The modern museum, a part of the Museum system of the Archdiocese of Perugia and Città della Pieve, was built with the collaboration of the“Soprintendenza ai Beni Storici ed Artistici dell’Umbria”, the authority responsible for the preservation and conservation of artistic and historical treasures in Umbria. The idea for the museum was conceived by Don Aldo Rossi in 1994 as a way to enhance and preserve memories from the community’s past.
Sections inside the church of San Giuseppe were restored and made ready for their new function.
When entering the church, also called Santa Maria della Concezione and the “inside church” (because it is located within the town walls), in the chapel of the Conception, one can see the Gonfalone, or banner, of the Madonna delle Grazie, that was made around the year 1470 in the workshop of Benedetto Bonfigli.
Along the nave, where a cycle of frescoes dating back to the 15th century (two of them dated 1444 and 1449) depicting saints and the seated Madonna and Child re-emerged in 2000, there are wooden statues (Saint Joseph from the 17th century; two of the Suffering of Mary – one from the 17th century and the other from the 18th century; the Virgin of the Rosary, with real hair, dating back to the 17th century; and an 18th century Nativity scene) and an infant Jesus called “dell’Aracoeli” painted in wax. Above the altar, we find the Crucifixion from the school of Bologna, dating back to the mid-18th century.
In the church presbytery which is dominated by the church choir and framed by two neoclassical columns, in addition to some reliefs from the 17th and 18th centuries (Angelo, Ecce Homo, Testa di Cristo and Immacolata), and a statue of Saint Joseph set in its niche on the altar, are a series of display cases containing high-quality religious decorative items of the 16th-17th centuries: crosses, ostensories, chalices, reliquaries, tabernacles and candle sticks. Some of the chalices are precious finds which date back to 1591 and to the 16th century.
The canvas by Francesco Appiani (1704-92) representing the wedding of the Virgin is also displayed here.
Some archaeological findings of the post World War II period are also shown in another room. They were discovered in the archaeological area of Fonteboccio.
In an adjacent room some of the most sacred vestments in the area, prized for their antiquity, can be seen. Next to it, another room houses some of the most sacred vestments in the entire area. A small opening gives access to the old bell tower and to the church choir, where a precious pipe organ of Adamo Rossi from the year 1795 is worth a visit.
Among the most important works in the Museum is the Gonfalone della Madonna della Misericordia. The Gonfalone (or banner) was commissioned by the local community of Paciano in supplication to the Madonna for protection from the plague.
In the centre of it is the Madonna della Misericordia who with her cloak shields the population. She is flanked by Saint Sebastian and Saint Nicola from Tolentino. Above, Christ is shown as a judge, shooting arrows, and is circled by the two angels Raphael and Gabriel.
Thus Mary becomes the Protector against divine punishment. Below, there is a view of Paciano between two Saints, Barbara and Monica. The Gonfalone resembles some of the painted banners by Benedetto Bonfigli, in the church of Santa Maria in Corciano, of San Francesco al Prato in Perugia, and of Sant’Andrea in Civitella Benazzone. The work was made between 1470-1480 and the landscape in the first decades of the 19th century.
Riferimenti bibliografici: Pietro Perugino e il paesaggio del Trasimeno in Fuarè n 27, s.02 s, Achiservise, Perugia