The Museum of San Francesco at Greve in Chianti
The group of buildings composing the Museum of Greve in Chianti occupy the former Oratory of San Francesco, its sacristy and some rooms on the floor above. Inaugurated in 2002, it contains paintings, sculpture, religious vestments and gold and silver work that come from the local churches.The Oratory was probably constructed in the early 16th century as part of a subsidiary complex, including a hospice for travelling Franciscan friars, of the Convent of La Croce at San Casciano Val di Pesa. The importance of the Franciscan presence in the Greve area is also clearly reflected in the many portraits of the founder of the Order in the works making up the museum collection. The oratory itself is still decorated with remains of 18th century frescoes, like, for example, the Glory of St. Francis on the ceiling.
St. Francis is one of the figures featured in the altarpiece of the Lamentation over the Dead Christ in polychrome terracotta; attributed to the sphere of Baccio da Montelupo, it dates from around the second decade of the 16th century and now perhaps occupies its original position above the oratory altar; it is framed with festoons in glazed terracotta that however appear to have little to do with the Lamentation. St. Francis is also portrayed in the early 15th century marble bas-relief, which comes from San Pietro a Sillano, though its original site is unknown; it has recently been suggested that it could be attributed to Pasquino da Montepulciano, who is also thought to have carried out the marble altar frontal of the Finding of the image of the Virgin of Impruneta preserved in the Museum of the Treasure in that town. The Saint of Assisi can again be found beside St. Bartholomew in the Sacred Conversation by Francesco Granacci (1498 circa), unfortunately badly damaged by poorly executed cleaning.Among other things, the interior of the Oratory also contains, an Annunciation from the Church of Santa Croce in Greve, suppressed in the 19th century. It is the oldest work in the Museum and shows all the typical elements of mid 14th century Florentine painting, composed with Mary set in a somewhat complex architecture. Another exhibit is the early 16th century painting on wood of the Madonna and Child, St. John the Baptist in his youth, St. Anthony Abbot and St. Lucy with two of the donors, who were perhaps members of the Bardi family, the feudal lords of the Castle of Sezzate, which is beautifully reproduced in the background.
The sacristy hosts some 16th-18th century religious vestments and other religious furnishings. A small, early 16th century, stained glass window portraying St. Sylvester, which came from the Church of San Silvestro at Convertoie, is set in the structure of a confessional. The saint holds a painting on wood portraying the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul in his left hand and recalls the story of Sylvester showing their portraits to the Emperor Constantine, who was thus able to recognise them as being the protagonists in one of his dreams. It is thought to come from the workshops of the Jesuit Friars of San Giusto alle Mura in Florence.A large number of religious furnishings are on display in the room of goldsmiths on the first floor: reliquaries, monstrances, ciboria, chalices and other objects that come from the churches of the territory of Greve carried out between the 14th and 19th centuries. A bell of 1312 from the Church of Santa Maria at Vicchiomaggio is moreover on display, together with a small ivory Cyborium (a liturgical furnishing that was used in the past during Mass and kissed by the priest and the worshippers), showing Mary and St. John the Evangelist in mourning, but without the Crucifix in the centre; it comes from the late 14th century Florentine workshop of the Embriachi, experts in working objects in bone, plus a late 15th century Madonna and Child by Nanni di Bartolo in painted stucco (the colour is now almost completely lost), based on models by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
Apart from an area reserved for temporary exhibitions, the museum route ends in the room of paintings, which hosts 17th century canvases, including the Madonna of the Rosary and Saints by Francesco Boldrini, the Assumption and Sts. Lucy and Anthony of Padua by Francesco Curradi and the Assumption from the sphere of Jacopo Vignali. All these works and the others on display come from the local churches, apart from a small group that comes from a late 19th century donation by Donna Rosa Libri Del Rosso, among them St. Peter in prison from the Emilian School.