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Museum of the Chapter of San Lorenzo

Inside the Island of San Lorenzo in Perugia, the architectural complex that includes the Cathedral of the same name and the Perugia Sotterranea, is the Museum of the Chapter, an exhibition space that preserves valuable artefacts and paintings, witnesses to the city's great cultural and liturgical heritage.

 

The work of the Perugia Brigade of Friends of Art

The history of the Museum of the Chapter of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo began in 1923, with the start of the recovery and conservation operation desired by the Chapter, and was completed about fifty years later, thanks to the work of art historian Umberto Gnoli and the Perugia Brigade of Friends of Art. This group of illustrious Perugian personalities promoted and enhanced the city's historical and artistic heritage with restorations, events and conferences.

Their action was decisive for the first mounting of a valuable museum collection open to the public. The latest exhibition, exactly one hundred years after its opening, was opened in February 2023.

 

A museum tour with a thematic character

The current museum tour is organised thematically and covers painting, sculpture, goldsmithing, miniature art and textiles. Thanks to modern explanatory panels, the visitor is accompanied in the discovery of the history of the Diocese of Perugia, its main personalities and the deep ties it established with the civil society of its territory and the artists of the time.

This thematic rather than chronological itinerary is reflected in the choice of naming its rooms after important personalities in the historical and artistic spheres, such as Leo XIII, the pontiff and bishop of Perugia from 1846 to 1878; Agostino di Duccio, an influential sculptor and architect from the mid-15th century; and Luca Signorelli, one of the main exponents of Renaissance painting.

There are also spaces dedicated to specific themes, such as the Hall of the Holy Ring, which traces the history of an important popular tradition in Perugia; the Perugia of the Popes, which documents the presence of the popes in the city through artefacts and paintings; and Hope and reliance, with devotional works of sacred art.

On the occasion of the museum's centenary, the Reliquary of the Holy Ring is temporarily on display in the Hall of the Holy Ring.

The Renaissance goldsmith's artefact was made in 1511 by Giulio Donati and Cesarino del Roscetto. Usually kept in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo in a system of safes, it encloses the ring of the Virgin, an object of great devotion of the people of Perugia.

The ostension of the ring takes place twice a year, in July and September, with the so-called 'lowering' of the Holy Ring, when the safes are lowered, using a mechanism in the shape of a silver cloud, and opened with the fourteen keys required!

In the museum, the reliquary is exhibited together with a reproduction of Perugino's work The Marriage of the Virgin, ideally recreating its original location. The master had in fact composed it precisely for the chapel of the Sant'Anello. The canvas is currently in France, at the Caen Museum.

In the room dedicated to Agostino di Duccio we find another work of great impact: the recomposition, through fragments slabs, festoons and cymatics, of the sculpture of the three marble slabs that formed part of the decorative covering of the Altar of Mercy , a recomposition that was carried out in the 2011 exhibition. It was created by the Florentine sculptor between 1473 and 1474, commissioned by the Ranieri family.

The museum is also known for one of the earliest works by the great Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli (1441 - 1523), the St. Onofrio Altarpiece. This work, dated 1484, was made for the altar of the Chapel of Sant'Onofrio, commissioned by the Bishop of Perugia Jacopo Vagnucci, who is buried there. Saint Herculaneum, one of the four saints flanking the Virgin, has his features and is portrayed, together with Saint Lawrence, wearing sumptuous liturgical vestments.

A great compositional balance and a painterly style, already clearly recognisable, characterise the arrangement of the figures. In the objects - the flowers, the mitre - one perceives the inspiration from Flemish art. That of the Portinari Triptych by Vandergoes, in particular, in the glass vase.

Monday to Sunday 10.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Last admission 30 minutes before closing

Fares

Full price ticket: 8 euro

Reduced price ticket (over 75, 18/25 years, teachers): 6 euro

Reduced ticket 2 (under 18, groups with at least 15 participants): 4 euros

Family ticket (two adults and underage children): 20 euros

Free for children up to 5 years of age, accompanying persons for organised groups (max 2 per group), tour guides with ID, priests, religious men and women

For further information:

https://isolasanlorenzo.it/

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