Not just an ordinary museum of religious art, the Diocesan Museum in Cortona has nine rooms of masterpieces. There are works by prominent artists on display dating from the 2nd century BC through the modern era, making this a must-see museum when you're in Cortona. It is housed in the former church and oratory of Gesu, which was built around 1500. Local artist Luca Signorelli was commissioned to complete a cycle of paintings for the church and they are displayed here - The Adoration of the Shepherds, the Immaculate Conception and the Communion of the Apostles are renowned works, but other paintings by Signorelli are also noteworthy, such as the Lamentation Over the Dead Christ.

Another higlight is a painting that is perhaps one of the most famous of the Renaissance- Fra Angelico's Annunciation, a ground-breaking painting that marks the transition between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance with the use of gilding, and new Renaissanceuse of linear architectural perspective and depth. Other Fra Angelico masterpieces can be seen here, including a polyptych and the Adoration of the Magi. The section that was the Oratorio was frescoed by Filippo Berrettini, nephew of Pietro Berrettini, better known as Pietro da Cortona.

The Cortona Diocesan Museum collection was gathered together following World War II and includes lots of frescoes by the Lorenzetti family, crucifixes, altar pieces, vestments, reliquaries, tapestries and ecclesiastical decorations. It is truly a unique and beautiful accumulation of works that shouldn't be missed.

Open from 10:00 AM til 5:00 PM in the winter; and from 10:00 AM til 5:00 PM in the summer. Closed on Christmas Day.

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Address in Cortona:

Piazza Duomo, 1.

Ph. (+39) 057 562 830.

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