The State Museum of Medieval and Modern Art (Museo Nazionale d’Arte Medievale e Moderna) is housed in the Palazzo Bruni Ciocchi in Arezzo. The collection ranges from the 8th (tombstones) to the 20th century. Many works of art once hung or stood in the churches of Arezzo.
Medieval and Modern Art Museum Arezzo
Adress, admission and opening hours,
The address of the State Museum of Medieval and Modern Art is Via San Lorentino, 8 – 52100 Arezzo (tel. +39 0575409050). Bus: AT2, BAAS, FAMLA, LAP109, LF1D, LF1S, LF5, LF7, LF8, LF9, LF15, LF21, LFCS2, SI381. Opening hours: 08.30 to 19.30. Closed on Monday. Entrance fee: Free.
History and description
The museum is housed in the Palazzo Bruno Ciocchi, also known as the Palazzo della Dogana.
The collection takes up three floors and has a hanging garden as an added attraction. Most of the collection comes from the Brotherhood of the Laity (Fraternita dei Laici) and from the city of Arezzo itself.
Many of the works on display were taken from the churches and monasteries that were banned and then closed after the Unification of Italy. The rest are mostly from private collections.
Palazzo Bruno Ciocchi
The palace is one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Arezzo and was built (probably by Bernardo Rossellino) on the orders of Donato Bruni. It was then bought by the Ciocchi dal Monte family, who passe dit on to the counts Barbolani di Montauto (16th to 18th century). From 1816 the building was owned by the Government of Tuscany, to be used as a warehouse for (mainly) salt. The museum has been housed in the building since 1972.
What to see
The rooms on the ground and first floor are dedicated to reliefs and sculptures from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. On the second floor there are mostly paintings and other objects from the same epochs. The next floor displays more modern (16th to 20th century) works of art as well as a variety of objects, from weapons to precious stones and glassware.
Room 1 displays fragments of tombstones dating from the 8th to the 12th centuries and originating from the region.
Room 2 is for sculpture groups that come from the ancient churches of Arezzo and especially the cathedral.
In the courtyard there are mainly 13th century columns and capitals from the apse of the Pieve di Santa Maria Church.
In the first three rooms of the 1st floor are mostly works showing the different art movements in medieval Arezzo. Highlights are the works of Margarito d’Arezzo and Dietisalvi di Speme. On display are several frescoes by Spinello Aretino and by his son Parri. The latter is represented, among other things, with a Madonna della Misericordia and with paintings from the “Annunciation” cycle that were originally on display in the old Duomo.
Room 4 and Room 5 feature works that show Piero della Francesca’s influence on the painting of the artists of his region. Two altarpieces depicting San Rocco made by Bartolomeo della Gatta stand out.
On display in the 1st floor hallway is Vasari’s Convito per le nozze di Ester e Assuero (“Wedding Feast of Ester and Assuero”), originally painted for the Badia delle Sante Flora and Lucilla.
The museum’s majolica collection is one of the best known in the country and comes mainly from the Vincenzo Funghini collection and from the bequest of the Fraternita dei Laici.
In Room 9, the works of Luca Signorelli and Domenico Pecori stand out. Also on display here are works by Vasari, the Allegoria dell’Immacolata Concezione (“Allegory of the Immaculate Conception”) and a canvas dedicated to San Rocco.