanted to build the most beautiful church in the world, and gave the mandate to Nincheri to work on the decorative aspects of this place of worship. The church does indeed feel like an intricate work of art. While the stained glass windows are quite impressive, the pièce de résistance is without a doubt the spectacular fresco representing the apocalypse adorning the ceiling of this church.
2 – Madonna Della Difesa Church
One of the main institutions not only in Little Italy but for the entire Montreal Italian community in general. It’s the oldest Italian catholic church in the entire country dating back to 1919. Nincheri oversaw most of the work not only for the decor but also for the building’s architecture. Its fresco, depicting over two hundred influential people, is both beautiful and quite controversial for historical reasons …
3- Saint-Michael and Saint Anthony Church
Nincheri’s depiction of Saint Michael watching falling angels is worth the visit to this Mile End church alone. I would also go just to admire the impressive architectural beauty of this byzantine-style church made by architect Aristide Beaugrand-Champagne.
(a stained-glass door at the Château Dufresne – notice the initials under the lady!)
4 – Château Dufresne
While the area is filled with many touristic sites such as the Olympic Stadium, the Biodome, and the Botanical Gardens, this gorgeous Beaux-Arts building at the corners of Sherbrooke and Pie IX should not be missed. Built for brothers Oscar and Marius Dufresne, it showcases Nincheri’s many decorative talents in addition to housing the Nincheri studio.
The city of Montreal has also paid homage to Nincheri by naming the park across the chateau in his name, Parc Guido-Nincheri. You can also stroll along the candy-coloured Promenade de la Ville-de-Québec while you are there.
Please visit Guido Nincheri’s official website to learn more about him and to see some examples of his amazing artwork!
Don’t forget that you can always book a private tour with me to see some of his masterpieces and to know more about this multi-talented artist.