Museo della Cattedrale e Cripta S.Rufino, Assisi, Italy
Roberto Alborghetti, Italy.
I lived an extraordinary meeting in the land of St. Francis, in Assisi (Italy) to present in national premiere the third volume of “Francesco”, the “first major historical illustrated biography of Pope Francis” that I had the honour to write (Edizioni Velar). The event took place on Friday June 26, at the Cathedral of S.Rufino, specifically in the “very heart” of the city of Saint Francis, in the crypt which houses the S.Rufino museum and art gallery. I think images talk better than words (see the photo-gallery).
Assisi Cathedral dedicated to San Rufino is a major church in Assisi, that has been important in the history of the Franciscan order. This stately church in Umbrian Romanesque style was the third church built on the same site to contain the remains of bishop Rufinus of Assisi, martyred in the 3rd century.
Under the cathedral there is a crypt – the presentation of my book took place there – with the pagan Roman sarcophagus from the 3rd century, asserted to have once contained the remains of Saint Rufinus. It bears across its front, as many sarcophagi do, a bas-relief with the myth of Diana and Endymion, offering a pagan vision of tranquil afterlife. Here are also the Pozzo della Mensa, a medieval well and the ruins of a Carolingian cloister from the 10th century.
The Museo Diocesano e Cripta di San Rufino (Museum of the Cathedral and Crypt of San Rufino) was opened in 1941. It contains lot of works associated with the cathedral. I have to mention, for examples, the Front of 2nd century AD Roman sarcophagus con Nikai Clipeofore e a libation scene; the detached frescoes of Mary and Christ by the Master of Saint Clare (last quarter of the 13th century); the detached frescoes on Passion and Crucifixion by Puccio Capanna (1334), once in the Oratory of San Rufinuccio; the Polyptych of the Story of San Rufino (1462) by Niccolò Alunno ; The Perkins collection composed of 32 works including Giovanni Boccati, Jacopo della Quercia, Filippo Lippi, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, and Giovanni Santi.
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