Built from 1918 to 1919, Montreal’s Italian church, Madonna della Difesa, was Guido Nincheri’s project from beginning to end: he designed its architecture, painted its frescoes and other murals, made the stained-glass windows, painted some of the paintings that adorn its walls, and designed most of the sculptures.
“The Most Beautiful Church in North America”
That’s what Father Oscar Gauthier (1873–1964) wanted when he started, in 1928, the Saint-Léon-de-Westmount decoration project. Father Gauthier, priest at the church from 1920 to 1951, had lived in Rome for a few years and was impressed by the art he found there. He too wanted a beautiful Italian church, a church decorated in the Renaissance style. Which is why he hired Nincheri.