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Benozzo Gozzoli Museum – Montefalco





Umbria land of Saint Francis. Why you have to admire
the Paintings by Benozzo Gozzoli in Montefalco

Every occasion is useful to reaffirm that in Umbria there are places absolutely impossible to find elsewhere. A
landscape dotted with ancient villages, all so fascinating that, penetrating and discovering the different peculiarities of
each one, you can not but remain bewitched. The total admiration then increases when you discover that within the
same place, you can concentrate all those features that make an area attractive from every point of view. This
happens in Montefalco, a town that for variety and ideas offered is considered among the very first to see in
Umbria. Among the innumerable points of historical and tourist interest stands out a place of indescribable artistic
value. This is the Museum of the paintings by Benozzo Gozzoli in Montefalco.

The city of Santa Chiara and Sagrantino, thanks to its privileged position offers numerous possibilities for nature and
food and wine excursions. Only by way of example you can remember the Montefalco Trek, an opportunity to join a
healthy and sustainable tourism, with a trekking trek between nature and art. Well, within the same artistic itineraries of
Montefalco is the Museum Complex of Saint Francis. It is one of the best and prestigious museums in Umbria and
one of the most important examples of Renaissance art in the area. A testimony in which the greatest contribution is
given by the Franciscan frescoes with which Benozzo Gozzoli tells the stories of St. Francis.

Beyond the indisputable artistic value, the works are fundamental to understand the iconographic connection of
Sagrantino and Montefalco. Through an unmistakable style, the Benozzo Gozzoli cycle highlights the similarities
between the life of Saint Francis and that of Jesus Christ, while setting the first in a modern context, typical of the
artist’s era. An element of differentiation with the scenes frescoed by Giotto in nearby Assisi.

How was born the Museum of the Paintings
by Benozzo Gozzoli in Montefalco

Born in Scandicci in 1420, Benozzo Gozzoli, devoting himself to painting, broke the textile tradition of his family. After
various experiences, the meeting with Beato Angelico gave way to his extraordinary artistic Renaissance career. Just
with Angelico he had the first contact with Umbria, precisely with the frescoes of the Cathedral of Orvieto. In 1450 the
meeting between Montefalco and Benozzo Gozzoli took place, thanks to which he started his full expressive
. After an initial work at the monastery of San Fortunato, with the suggestion of Fra Jacopo was born the
great project of artworks that characterize today’s museum of the paintings by Benozzo Gozzoli in Montefalco. The link
between the artist and Montefalco was particular and intense. Inside the museum there is a letter of 1452, with which
Gozzoli communicated to Michele di Felice Brancacci the impossibility of leaving Montefalco, the place of his most
important works.

20 minutes with Benozzo: How to take part in guided tours
of the Civic Museum of Montefalco

At this point you can not but remain impatient and curious to admire the extraordinary frescoes inside the Museum of
Benozzo Gozzoli in Montefalco. Thanks to 20 minutes with Benozzo, you can participate in the most engaging
formula useful to discover the charm of these majestic Renaissance works. Every day, between the Municipal Museum
and one of the most beautiful churches of Montefalco, an in-depth tour to learn every secret of this cycle of Franciscan
masterpieces. Thanks to a valuable restoration work in the year 2000, the cycle is perfectly visible in all of its twelve
scenes, arranged by the artist on three levels. A complex of 19 episodes intentionally not arranged in chronological
order and from which the miracles of St. Francis after the death are excluded. One of the itineraries with the most
beautiful guided tours to do in this small and wonderful corner of Umbria.

Brief introduction to the scenes of the paintings.
Here’s what to see thanks to 20 minutes with Benozzo

The stories represented in the Museum of Benozzo Gozzi in Montefalco develop on walls divided by six pillars that
continue on the ribs of the vault. The 12 panels are arranged on three registers and have a reading order that
proceeds from left to right and from bottom to top. The cycle ends on the vault where Saint Francis is depicted with
five Saints of the Order in glory among the angels.

An introduction of the scenes that you will see
in Montefalco’s Museum Of Benozzo Gozzoli:

  • Scene 1: three main events in the life of Francis. On the left the Birth,
    in the center the Pilgrim’s Prophecy and on the right the Homage of the simple man.
  • Scene 2: the two moments of the youth of the Saint.
    On the right, Francesco is depicted while giving his cloak to a noble, but poor, knight.
    In the center is the Dream of the palace.
  • Scene 3: The renunciation of belongings.
    The main moment in the life of the Saint who decides to give back his goods to his father.
  • Scene 4: Meeting of Saint Francis and Saint Dominic.
    An episode taken from the life of Dominic and narrated in the Golden Legend.
  • Scene 5: Two episodes are depicted: Innocent’s III Dream and Approval of the Rule.
  • Scene 6: In this scene is represented the expulsion of the Devils from Arezzo.
  • Scene 7: The Preaching to the Birds and the Blessing of Montefalco.
    Both episodes are set in an incredibly real landscape in which the care of every little detail stands out.
  • Scene 8: Francesco’s lunch with Count Celano and the episode of Stigmatization of the Saint.
    The particularity of the scene is characterized by the inside of a typical renaissance house.
    The corridor, delimited by pillars, divides the representation space of the paintings.
  • Scene 9: Christmas of 1223.
    On that date St. Francis made a living nativity scene in Greccio to recreate the atmosphere of Christmas in
    Bethlehem. Also thanks Pope Honorius III, was realized the first living crib in the world.
  • Scene 10: Benozzo Gozzoli in this representation shows one of
    the most famous miracles performed in life by St. Francis of Assisi.
  • Scene 11: A scene connected to the fresco painted in the right wall.
    From the Crucifix maintained by the seraphs, rays start striking Saint Francis
    who is kneeling and with his hands raised.
  • Scene 12: Last intense episode of the cycle of frescoes. Death and Assumption in Heaven of the Saint.

Hours of guided tours of the Saint Francis’s Museum and other information
available at the Sistema Museo website.

The most beautiful expressions of the Italian Renaissance are in Umbria! With the visit
to Montefalco you will be amazed by the masterpieces of Benozzo Gozzoli!

Book your artistic stay now!