St.Aloysius Chapel is situated in the heart of Mangalore city on the Lighthouse Hill. This was built by Jesuit Missionaries in 1880 and its interiors painted by the Italian Jesuit Antonio Moscheni in 1899, during the Mangalore Mission in 1878. The Italian Jesuits played an important role in education, health, and social welfare of the Mangalorean Catholic community and built the St. Aloysius College in 1880,St Aloysius Chapel in 1884, and many other institutions and churches.
The interior of the chapel decorated with paintings by Antonio Moscheni (1854 –1905) that cover almost all of the walls, which is unusual in chapels in India. The paintings are preserved by a recognised board of the nation which maintains and restores all historic artefacts.
The central row of paintings on the ceiling depicts the life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, to whom the college and chapel are dedicated.
Aloysius earlier life is shown in the first three panels.
The sloping ceiling panels portray the Apostles, with floral garlands weaving through the panels. No two garlands have the same flowers. The angels who hold the garland are life size. The upper arches depict saints of the Church. The lower arches depict Jesuit saints.
The painting on the rear wall shows Jesus as the friend of children. It is considered to be the masterpiece of Moscheni. Due to seepage of rain water the painting was covered with fungus and calcium carbonate crystals. It has now been restored but a patch of the unrestored painting has been left untouched below the woman seated at the right.
There are many paintings which take up the life of Jesus.
How the Chapel was painted
There are two types of paintings in the chapel: fresco and canvas. A fresco is painted on fresh wet lime plaster walls. The colours get embedded in the lime plaster as it dries up. Frescos cover about 600 square metres of the walls of the Chapel. For an oil painting, the colours are made by mixing pigments with linseed oil. The canvas is made of pure linen of strong close weave. The paintings on the ceilings in the Chapel (about 400 square metres) are in oil on canvas.