Monday, October 25, 2010

Diocesan Museums ("Musei Diocesani")

The use of Sacred Art as an Instrument of Evangelisation and Catechesis has led to an increase in the creation of Diocesan Museums in the Catholic world.

It was one of the many initiatives recognised by the Plenary Assembly on The Via Pulchritudinis,Privileged Pathway for Evangelisation and Dialogue in the use of Sacred Art as an Instrument of Evangelisation and Catechesis was the formation of Diocesan museums.

The Concluding Document of the Plenary Assembly recommended:

"- Local publications in the guise of tourist guides, webpages, or specialised journals on patrimony, with the pedagogical aim of highlighting the soul, inspiration and message of works, scientific analysis is thereby put at the service of a deeper understanding of the work.

- Make pastoral agents, catechists, and religion teachers, seminarians and clergy aware of this issue through formation courses, seminars, thematic meetings, guided tours. Diocesan museums and Catholic Cultural Centres can play an important role, notably in proposing the reading of local and regional works of art and using them in catechesis.

- Formation of guides in the specificity of Christian-inspired art, creation of specialist groups to make the most of art and cultural Centres that share these same goals.

- Study and deeper awareness of the issues in schools and universities with Masters Degrees, seminars, laboratories, etc. Offering of bursaries to promote education in this area. Development at the regional and national levels of Institutes of Sacred Music, Liturgy, Archaeology, etc., and the constitution of specialized libraries in this domain"

Nowhere has the growth and development of Diocesan Museums been more marked than in Italy.

Each diocese would appear to have its own Diocesan Museum.

See for a listing

Reperterio on the AMEI website has a full listing and links to diocesan museums and museums run by churches and religious in Italy. The listing is huge.

Outside Roome and Florence, stands the Diocesan Museum of Milan founded by the Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan who initiated his idea in his Pastoral Letter "Per l'arte sacra e per un museo diocesano" (1931)

Here are some treasures from the Milan Diocesan Museum:

Bernardo Daddi, ca.1280-1348
Santa Cecilia, c. 1348
Tempera on wood panel,
89.5 x 49.5 cm
Museo Diocesano, Collezione Crespi, Milan

Aldo Carpi 1886-1973
The Adoration of the Magi c. 1957-58
Stained Glass
From The Chiesa delle Suore del Cenacolo
Museo Diocesano, Milan


Giulio Cesare Procaccini, (1574 – 1625)
Pietà, 1620
Oil on canvas
146 x 124,5cm
Museo Diocesano, Milan

Simone Peterzano (active 1540-1596),
Annunciazione / Annunciation 1578
Oil on canvas
305 x 172.5 cm
(Originally from Venegono Inferiore (VA), Seminario Arcivescovile)
Museo Diocesano, Milan

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