Diocesan Museum of Fossano
Diocesi di Fossano
Via Vescovado, 8, Fossano (CN)
The idea of a Diocesan Museum in Fossano dates back to the 1970s, when collection and restoration of sacred artworks was initiated, inspired by a cathedral museum that was planned but never opened, enriched over time with works and artefacts of a sacred and liturgical nature. The Diocesan Museum opened in 2004, in the ground-floor rooms of the former seminary in an 18th-century mansion. It is compliant with all legal requirements, accessible to the disabled visitor, and vaunts a rich artistic heritage, saved from decay thanks to excellent restoration. The exhibition rooms are meticulously arranged to display paintings, wood carvings and silver artefacts, dating from between the 17th and 18th centuries, from the churches and confraternities of the city and its hinterland. They are deeply religious works which must not risk oblivion because even today they represent a valuable tool for evangelization and emphasize the link that art forges between God and humanity. In this regard the group of nine magnificent paintings, an authentic Biblia Pauperum, are emblematic in their narration of the Stories of Joseph, produced in c. 1613 and attributed to Giuseppe Barroto These canvases deserve special attention because they are like outright windows through which the observer observes the message of faith, passing through city views, almost metaphysical, nuanced interpretations of the ideal Renaissance city, to landscapes of Flemish inspiration. Worthy of note are five paintings by Sebastiano Taricco, adorning the altar in the old oratory of the Holy Trinity. Among these paintings it is worth remembering a magical Adoration of the Magi and the figures of the Blessed Amadeus of Savoy and Blessed Oddino Barotti. Also worth mentioning are the rich silver artefacts, especially the monstrance – outstanding for beauty and symbolism – commissioned in 1702 by the Misericordia Confraternity from Asti silversmith Tommaso Groppa. The language of the symbols of the Passion of Christ is extremely engaging and the deep humanity and compassion poignant in the faces of the charming 18th-century Baroque wood carvings on display in the blue room entirely dedicated to the Misericordia Confraternity. The pieces were made in the workshops of Plura and Nicola, veritable processional machines that play a key role in Holy Week’s religious ceremonies.
The room is home to a rich gallery of portraits of Fossano benefactors, serving as a pictorial document and historical record of what has been called “the epic of charity”, an expression of the devout association that donated huge amounts of money and goods to the town’s charitable religious institutions, from the 16th century onwards, above all the Santissima Trinità Hospital.
From an historical and religious point of view, incisive figures like the Fossano patron Saint Juvenal, Bishop of Narni, and Blessed Oddino Barotti, Provost of the collegiate church of Santa Maria e San Giovenale, are given well-deserved space.
Accompanied by skilled trained guides, visitors are able to make a fascinating journey into the sacred art of our area and watch an interesting multi-screen narrating the history of Diocese of Fossano through curious anecdotes and information.
Fossano Diocesan Museum is laid out in five rooms. The entrance room contains works from the churches of Santa Maria di Loreto, Murazzo parish church and the Cross chapel: a frescoed Infant Jesus by a mid-16th-century local painter, measuring 35 x 70 cm; a frescoed Saint John the Baptist by a mid-15th-century Piedmontese painter, measuring 53 x 45 cm; a work measuring 45 x 191 cm by a late-17th-century local artist.
The green room contains 20 works, of which 16 came from the church of San Giuseppe. The 2003 restoration of the church’s external walls and structures also extended to part of the interior. Fortunately the furnishings had survived the 1975 collapse and now are on show, fully restored, to reflect their position around the church walls.
There are also two works from the parish church of San Giovanni Battista, one from the parish church of San Giorgio, and another from the church of San Martino.
The red room houses works from the Santissima Trinità and Gonfalone confraternities. The Santissima Trinità oratory was rebuilt to a design by Francesco Gallo, in its current version and location, in 1730. The furnishing from the old oratory was unsuitable for the new premises and some of the surviving pieces went to the sacristy and are on show here.
The Gonfalone is the only Fossano confraternity to have stayed in its original premises, in the garden of the Franciscan friars, and retains the original layout of furnishings. Following countless thefts, in 1965 the surviving furnishings were taken to the cathedral for safekeeping and formed the earliest museum collection.
The blue room contains the furnishings of the Misericordia confraternity and the layout seeks to evoke the association’s Holy Week celebrations through surviving items. Christ, mourned by His mother and Saint John, was taken down from the Cross on Good Friday, and the night-time Mortorio procession enacted the transfer to the Holy Sepulchre, in a sequence that the arrangement of the works intends to make partially visible, from the kneeling angel to the grieving Virgin Mary.
The azure room shows other works, belonging to the Santissima Trinità confraternity. Moreover, this room has special cabinets that can be opened to view the surviving portraits of the hospital’s benefactors.
- Cattedrale di Fossano
- type of building
- Musei ecclesiastici
- Via Vescovado, 8, Fossano (CN)
- 0172 60071
- 348 8575066
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MONASTERO SS.MA ANNUNZIATA
VIA DELL’ANNUNZIATA 1 30, FOSSANO, 12045, CN
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CASA PASCAL D’ILLONZA
VIA DEL VILLAR SAN COSTANZO 5, CUNEO – SAN PIETRO DEL GALLO , 12100, CN
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