Volterra Picture Gallery
The Pinacoteca di Volterra is a building dedicated to the exhibition and collection of works of art of various invoices created by native and non-native authors. The building that houses this important institution is the Palazzo Minucci Solaini, which is located in Via dei Sarti, a street located in the central area of the city of Volterra. The building alone is already an excellent example of architectural art thanks to a structure with harmonious lines born from the brilliant mind of the ancient builder Antonio da Sangallo the Elder.
The Minucci Solaini palace was chosen as the headquarters of the picture gallery in 1982, an art gallery that had already existed since 1905 but was located along the second floor of the Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra. The art gallery originally contained works of various origins such as a set of works from the Chapel of San Carlo (Cathedral of Volterra) and a good number of creations that came directly from the Camaldolese Abbey of San Giusto.
With the change of location of the museum, the list of works available for viewing has not only been updated and perfected, but it has also been possible to acquire collections previously preserved in other places where it was no longer possible to maintain optimal conditions for their conservation: some of these collections come from the conservatory of San Lino in San Pietro, but also from structures dealing with medieval history such as the Guarnacci Museum.
Once you enter the picture gallery of Volterra and after purchasing your ticket, you are directed to begin the visit of the structure: going up to the first floor and heading left you can enter the first room of the museum where there are several valuable artifacts such as: a historiated trunk of particularly fine workmanship, a 12th century marble lunette depicting the scene of Actaeon eaten by wild dogs and two alabaster capitals attributed to the fifteenth-century artist Giovanni Pisano.
The last of the finds that can be admired in this room is a beautiful wooden cross painted by an unknown Tuscan artist in a style reminiscent of Marcovaldo’s Coppo, who worked for fifty years during the twelfth century.
Then you pass to the second room where you are immediately in front of a fifth that divides the room into two separate spaces: here you can admire two sides of a Sienese school polyptych depicting San Giusto and Sant’Ugo in the fourteenth century and one precious altarpiece where the Virgin Mary with the child are represented, watched over by two saints and a crucifix between the latter which is attributed to a Ducciesque style.
Passing through a small eighteenth-century chapel you arrive at the hall’s highlight, that is the space dedicated to Taddeo di Bartolo inside which is kept a particularly appreciated polyptych created by the artist whose room bears the name in the year 1411. Against the golden background of the work it is possible to admire the representation of the Virgin and Child who remains at the center of a prayer group formed by Saints Antonio A. Giovanni B. and Francesco.
Immediately afterwards you pass to the third room where you can admire an unfortunately incomplete panel by the Pisan artist Jacopo di Michele (better known as Gera) on which the Madonna and Child are depicted at the center of the veneration of the Saints between Catherine and Lucia. Other works included in the room are a politician by Cenni and a Pietà by the native artist of Volterra: these in particular are two works that faithfully testify to the Volterra pictorial scene that developed between 1300 and early 1400.
In the fourth room are exhibited works by artists who were inspired by forms and styles of previous eras: the works are The Madonna (known as Madonna dal Collo Lungo) by Stefano by Antonio Vanni and San Bernardino by Priamo della Quercia.
Other valuable elements that can be admired in this room are: a splendid table depicting a Saint Sebastian praying together with Saints Nicola and Bartolomeo painted by the Florentine artist Neri di Bicci, a Pietà del Cristo by Pier Francesco Fiorentino and another Altarpiece from 1478 depicting the nativity scene attributed to the Sienese artist Benvenuto di Giovanni. But perhaps the most important work preserved inside this room is undoubtedly the altarpiece known as the Christ in Glory, which was born due to a commission that the powerful Lorenzo de ‘Medici entrusted to Ghirlandaio: this work in particular is a striking example of the artist’s technical skill and his ability to reconcile elements of the everyday life of the time to the compositions born from his imagination.
We then find ourselves in the fifth room where a couple of works by Luca Signorelli are kept: The Madonna and Child with Saints and the Annunciation are two creations that present the typical inverted pyramid scheme us created by the artist to more faithfully convey the idea of perspective inside the portico painted in the work. But it is on the wall next to these two works that the artefact considered the flagship of the entire museum is found: an altarpiece from 1521 by Rosso Fiorentino depicting the deposition of the body of Christ from the cross. Within the work, the figure of Mary Magdalene stands out in a particular way as she throws herself at the feet of the Madonna in the throes of discomfort generated by the death of the master. The next room is called “dei Manieristi” and there are several works by Pieter De Witte and Donato Mascagni. The last room of the museum is called “della Quadreria” and there are collections of works of high historical interest such as fragments of Bugiardini, medallions dating back to the Tosini-Brina environment and numerous works born from the inspiration of the German painting schools and Flemish.