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Museo della Collegiata di San Giovanni battista Chianciano Terme


Museo della Collegiata di San Giovanni battista

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Museo della Collegiata di San Giovanni battista
via solferino 38 Chianciano Terme

Telephone 0578-30378

Business card (vCard)

Open from April to October
Museum of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist The Museum came into being in 1923 as “ A space for ancient art”, to collect, in agreement with the town ship, works coming from the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist and from the various churches of Chianciano. In 1988, the museum has been rearranged in three spaces on the first floor of the magistrates’ court according to modern museum criteria . In the space, destined as ticket office, have been placed two coffers, a cloth relic shrine with the Tree of Life and two wardrobes that contain several objects for liturgical uses . On the wall, on the right hand side of the first room , is exhibited a detached fresco that represents the Ascent of the Virgin Mary, dated between 1300 and 1400 and attributed to a Sienese artist close to Martino di Bartolomeo . This fresco comes from the Cathedral, as does the red marble bas relief with the Blessing Christ, attributed to a Sienese sculptor of the first half of the XIV century. A glass show case assembles important goldsmith works : the base of a relic shrine, dated 1300, made of gilded bronze decorated with parts in enamel representing saints , a patinated chalice dated 1400, a relic shrine shaped as a small temple and an alms plate, dated at the beginning of 1500. The great painted Cross, dated at the beginning of the XIV century, previously located in the Cathedral, and previously attributed to the Master of S.Polo in Rosso, is now attributed to Segna di Bonaventura. In the final part of the lateral arms of the cross, are represented busts of the Dolenti (the suffering ones ) and in the superior part appears the figure of God, the Blessing Father. A wooden polychromous sculpture representing a Madonna with Child on a throne, dated 1265-1270, and created in Nicola Pisano’s workshop, and a very delicate Madonna of Humility, dated at the beginning of the 1400, close to the painting style of the Florentine Lorenzo di Niccolò have been bestowed, in deposit, to the Museum from the township of Chianciano, that had become their legal owner due to suppressions. A fragmentary polyptyc h dated the first half of the XIV century and attributed to an anonymous Sienese artist, disciple of Ugolino di Nerio, that due to this important piece became afterwards known as Master of Chianciano, shows in the central part a Madonna with Child ; on her right are present , almost at full figure, the Archangel Michael and the Baptist, on her left the monk Macario and the apostle Bartolomeo. The cusps enclose , in the same order, the saints Stephen, Secondiano, Ireneo and Sylvester, but the four external figures have been lost. The effigies are identified by titles , that render the recognition easier. As a matter of fact, whereas Stephen ( a young deacon with jewels on his head, on the left) and the bearded Pope Sylvester, that closes the series, are easily recognizable, Secondiano and Ireneo, represented with the crown of martyrdom in their hands, appear less characterized and tied to the devotion of the Diocese of Chiusi (of which Chianciano represented the summer residence). On the frame of the painting, there also appear the names of “David” and “Isaia”. Their presence brings us to believe that in the upper part, now lost, the prophets were represented. In the following room, in a small ancon is represented Saint John the Baptist, holding the town of Chianciano in his hand, painted by an anonymous local XVI century artist. The painted town reproduces the ancient aspect of the populated center. Inside the perimeter walls are recognizable, from the left, the fortress, with the tower , from where flies the standard with a white eight pointed star in a red field, the square with the tower, the town hall ( with battlements, towers and the civic code of arms on the facade) and finally the Cathedral, on the highest point of which appears a candid sculpture representing the Baptist. The painting shows the Saint appointed patron and protector of the town, represented according to an iconographic module, very popular at the time. Since the inscription on the bottom part (“sce .Johanes. ora.pro”) lacks the final word of the invocation, we can presume that the painted board has been trimmed. Above the ancon, that belongs to the township, there is a lunette with a Madonna with Child and underneath the star of Chianciano. Enclosed in a showcase, there’s a relic shrine dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, created by a goldsmith in the second half of the XVI century, three chalices dated at the beginning of the 1600, brass candle holders, and a small gilded wooden sculpture representing a Madonna with Child, all dated 1600. Another showcase contains silver articles of later manufacture: two chalices dated the second half of the 1600, one chalice belonging to the beginning of the following century and two altar cards realized by Paolo Taddei between 1696 and 1705. A fragment of a detached fresco representing a Madonna with Child is attributed to an early 1500 artist from Umbria and was commissioned for the Confraternity of Good Death , now Church of the Immacolata. A small tablet representing a Madonna with Child, San Rocco and San Sebastian, is attributed to Marco Bigio, a XVI century Sienese artist . The choice of the two saints takes us to presume that the painting was influenced by the period when it was commissioned . It comes from the Cathedral and it shows Saint Sebastian with the arrows of martyrdom and Saint Rocco characterized by the pilgrim’s symbols: the staff with a knotted scarf, the porcupine’s quills behind the shoulders and the symbols on the cape made up of small crossed sticks and a shell. Two coffin headstands, already present in the Cathedral, represent a Madonna with Child and Saint John the Baptist . They’re attributed to a Florentine painter of the first half of the 1500. Next to them there’s a stained glass window , attributed to a late 1400 artist, that again has to do with Saint John the Baptist. Tempera painted , on the four jambs of two wardrobe panels are Saint Peter , Saint Paul, Saint Joseph and Saint Jack. They were executed by a Sienese artist , in the second half of the 1500. The cyma carvings with angel heads are dated in the same period and placed in the same environment. Originally, they were in the church of the Madonna of the Roses. The fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary are painted in a popular XVI century manner, and they come from the Franciscan monastery of Saint Michael Archangel. The canvas representing the Madonna of the Rosary, already present in the Cathedral, has been attributed to Niccolò Betti, a Florentine painter, pupil of Michele Tosini, known from 1571 to 1617, that worked at Francis I’s Studio in Palazzo Vecchio . Afterwards he received commissions only from local people. In the painting, on the sides of the throne of the Virgin, behind Saint Catherine from Siena, appear three women, near Saint Domenic, there are the same number of men, that represent through very characteristic features both the stages of life and the members of the Confraternity of the Rosary, that in 1616 commissioned the painting to celebrate the aggregation of the Roman Archconfraternity of Minerva. Two paintings on canvas by Niccolò Betti, both representing the Annunciation are in the third room. One of the canvases comes from the monastery of Saint Michael Archangel and on the lectern appears the inscription “ suor madda/lena – fecit/ 1580”; the same historical period also appears on the book that the Virgin holds in her hands. The other Annunciation was commissioned by the Confraternity of Good Death. The symbol of the brotherhood appears with the initials “n.b.” and the year 1581 appears on the base of the lectern. The code of arms of the confraternity ,inserted in a cartouche, consists of the symbol of death and of two hourglasses correlated with the words : “ in hoc signo vinces”. Two small canvases with the heads of the Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel hang on a panel. They’re to be numbered among the many derivations from the miraculous image of the Annunciation in Florence , divulged after the Council of Trento. They’re attributed to a Florentine painter of the middle of the 1600 and they come from the Cathedral. A very pleasant devotional painting hung on the other side of the panel, portrays Saint Crispino and Saint Crispiniano, patron saints of the shoemakers . In the foreground the two saints carry out their work , one tanning a hide on a work bench, the other sewing shoes , seated on a stool, in a workshop ,where several wooden forms are exhibited. Contrasting this scene, that represents an XVIII century environment (except for the clothes, Roman style, but protected by leather aprons), in the background there’s a landscape characterized by ancient buildings, where are represented some of the tortures inflicted on the two saints, first immersed in a kettle ,at the beginning full of liquid lead, later substituted, due to the uselessness of the torture, by a mixture made of burning pitch , fat and oil. An inscription on the back of the canvas, reveals that the painting “ was commissioned by the Magnificent Lords Giovan Domenico Sgrelli, Luigi Scarselli and Pietro Carlani” and that it was blessed by the archpriest Antonio Forti on the 24th of October, 1780. The other paintings include a Holy Family, dated 1700, probably painted by Galgano Perpignani and that comes from the Confraternity of Good Death, a copy of the Madonna of Divine Love by Raphael and the Vision of San Gaetano, tentatively attributed to the Sienese painter Astolfo Petrazzi, that operated in the XVII century. The canvas with the Purification of the Virgin, attributed to Crescenzio Gambarelli, that worked in the Sienese territory between 1500 and 1600, originally was in the Cathedral. In a showcase are exhibited the fabrics: a wardrobe composed by a red velvet chasuble, stole and maniple , dated at the beginning of the 1600s, another one dated at the end of the XVIII century. Two other showcases exhibit silver objects : in one there are two crosses; one dated 1600 and the other the following century. There also are two XVIII century monstrances. In the other showcase, there are trays, cruets, an oil lamp, a small pail, an aspersorium and chalices dated 1700 and 1800.

By Ludovica Sebregondi


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