It is probably a votive figure dating to the 3rd-century BC, but it is difficult to speak of it with any certainty; unusually, it was cast with no clothes or jewellery to indicate rank, status or date. It is only by chance that this remarkable figure has managed to survive. It was ploughed up by a farmer in 1879 and used as a fire poker until someone recognized it as a masterpiece of Etruscan art. Luca Signorelli’s Madonna and Child with Saints (1491) states his debt to Roman art through the reliefs on the base of the Virgin’s throne. His Annunciation, painted in the same year, is a beautifully balanced composition. The museum’s main exhibit is Rosso Fiorentino’s The Deposition (1521) a major Mannerist painting (seep25). Attention is focused on the grief-stricken figures in the foreground and the pallid, empty shell of Christ’s body, its dead weight symbolizing that His spirit is elsewhere. 0 Duomo Piazza San Giovanni. Open daily.
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