Pisa | National Museum of San Matteo

The National Museum of San Matteo is the most important museum of painting and sculpture of Pisa with real masterpieces ranging from the 12th to the 16th century.

The collections

It is located in the rooms of the ancient Benedictine monastery of St. Matteo in Soarta (11th century), of which, in addition to the church of the same name in Romanesque Pisan style, only a few medieval walls remain visible.

It preserves the largest collection of ceramic basins in the Mediterranean area as well as the splendid section dedicated to illuminated codes with examples from the 12th to the 14th century.

The collection of stone sculpture includes works from the Middle Ages to the sixteenth century, including testimonies of the “Romanesque” period and masterpieces by Nicola Pisano and Donatello.

Of great importance is the collection of paintings: more than 200 works from the twelfth century by important artists such as Giunta Pisano, Berlinghiero, Masaccio and Simone Martini (author of the magnificent polyptych).

The painted wooden crosses, pearls of the Pisan school

The top of the Museum are undoubtedly the numerous painted wooden crosses, objects of worship and prayer in Tuscan churches and recognized as authentic pearls of the Pisan school. It was precisely in Pisa, between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, that a very significant event in religious art occurred: the iconographic model of the suffering Christ took the place of the older model of the triumphant Christ. In the new iconography imported from Byzantium, Christ was represented with his head bent to the right, his eyes closed, his body falling down, fixed with a single nail.

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