Art in Umbria

Late-Gothic in Umbria

A discovery tour of Late Gothic fresco cycles and paintings of court life and sacred themes

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In the XV century, the popularity of novels featuring knights also influenced the figurative arts and give life to a widespread diffusion of paintings with themes based on books. The remaining examples of this are rare and, therefore, very precious: in Umbria you'll discover two of the most important of these cycles. Not only, but you'll get a chance to see other Late Gothic frescoes of a religious nature.

You'll be travelling north to south as you cover the route. Start from the Church of San Francesco in Gubbio, located on the southern end of Piazza Quaranta Martiri at the foot of the old city. The frescoes done by Ottaviano Nelli depicting stories of the Virgin were done in the style of international Gothic.  

Perugia under the Baglioni family was undergoing innovative artistic change and even Domenico Veneziano painted for the ruling noble family. These frescoes have been lost to us, but you can still see the great works done by the artist in the Domenico di Bartolo polyptych and the Triptych by Beato Angelico, both housed at the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria in the city centre.

As you continue southwards along the valley, stop in to see Palazzo Trinci, located at the northern end of Piazza della Repubblica in Foligno. The Trinci family commissioned the decoration of their palazzo to various artists and Gentile da Fabriano seems to have been the one to paint the Sala dei Giganti with large effigies of the illustrious men of Ancient Rome. The palazzo is also home to the city museum.

Your last stop along this journey is in Spoleto to see some of the most rare and precious frescoes from this period in the Rocca Albornoziana, strategically built on the top of the Sant'Elia hill in 1359. Inside the Torre Maestra, in the Picta Room, is a cycle depicting stories of knights painted by the Maestro della Dormitio of Terni before 1416. It portrays scenes from court literature. Make sure you take a good look at the allegory of the Fountain of Youth.