Showing great foresight and a deep passion for art, Don Crescenzio Massario, the parish priest of Buonconvento, gathered works from the church’s various storerooms in 1926 and put together the core collection of what would go on to become the Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d’Arbia.
The museum, located in Palazzo Ricci Socini, houses a collection of precious sacred works of art(paintings, sculptures, goldwork and fabrics) coming from the territory of the Val d’Arbia, an outstanding testament to the culture of fine figurative work created by leading Sienese masters from the 13th to the 19th century.
Like other museums in the province of Siena, the Buonconvento museum is a true treasure chest of masterpieces, large and small, that capture the attention even of an untrained eye. All visitors will surely be moved by the brilliant colours, the glistening gold, the emotional intensity of the figures.
The first room holds paintings from the 1200s and 1300s, featuring renowned artists such as Duccio di Buoninsegna and his large work, Madonna col Bambino (Madonna with Child), as well as Pietro Lorenzetti, Luca di Tommé, and Andrea di Bartolo, whose sublime Annunciazione (Annunciation) is on display.
The itinerary moves on to works by Sano di Pietro, the well-known, prolific Sienese painter from the mid-1400s, and to the extraordinary Madonna con Bambino e angeli (Madonna with Child and Angels) by Matteo di Giovanni. Works from the 1500s include pieces by the followers of Beccafumi, from Bartolomeo di David to Andrea del Brescianino and Il Riccio.
Work by 17th-century Sienese artists is also well-represented here. There is not only the Ecce homo by Rutilio Manetti, but also other works by Francesco Vanni, Astolfo Petrazzi, Ventura and Simondio Salimbeni, Francesco Bartolini and Bernardino Mei.
The last room contains an exhibition of 15th- to 19th-century goldwork collected from the churches of Buonconvento and the surrounding countryside, some wooden furnishings from the 17th century, and a large, late-15th-century marble tabernacle from the nearby bridge along the Via Cassia over the River Ombrone, showing the Madonna with Child.
Madonna col Bambino (Madonna with Child), Duccio di Buoninsegna (1290-1295): here, older and more austere elements unite with the innovation of the Child’s relatively plump body. Shown in the act of giving a blessing, the Child is wrapped in an elegant garment that further softens his form.
Madonna col Bambino tra i santi Giovanni Battista e Girolamo (Madonna with Infant, John the Baptist, and St. Hieronymus), Brescianino (early 16th century): a beautiful panel painting by the artist of northern ancestry. Showing a marked Raphaelesque influence, this piece strikes the eye with chromatic contrasts and the fulness of the forms.
Ecce homo, Rutilio Manetti (1620-1630): depicting a suffering Christ crowned by thorns, this painting shows a deep chiaroscuro style that is rich in memories of Caravaggio, prompted no doubt by the time that Manetti spent in Rome.
Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d’Arbia
Tel. 0577 809744 – 320 7874422
Monday and Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday – Friday, 09 AM – 1 AM
Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM – 1 AM/ 4 PM – 7 PM
Tuesday – Friday, 09 AM – 1 AM
Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM – 1 AM/ 4 PM – 7 PM
The ticket office closes 30 minutes before the closing time of the museum
regular: € 3,00
reduced: € 2,00
children under 6 years
combined ticket: € 5,00 / € 3,00
includes also Museo della Mezzadria Senese (Sharecropping Museum) of Buonconvento
Like many places in the Val d’Arbia, Buonconvento owes its fortune to the Via Francigena, along which it has always been an important town for commerce, travel, and hospitality. The small fortified village, situated where the River Arbia flows into the Ombrone, grew up along this historic route. Right on the main road is the Chiesa parrocchiale dei santi Pietro e Paolo (Parish Church of Saints Peter and Paul). Built in the 1300s and then refurbished in the 1700s, this church is home to works of art by Matteo di Giovanni and Pietro di Francesco Orioli. Also along the main road are the Oratorio di San Sebastiano (Oratory of St. Sebastian) and the Palazzo Pretorio (Town Hall), with its façade covered in the coats of arms of leading Sienese families and its tower remarkably similar to the Torre del Mangia in Siena. Several more recent buildings showing delightful Art Nouveau architecture also stand along the town’s main road.
Buonconvento is still girded by the town walls built in the late Middle Ages. To protect against frequent attacks and destruction between the 13th and 14th centuries, Siena decided to fortify the village and also erected a rocca (stronghold). The one extant town gate faces Siena and stands next to the cassero (keep). It is modelled after the city gates of Siena.