Key to Umbria: Foligno

Monsignor Michele Faloci Pulignani, who restored the Duomo (in 1903-4) and the Palazzo dei Canonici (in 1923-5), established the nucleus of this collection.  Canon Mariano Filippini subsequently added to it and opened it to the public. The museum re-opened in 2008 in the top two floors of the Palazzo dei Canonici, and has its entrance in the left aisle of the Duomo.   It is also possible to visit the Crypt of the Duomo

Works from the Duomo

The following works from the Duomo were mostly removed prior to the remodelling of the nave in 1771.

St Felician (ca. 1425)

This splendid polychrome wooden statue, which is dated on stylistic grounds, is attributed to the Sienese Francesco di Valdambrino.  It  was housed in a niche in one of the pilasters of the cupola of the Duomo, and used in the annual procession on the feast of St Felician until its replacement was completed in 1733.  It was restored in 1849 but suffered in 1871 when it was removed from its niche: its head, hands and feet were removed for use in a new image and the rest of the figure was placed in storage.  The mutilated statue was rediscovered in 1904, the original head was replaced and the work was restored.

Altarpieces from the Chapels demolished in 1771

Annunciation (ca. 1599)

This altarpiece came from the Cappella dell’ Annunziata, which belonged to the Flavi family.  A description of the chapel written in the 18th century by Claudio Bolognini, a descendant of the Flavi family, recorded the altarpiece as the work of Ferraù Fenzoni,famoso pittore”.  Fenzoni probably painted it in the period 1594-9, when he was working in Todi.

Miracle of St Martin of Tours (ca. 1603) 

This altarpiece was recorded on the Cappella di San Martino in 1728, in a document that also recorded the artist as “Baldassarre Bolognese” (Baldassarre Croce) and the patron as Giustiniano Orfini, Cameriere Secreto (gentleman-in-waiting) to Pope Pius V.  When the chapel was demolished, the altarpiece was moved to the Cappella del SS Sacramento. 

The altarpiece depicts St Martin reviving from the dead a catechumen (a young man studying in preparation for baptism) so that he could be baptised.

Marriage of the Virgin (1613)

This altarpiece, which is signed by Ventura Salimbeni and dated by inscription, must have been one of the last works of the artist.  It was recorded on the Cappella dello Sposalizio della Vergine in 1728 as “opera del famoso Cavalier Ventura Salimbeni fatta dipingere dalla famiglia Elisei” (the work of the famous Ventura Salimbene, commissioned by the Elisei family).  The arms on the step are indeed those of this family.

SS Cosmas and Damian (ca. 1636) 

This altarpiece, which the Arte degli Speziali (apothecaries’ guild) commissioned for their Cappella dei SS Cosma e Damiano in ca. 1636, is attributed to Giovanni Battista Michelini.  It depicts the patron saints of the guild in the act of healing the poor.

Martyrdom of SS Crispin and Crispinian (ca. 1640)

The Università dei Calzolai (shoemakers’ guild) commissioned this altarpiece for their Cappella dei SS Crispino e Crispiniano.   Their patron saints, SS Crispin and Crispinian were reputed to have been shoemakers who were martyred with the tools of their trade.  The altarpiece depicts the subsequent moment, when these tools turned miraculously on the executioners.

The altarpiece is attributed to Cesare Sermei: preparatory sketches that are almost certainly his work survive in Assisi.  It was probably painted between 1635, the year in which the stucco decoration of the altar was executed, and 1642-4, when it was gilded.  

Altarpieces from Other Chapels in the Duomo

Madonna and Child in glory with saints (1598) 

This damaged altarpiece was originally on the altar of the Cappella Jacobilli in the Duomo.  According to the historian Ludovico Jacobilli, who was writing in 1626, the family commissioned it in 1598 from Cristoforo Roncalli, il Pomarancio, and the Flemish artist Paul Brill painted the cityscape of Foligno that forms its backdrop. 

The altarpiece was cut down and badly damaged in 1771, when it was moved to the sacristy.  It depicts the Madonna and Child seated on clouds while SS Felician and Francis below commend the city to their care.

Coronation of the Virgin and saints (1626)


In 1626, Ludovico Jacobilli requested permission from the Cathedral Chapter to place “il quadro del Beato Pietro Crisci” in the Cappella di San Domenico di Sora e il Beato Pietro Crisci (later the Baptistery) in the Duomo.  (At this time, the chapel contained the relics of the Blessed Peter Crisci).  This was almost certainly this panel in the museum, which is attributed to the French artist Noel Quillerier.  It depicts the Virgin looking down on Foligno while Christ and God the Father hold a crown above her head.  St Dominic of Sora and the Blessed Peter Crisci commend the city to her care.

Trinci Corridor


A number of exhibits relating to the structural history of the Duomo are arranged in the corridor behind the rose window on the left of the minor facade of the Duomo, which linked Palazzo Trinci to the Palazzo dei Canonici.

Cross from the Campanile (1438)

This metal cross was salvaged from the campanile after the earthquake of 1832 and re-erected on its successor.  It was removed after the earthquake of 1997.  It is dated by inscription and bears the Trinci arms.  This date and the Trinci arms also appear on the main bell in the campanile: it was the date at which Rinaldo Trinci was elected as Bishop of Foligno (although Pope Eugenius IV refused to recognise this election).

Door from the Duomo

[Details ??]

Architectural fragments from the Duomo (9th century)  

This architectural fragment is the object (then in the crypt of the Duomo) that was described by:

  1. Luigi Sensi (referenced below, at p. 317 and Figures 9 and 10); and

  2. Paola Guerrini and Francesca Latini (referenced below, at p. 129; at p. 291, entry 66; and as Figure 60). 

Luigi Sensi believed that it had been found during the restoration of the Duomo in 1903-4.  He suggested that it had originally formed part of a transenna (a screen around a shrine in early Christian architecture) and dated it to the 9th century.  Paola Guerrini and Francesca Latini (referenced below, at p. 291) characterised it as a cornice, and hypothesised that it came from an otherwise undocumented shrine on the site of the Duomo, presumably the martyrium of St Felician.

Note that the only other evidence for this putative early sanctuary is in the form of a column re-used in the loggia of the minor facade.   No evidence survives of any other religious building in the centre of Foligno at this early date, although a number of suburban churches seem to have existed at this time.  In particular, a larger number of architectural fragments embedded in the wall of the cloister of Santa Maria in Campis are evidence for an early church on this site. 

Architectural fragments from the Duomo (11th century) 


These fragments from the original Duomo, which were probably discovered in 1902-4, include:

  1. the capital of a column; and

  2. two protomes that probably came from the facade.

Roscioli Family Bequest

The family owed its social position to Bartolomeo Roscioli di Roccafranca, who was part of the circle of educated men around Cardinal Maffeo Barberini during his period as Archbishop of Spoleto (1608-17).  When the cardinal was elected as Pope Urban VIII, Bartolomeo became the papal secretary.  His son, Giovanni Maria Roscioli became the papal cupbearer in 1630 and Maestro di Camera del Papa (Papal Chamberlain) in 1643.  He might well have became a cardinal had he not died prematurely in the following year.

Bartolomeo Roscioli began the family’s art collection, but its most important elements were added by Giovanni Maria, who was a noted collector.  The collection passed to his two brothers, Vincenzo and Dionisio Roscioli, and (after the death of Dionisio in 1702) to their nephew, Giuseppe Salvi Roscioli.  The family became extinct when he died in 1703, and he named as his universal heir the Cappella Roscioli in the Duomo (which was actually the area around and including the high altar).  He wished for money raised from his estate to be used for the embellishment of this chapel.  This was particularly needed after the earthquake of 1703.

Busts of Bartolomeo and Diana Roscioli (17th century)


Giovanni Maria Roscioli probably commissioned these portrait busts of his parents in Rome.  They were placed in the Roscioli chapel of the Duomo in 1709 and subsequently moved to niches in the sacristy.  They were neglected by art historians until the early 20th century, when Michele Faloci Pulignani recognised them as works by Gianlorenzo Bernini

The busts are attributed on stylistic grounds to different phases of Bernini’s career:

  1. The bust of Bartolomeo Roscioli was probably executed at about the time of his death, in 1634. 

  2. The posthumous bust of his wife, Diana may well have been associated with a bequest made by Giovanni Maria Roscioli to Bernini when he died in 1644.

Crucifix (1635)

This fine ivory figure of the crucified Christ on a wooden cross is almost certainly the crucifix that was recorded as an item of expenditure by Giovanni Maria Roscioli in 1635.  It is attributed to Alessandro Algardi.

Copy of the Foligno Madonna (17th century)

It seems that either Bartolomeo or Giovanni Maria Roscioli commissioned this panel when the original (painted by Raphael in 1511) was in the Monastero di Sant' Anna.  It is attributed to Giuseppe Cesari, il Cavalier d’ Arpino

Art from Other Churches

Virgin and St John the Evangelist (ca. 1463)

This fresco forms the backdrop to an earlier wooden crucifix in a tabernacle (which originally had closing doors) from the church of San Giovanni Decollato, which belonged to the Confraternita della Misericordia.  It seems to be linked to the sale of land in 1463 by two members of the confraternity in order to finance such a work from Pietro di Giovanni Mazzaforte.  It is attributed on stylistic grounds to Mazzaforte’s then pupil, Nicolò di Liberatore, l' Alunno

The confraternity took the tabernacle with them in 1569 when they moved to the Oratorio della Misericordia.  It was moved to the sacristy of the Duomo in 1904.

Fresco fragment (1458) 

This head of a grieving man (probably St John the Evangelist) came from the fresco of the Crucifixion in the Cappella di Santa Marta in , Santa Maria in Campis.  According to the historian Ludovico Jacobilli, this fresco was signed by Nicolò di Liberatore, l' Alunno and dated 1458: any such signature has since disappeared but the attribution is confirmed on stylistic grounds.  The fresco was damaged in 1515 when a door was inserted in the back wall of the chapel.

San Salvatore Polyptych (1432)


                                                                                                               Detail of main panel

Rinaldo Trinci, Prior of San Salvatore, commissioned this altarpiece from Bartolomeo di Tommaso for the high altar of the church.  It is the only surviving panel by this artist that remains in Foligno. 

  1. The central panel depicts the Madonna and Child enthroned, with a tiny figure of the kneeling Prior Trinci (bottom right, illustrated above).

  2. The panels to the sides depict St John the Baptist and the Blessed Peter Crisci. 

  3. The panels from the top register exhibited here depict SS Bartholomew and Ursula. 

Four other panels were sold in 1825, one of which (the central panel in the top register) has been lost.  The other three, which formed the predella, have been identified as:

  1. Christ’s agony at Gethsemane, in the Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome;

  2. the road to Calvary, in the Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon; and

  3. the burial of Christ, in the  Galleria Nazionale, Perugia.  

Flight into Egypt (ca. 1432) 

This fresco fragment, which is attributed to Bartolomeo di Tommaso, was still on the facade of San Salvatore in 1864.  It was already badly damaged by that time.  It was subsequently detached (presumably when the facade was restored in 1889) and moved to the interior of the church.   It was moved to the museum in the early 20th century.

St Mary Jacobi (1507)

This votive panel from the oratory of Santa Maria Giacobbe, Pale is signed by Lattanzio di Nicolò and dated.  It was stolen in 1964 but recovered soon afterwards.  The panel depicts the standing figure of St Mary, the mother of James, carrying the vase that contained the spices with which she had intended to embalm the body of the crucified Christ.  She also carries a gospel, and there is an apparently discarded page from it on the floor to the left.

Altarpieces from Serrone di Foligno(ca. 1650)

These panels from the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta, Serrone di Foligno are by the so-called Maestro di Serrone.  (He was a follower of Caravaggio, and could have been the French artist George de la Tour).  The panels depict:
  1. the workshop of St Joseph (illustrated); and

  2. the beheading of St John the Baptist.

Wooden Sculptures

Madonna and Child enthroned (early 13th century)

This polychrome wooden statue from the Cappella dell’ Assunta, Santa Maria Infraportas is one of the oldest such works to survive in Umbria.  By the time that it was restored in 1962, the figure of the Madonna had already lost its arms, and its head had been damaged by the insertion of pegs to hold a crown.  The figure of the baby Jesus was stolen soon afterwards.

Madonna and Child enthroned (early 14th century)

This polychrome wooden statue came from a tabernacle in the oratory of Santa Maria Giacobbe, Pale that was decorated with small panels depicting scenes from the life of Christ.  The statue and the tabernacle were stolen and subsequently recovered on a number of occasions: however some of the panels stolen on the most recent occasion have yet to be recovered.  

There were originally sixteen panels depicting eight scenes.  Those recovered are:

  1. the right panel from the “nole me tangere”;

  2. the left panel from the agony in the garden;

  3. the right panel from the presentation of Jesus at the Temple; and

  4. the pair of panels depicting the capture of Christ. 

Madonna and Child enthroned (early 14th century)

This polychrome wooden statue came from the Chiesetta di San Cristoforo di Orchi, outside Foligno. 


Crucifix (ca. 1400)

This gilded copper crucifix came from San Salvatore.

Monstrance (17th century)

This silver and gilded copper monstrance (in which the consecrated Host was exposed) came from [the Duomo ??] .  A document of 1729 identifies the silversmith as Urbano Bartalesi.  The design is attributed to Pietro da Cortona.

Crucifix (early 14th Century)

This polychrome, wooden figure of Christ from a crucifix, which came from the Duomo, is attributed to the Maestro della Croce di Visso.  It was restored in 2000.

Crucifix (early 17th Century)

This polychrome, wooden Crucifix, which came from the Duomo, is attributed to Francesco dei Crocifissi

Fragment of a Crucifix (15 Century)

This fragment from a polychrome, Crucifix, which came from Palazzo Vescovile, is attributed to Giovanni Tedesco.

[On the right side of the Duomo, in a small space at the base of the campanile, there is a fragment of a sarcophagus (2nd century AD) that is said to have belonged to St Messalina, who was martyred with St Felician. ]

Read more:

P. Guerrini and F. Latini, “Dal Municipium Romano alla Civitas Medievale: Archeologia e Storia di una Città Umbra”, (2012) Spoleto

L. Sensi, “La Raccolta Archeologica della Cattedrale di Foligno”, Bollettino Storico della Città di Foligno, 9 (1985) 305-26

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