Agnolo Bronzino

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Andrea Mantegna

Antonello da Messina

Antonio del Pollaiuolo

Bartolo di Fredi

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Benozzo Gozzoli

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Bernard Berenson

Bernardo Daddi

Bianca Cappello

Bicci di Lorenzo

Bonaventura Berlinghieri

Buonamico Buffalmacco

Byzantine art



Dietisalvi di Speme

Domenico Beccafumi

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Domenico di Michelino

Domenico veneziano


Duccio di Buoninsegna

Eleonora da Toledo

Federico Zuccari

Filippino Lippi

Filippo Lippi

Fra Angelico

Fra Carnevale

Francesco di Giorgio Martini

Francesco Pesellino

Francesco Rosselli

Francia Bigio

Gentile da Fabriano


Domenico Ghirlandaio


Giorgio Vasari

Giotto di bondone

Giovanni da Modena

Giovanni da San Giovanni

Giovanni di Francesco

Giovanni di Paolo

Giovanni Toscani

Girolamo di Benvenuto

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Lippo Memmi

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Lorenzo Ghiberti

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masolino da panicale

master of monteoliveto

master of sain tfrancis

master of the osservanza

matteo di giovanni

memmo di filippuccio

neroccio di bartolomeo

niccolo di segna

paolo di giovanni fei

paolo ucello


piero della francesca

piero del pollaiolo

piero di cosimo

pietro aldi

pietro lorenzetti



sandro botticelli

sano di pietro


simone martini

spinello aretino

taddeo di bartolo

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ugolino di nerio





Sassetta, Virgin with Child and Four Saints, c. 1435, tempera on wood, Museo Diocesano, Cortona

Travel guide for Tuscany

Sassetta | Virgin with Child and Four Saints


The date and birthplace of Sassetta are not known. Some say he was born in Siena although there is also an hypothesis that he was born in Cortona. His father, Giovanni, is called da Cartona which possibly means that Cortona was the artist's birthplace. The meaning of his nickname Sassetta is obscure and is not cited in documents of his time but appears in sources from the eighteenth century.[1]

The polyptych done by Sassetta in San Domenico at Cortona (around 1437) shows scenes from the legend of St. Anthony the Abbot. He shows great skill in narration through his painting as well as combining a sophisticated color palette and rhythmic compositions.[2]

His best-known and most ambitious work was carried out for San Francesco at Sansepolcro (1437–44) and was originally a double-sided altarpiece (now dispersed) with a Virgin and Child and four saints on the front and scenes from the life of St. Francis on the reverse side. The St. Francis scenes mark the peak of Sassetta’s career as a narrative artist and are exemplary of his late style, with their sophisticated colour sense and their subtle, rhythmic compositions.

Sassetta, Virgin with Child and Four Saints (detail) c. 1435, tempera on wood, Museo Diocesano, Cortona

In the centre of the polyptych there is an exquisite Virgin with Child. On the left side there are Sts Nicholas and Michael, wearing rare, refined, and precious garments. St Nicholas has a chasuble bearing a Pietà. The two saints on the right side are St John the Baptist and St Margaret of Hungary. Above the side panels are two tondi representing the Annunciation.

The triptych was placed on a lateral altar in the church of St Dominic in Cortona. At the beginning of the Second World War it was immured in the belfry where the wood suffered much damage due to humidity and temperatures. It was necessary to detach the painted surface and transfer it to a new base. It has been restored after many succeeding interventions. Unfortunately, it has lost its original solidity and need continuous reexamination.

Sassetta, Virgin with Child and Four Saints (detail) c. 1435, tempera on wood, Museo Diocesano, Cortona




Cortona Diocesan Museum
Opening hours:
April-October: everyday from 10am to 7pm;
November-March: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

The Diocesan Museum in Cortona is located on the former site of the local Church of Gesù. It houses works of art by artists such as Fra Angelico, Pietro Lorenzetti, Bartolomeo della Gatta, Luca Signorelli and Sassetta. The oldest item in the museum is a marble Roman sarcophagus (2nd century AD), depicting depicts the battle of Dionysus.

The Church of Gesù was built by the Lay Company of Buon Gesù between 1498 and 1505 and was made up of an oratory on the lower floor and a church on the upper floor. The church had a single nave with three altars, which were embellished by three masterpieces by Luca Signorelli, displayed today in the rooms dedicated to this famous painter from Cortona: the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Immaculate Conception on the side altars and the Communion of the Apostles on the main altar. The stairway connecting the church and the oratory was built during the 17th century by Filippo Berrettini, Pietro da Cortona’s nephew. At that time Doceno, an apprentice of Vasari, frescoed the Oratory following his master’s preparatory studies.

Today the museum collects some of the most valuable works of religious art coming from the most important churches of Cortona and from the territory, which were gathered here after World War II.

In Room 3, which originally was the Church of Gesù, the main masterpieces of the 14th and 15th centuries are displayed: the famous Annunciation and a triptych painted by Fra Angelico, the Triptych by Sassetta, the Cross by Lorenzetti.
Some of Luca Signorelli’s masterpieces painted for the main churches of Cortona, like the Assumption of the Virgin, are preserved in room 4, which is dedicated to this great painter. But no doubt that the most important and famous two works he signed are the Lamentation over the dead Christ and the already mentioned Communion of the Apostles.[3]

Major art in the museum include:
The Cortona Triptych by Fra Angelico
The Communion of the Apostles by Luca Signorelli (1512)
Madonna and Child by Niccolò di Segna (c. 1336)
A large cross painted by Pietro Lorenzetti (1315-1320, from the church of San Marco)
Maestà by Pietro Lorenzetti
Triptych of the Madonna of Humility with Saints by Sassetta (c. 1434)
Assumption by Bartolomeo della Gatta (1470-1475)
Ecstasy of St. Margaret of Cortona by Giuseppe Maria Crespi (1701)

The masterpieces of the Diocesan Museum of Cortona |

[1] Judy Metro, Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. National Gallery of Art, Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York, 2003. p. 621
[2] Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012.
[3] Diocesan Museum of Cortona |


Residency in Tuscany for writers and artists | Art, history, hidden secrets and holiday houses in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia



Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, view from the garden
on the valley below

Century-old olive trees, between Podere Santa Pia and Cinigiano

Tombolo di Feniglia
Crete Senesi, Asciano
L'eremo di Montesiepi (the Hermitage of Montesiepi)

Asciano, Crete Senesi
Sunsets in Tuscany


Podere Santa Pia is located in the heart of the Valle d'Ombrone, and one can easily reach some of the most beautiful attractions of Tuscany, such as Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano and San Quirico d'Orcia, famous for their artistic heritage.

The surroundings of Podere Santa Pia, cipresses between Montalcino and Pienza



This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Adoration of the Magi, published under the GNU Free Documentation License.