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Church of San Lanfranco – The fresco of the murder of Thomas Becket

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In the nave of the Church of San Lanfranco, halfway down the right-hand side, there is a curious fresco, unfortunately only partial, painted between 1173 and 1198, depicting the murder of the Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, St Thomas Becket, on 29th December 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral by assassins sent by King Henry II of England. The fresco draws a parallel between Becket's life and that of the Bishop Lanfranco Beccari from Pavia: like Becket, he opposed King Henry of England who was limiting the freedom of the English clergy, an opposition that drove him to Rome to ask for help from the Pope and which, in the end, he paid for with his life. Similarly Lanfranco, a few decades later, came into sharp conflict with the authorities in Pavia and was forced to ask the Pope for help; he was not killed but retired to a monastery.

Church of San Lanfranco – The fresco of the murder of Thomas Becket

Via S. Lanfranco Beccari, 16, 27100 Pavia PV, Italy

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