In the heart of the Old Town, the diocesan museum San Matteo, a short distance from the cathedral and the Archbishop's Curia, is the old building that until the 1980s was the seat of the seminary of the Archdiocese of Salerno-Campagna-Acer.
The seminar was founded by Archbishop Gaspare Cervantes following the prescriptions dictated by the Council of Trent on July 15, 1563. The location chosen for the construction of the building was located north of the cathedral, but its construction took place in a disorganic way, with numerous renovations and adjustment interventions. In 1832 Archbishop Lupoi elevated the second floor and redo the entire façade, which then assumed the current neoclassical physiognomy.
Fully recovered after a ten-year campaign of restoration work carried out following the earthquake of 1980, today the building is the seat of the museum, the library and the diocesan archives. On the ground floor, managed by the Superintendence, are the stores of works of art, the Restoration laboratory, the teaching room and the conference room.
The museum collection was identified in the 1930s by Mons. Arturo Capone, who, wanted to bring together in a collection to exhibit to the public some works of art of particular historical and artistic significance owned by the cathedral dedicated to St. Matthew, wanted by the Norman Robert the Gates, and Archbishop Alfano and consecrated in 1084 by Pope Gregory VII '. These were added in time to goods that belonged to churches of the diocese and others received thanks to purchases and donations.
The museum was established in 1935: The works were exhibited in two small halls located in the building behind the left nave of the Duomo, which later added other environments that made the exposition more spacious and usable.
Since 1990 the museum collection has found the most suitable location in the restored building, once the venue of the seminary. The museum contains a rich collection of works of art that represent a significant selection of the figurative culture of southern Italy from the 11th to 18th centuries.
Of particular importance are the testimonies of medieval art that characterized the Salerno territory, at the centre of stimulating cultural and commercial exchanges between East and west.
Among these is the cycle of the ivories, which constitutes the most complete collection of the Christian Middle Ages existing in the world, dating from the 11th-12th century, coming from the Cathedral of Salerno.
The museum also contains the rare and precious testimony of the Exultet, consisting of pergamenacei sheets, dating back to the early 13th century, illustrating the prayer that was recited during the rites of Holy Saturday.
The same period is attributed to a painted cross coming from the Church of St. Benedict, which, although greatly damaged by a fire, leaves well to identify the links to the Eastern-Byzantine tradition of the living Christ on the cross.
To the fourteenth century belong the crucifixion of Robert of Oderisio, the most important among the Neapolitan Giotteschi, and the Pietà of Saints Crispino and Crispiniano, datable to the last decades of the 14th century, charged with suggestive Sienese and Avignon (Photo 13).
The famous coronation of the Virgin of Eboli refers to the second half of the fifteenth century. Also very interesting is the San Michele Arcangelo of the Church of San Pietro in Vinculis, the work of the Veronese Cristoforo checkmate. Of his example are the works of the Salerno Vincenzo de Rogata and the master of the Franciscan Polyptychs.
The XVI century very well represented by the Nativity of Cesare da Sesto and by some works of Andrea Sabatini from Salerno, including the Pietà, and the polyptych with the Madonna with child and saints. The painter Salerno is considered the most significant follower of Raphael's pictorial manner in southern Italy.
The 17th century room has numerous paintings by authors trained at the school of Caravaggio and his followers, among which are the Judith, attributed to Francesco Guarini, St. Peter and St. Jerome of the school, the Madonna della Rosa di Maximum size and the great paintings of G.B. Beinaschi with the martyrdom of Sant'Erasmo and Moses that makes water gush from the rock.
The taste of the client in the choice of the subjects to be depicted in works conceived for the decoration of chapels and rich dwellings was directed towards the protagonists of the stories of the old and the New Testament: The Patriarchs, the heroines, the prophets, the leaders, Models often derived from works by famous Italian and foreign artists very popular in the capital of the kingdom.
It is no exception to the whole of the works produced by the munificence of the two donors, which allowed the city of Salerno to participate, albeit in a minor tone, in the artistic climate animated in the seventeenth century Naples by great innovators such as Caravaggio, Massimo Sam, Mattia Preti, Luca Giordano.
Unit Hours: 8.30 – 19.30 Closing Day: Wednesday