Cortona, a new display for the works of Luca Signorelli at the Museo Diocesano

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Luca Signorelli's death, the Diocesan Museum of Cortona is inaugurating a new display of the room that houses the eleven works by the artist and his workshop, including several key masterpieces.

The Diocese of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro is celebrating the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of Luca Signorelli (Cortona, c. 1445 - 1523) with a new layout of the room dedicated to the artist inside the Diocesan Museum of Cortona. Since last April 11, visitors can therefore see the works of the Renaissance artist and his workshop with the new layout and lighting. The collection consists of as many as eleven works, including masterpieces by Luca Signorelli (the Lamentation over the Dead Christ from 1502, the artist’s earliest work found in his hometown, the Communion of the Apostles , and theImmaculate Conception), and works created with the help of his workshop (or paintings from his atelier).

Signorelli’s works have been preserved for exactly one hundred years in this room: in fact, the Diocesan Museum of Cortona came into being on the occasion of the celebrations that, in 1923, were organized to commemorate the fourth centenary of Luca Signorelli’s death. On that occasion the Chapter agreed that the best works of the Cortonese painter from the churches of the city and the territory should be brought together in the upper Gesù church, by then used as the baptistery of the Cathedral. With this collection, inaugurated on October 11, 1925, in addition to illustrating a period of Italian greatness in art, the city of Cortona could pay tribute to its most illustrious son.

The room with Signorelli’s works, preserving the previous museographic arrangement, has been set up by replacing the existing lighting points with modern light fixtures placed below, hidden inside structures that also serve as protective spacers, and which are provided with a backlit window where a reasoned caption has been inserted for each painting on display, so as to enhance the legibility of the painted panels.

The enhancement project, authorized by the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the provinces of Siena, Grosseto and Arezzo, to safeguard and make usable to visitors this pictorial heritage of relevant importance, launched last year and led by Dr. Serena Nocentini, director of the Diocese’s Cultural Heritage Office, was made possible thanks to the contribution of 8permille funds and Opera laboratories.

“Keeping works of art is the patrimony and responsibility of the Church and of our ecclesial communities,” explained Bishop Andrea Migliavacca of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro. “On this horizon Cortona is fortunate to preserve eleven masterpieces by Luca Signorelli and his workshop, whose 500th anniversary of his death (1523-2023) falls this year. It only remains for me to make myself a pilgrim with the pilgrims and a tourist with the tourists to learn about and admire this important art heritage.”

A catalog in Italian and English entitledLucaSignorelli and ’the grace of invention, published by Sillabe, has also been produced for the occasion.The catalog includes contributions by Antonio Natali, Serena Nocentini, Simone Allegria, and Patrizia Rocchini, and offers itself as a guide for the discovery of Signorelli’s works in the Museum. Thanks to the collaboration of the Centro Studi Frate Elia di Cortona, there are some insights into the church of San Francesco, from which some of the works come, and where the painter was, as per his wishes, buried.

The Diocesan Museum of Cortona is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (closing from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.). With the entrance ticket, a free audio guide will be given to accompany the visitor through the museum tour. For info and reservations - tel. 0577 286300.

Cortona, a new display for the works of Luca Signorelli at the Museo Diocesano
Cortona, a new display for the works of Luca Signorelli at the Museo Diocesano

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