FOSSANO, the Diocesan Museum
The Diocesan museum is near the Cathedral. The building that houses it dates to the eighteenth century and the location of the old seminary; it is connected to the bishop’s palace with which it forms a harmonious arcaded courtyard. The Museum has restored and collected works of sacred art from several churches in the area that are no longer usable or are unsafe. Along the entrance path, numerous panels give an account of the richness of the Diocese of Fossano, built in 1592. The entrance hall welcomes visitors with fragments of fresco and canvas works that escaped from thefts and destruction and have been recovered here.
The green room contains the works that fortunately survived the collapse of the seventeenth-century church of San Giuseppe, built outside the city walls. There are thirteen canvases, six of which are attributed to the Fossano-born Giacomo Pittatore, and a wooden sculpture of the Madonna with Child of 1638. The furnishings are all datable to the first half of the seventeenth century, and they have been arranged exactly as they were in the church. The intense San Giovanni Evangelista painted by Giovanni Antonio Molineri and the great canvas with the Preaching of the Baptist, a copy of the painting by Ludovico Carracci of 1592, today at the National Gallery of Bologna come from the church of San Giovanni Battista. The elegant wooden Madonna with canopy at the centre of room was sculpted by Carlo Giuseppe Plura in 1725 for the Confraternity of the Battuti Neri.
Canvases and sculptures from two city confraternities are displayed in the red room. On one side, the furnishings of the old oratory of the Confraternity of the Holy Trinity and of the Battuti Rossi: five paintings by Sebastiano Taricco, with a very sweet Adoration of the Magi, and an evocative sculptural group, representing the Holy Trinity, to whom the Confraternity was named. The paintings of the Stories of Christ painted at the beginning of the eighteenth century by Giovanni Batista Curlando also come from the Battuti Rossi. In the two showcases in the centre of the room there are various silver liturgical furnishings: ostensories, chalices, reliquaries dated between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On the other side of the room are the furnishings of the church of Gonfalone, formerly the oratory of the Confraternity of the Holy Name of Jesus or of the Battuti Bianchi. The nine paintings belonged to this, attributed to the Fossano-born Giuseppe Barotto, which narrate the stories of Joseph Jew. The two apparitions of the Madonna to Bartolomeo Coppa are also depicted by the same painter, the most ancient representations of the miraculous events that led to the birth of the Sanctuary of Cussanio. The eighteenth-century statue of the risen Christ also comes from the Battuti Bianchi; it was used during the sacred representation celebrated in the oratory on Holy Saturday.
The small but evocative blue room houses the furnishings of a third confraternity, the Misericordia of the Battuti Neri: statues, ensigns, symbols of passion, wooden silhouettes…. The eighteenth-century sculptures in it, of the workshop of Carlo Giuseppe Plura and of the sculptor Nicola, are the ones that were carried in procession on the shoulders of the confreres along the city streets. The statues thus, became protagonists, along with the worshippers, of the functions of the Holy Week, managing to involve even those who attended the sacred representations without participating, with their charm.
The azure room houses important paintings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that testify the two most important devotions of the territory, to San Giovenale and to the Blessed Oddino Barotto. A very special display is reserved for the rich gallery of portraits of the benefactors from Fossano, a pictorial document and historical testimony of what has been defined “the epic of charity”. The portraits are the expression of the devout society, which, since the end of the sixteenth century, has donated immense assets of money and riches to the pious city charity associations, the first being the hospital of the Holy Trinity.
Direction: Paolo Ansaldi
Post-Production: VDEA Produzioni
Translations: Europa 92
Copywriter and research: Laura Marino
ROTARY CLUB Cuneo 1925