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Medieval Arts

The Museum at Palazzo Madama possesses important works of figurative art from the Middle Ages, mainly from Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, often due to the suppression of religious orders that took place in the 1800s, or found on the antiques market.

Among the most important works exhibited in the underground rooms of the Museum, in the Medieval Lapidarium, are the so-called Treasure of Desana, an extraordinary group of precious late Roman and Ostrogoth works in gold found near Vercelli during the 1930s; the mosaic of the Cathedral of Acqui Terme, a rare example of a Romanesque mosaic with black and white tiles; some transenna fragments that belonged to the liturgical furnishings of the ancient Cathedral of Turin; and four capitals, two of which display carved figures, originally from the cloister of Sant’Orso in Aosta, the refined production of a workshop from the Rodano valley. On the ground floor, in the grand Sala Acaia, visitors find an important group of wooden furnishings—altar reredos and full-standing sculptures—made in Valle d’Aosta between the 13th and 14th century, in particular at the flourishing workshop of the so-called Maestro della Madonna di Oropa, strongly influenced by French Gothic art. Most of the illuminated manuscripts and fragments on display date to the Middle Ages (folios or single miniatures), acquired by the Museum over the decades right after its foundation, with the goal of creating a collections of models for the illustrators, printers, and binders of the time. Some of the most important examples include a Bible from around 1250 illuminated in Bologna and a group of miniatures of great quality by the Master of the Book of Hours from Modena, an artist who trained in the context of the International Gothic style from Lombardy around 1390–1400.

Il coro di Staffarda
Il coro di Staffarda

Gabriele Rogina, Alcune considerazioni sul Crocifisso romanico in bronzo del Museo Civico d’Arte Antica