This is the only collection in the world where the true genius and ability of the artist is revealed. The sinopia represents in fact the first phase of the realization of the fresco, the drawing traced on the first layer of plaster by spreading with a brush a red pigment (the earth of Sinòpe) mixed with water: it is with this compound that the Masters engaged in ‘narrating’ the stories of the Old and New Testament on the walls of the Cemetery fixed their ideas, traced the scenes, outlined the characters and the details.
On July 27, 1944, an American artillery shell hit the roof of the Cemetery, setting it on fire and causing molten lead to flow onto the frescoes that covered its walls. The only remedy then considered possible for the preservation of the paintings was the detachment through the technique of “tear”. This operation led to the discovery of the “sinopie” that represent the preparatory drawings of the frescoes on the walls of the Cemetery. Here you can admire and compare the style of Bonamico Buffalmacco, the author of the famous “Triumph of Death”, Taddeo Gaddi and Benozzo Gozzoli.
The museum is housed in the Spedale Nuovo, a former pilgrimage hospital built in the mid-13th century by Giovanni Di Simone to commemorate the reconciliation of Pisa with the Church after the excommunication of Pope Alexander IV following an episode: in 1241, the Pisan fleet attacked and captured the ships that carried the bishops on the way to Rome for the Council against the Emperor Frederick II.