The Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art in Siena is housed in the Oratory of San Bernardino. In order to be able to accommodate the museum, the oratory was restored at the end of the 20th century. The collection consists of paintings, frescoes, sculptures and gold objects from the 12th to the 17th century.
Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art Siena
Address: Piazza San Francesco, 18 – Siena. Phone: +39 0577 42020. Opening times: From 10:30 till 17:30. Ticket price: 3 Euros (discount 2,50 Euros). (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
The collection of the museum consists mainly of 12th and 13th century panels, mostly by local painters, frescoes taken from the adjacent Basilica of San Francesco and 16th and 17th century paintings. Other sections highlight sculptures and gold objects.
What to see
However, the main attraction of the Museo Diocesano d’Arte Sacra is the rectangular room of the Upper Oratory. The coffered ceiling of this room is decorated with cherubs, while its walls are frescoed with “Events from the life of the Madonna”. The paintings were executed in the early 16th century, by Beccafumi, Il Sodoma and Girolamo del Pacchia.
The 12th and 13th century panels were painted by artists such as Maestro di Tressa, Segna di Bonaventura, Bartolomeo Bulgarini, Luca di Tommè, Andrea Vanni and Taddeo di Bartolo.
The most important fresco taken from the Basilica of San Francesco is the “Madonna del Latte”, by Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
There is an altarpiece painted by Il Vecchietta, depicting a “Pietà. It is paired with a sculpture group with the same subject by the same 15th century artist, whose real name was Lorenzo di Pietro.
The highlight among the 1th and 17th century paintings is a “Christ Carrying the Cross” by Beccafumi.
Other painters represented are Il Sodoma, il Riccio, Bernardino Mei and Ventura Salimbenii.