This specifically religious museum was set up in 1985 in the former Giudicatura building which was bought by the parish in 1963 for its sacred furnishings. Restored to its original state from 1980 to 1985, it was fitted out to host the future museum’s collections. The material on display – paintings and sculpture, sacred furnishings, devotional objects – is from Zogno parish and San Lorenzo parish priest Don Giulio Gabanelli’s collection. It was the latter’s constant enthusiasm and research which led to this fascinating and attractive museum being set up.
The collection is arranged on three floors of the building and some of it is in display cases in themed religious collections showing Christ’s redemption work celebrated in church services, the celebration of Christ in the sacraments, devotion to the Rosary and the rebirth of Christianity. The itinerary starts at the entrance with a prehistoric sun idol showing that man has always looked to the skies in his search for a ‘light’ to illuminate his existence. As well as fifteenth and sixteenth century frescoes and a few sculptures, this room contains four large themed glass cabinets with explanatory window graphics and a long board conatining precious antique lace. The first cabinet shows the physical and mystical presence of the Eucharist and Christ’s cosmic triumph by means of a seventeenth century Christ child wood sculpture, a silver monstrance and a carved frame of the Lamb of God.
The second glass case is devoted to the founding saints of the Lombard church: St. Ambrose, St Augustine, St. Narnus and St. Charles Borromeo. The relics of these saints are conserved in four silver plated brass busts. The third glass case contains polychrome wooden sculptures dating to the 1300s and 1400s showing the events of the Calvary. The itinerary ends at the wonderful glass case of the Messa Grande di S. Lorenzo, patron saint of Zogno, evoked in sumptuous vestments in morello red velvet embroidered in gold, silver and multicoloured silk. Around it are the furnishings necessary for religious services and the Confraternity’s ancient banner is displayed in the background.
The upper floor looks at the themes of the Holy Viaticum, devotion to the Virgin of the Rosary and the funeral mass. The first case shows symbolic figures and objects evoking the Holy Viaticum procession as it was once taken to the sick and dying. The centre of the second case features the fifteen sixteenth century tondos of the mystery which frame an ancient wooden statue of the Madonna col Bambino. Precious religious vestments can be admired in the next case together with the eighteenth century hinges of the parish canopy used in its Corpus Domini processions. The colour black representing bereavement dominates the case dedicated to the funeral mass. The risen Christ figure in the centre inspires hope of eternal life.
The black silk vestments embroidered in silver belonging to the Zogno Suore di Clausura on designs by Luigi Angelini are of particular interest. A long central board displays historic objects used for mass. The collection of bells made between 1500 and 1800 is particularly worthy of note and these are shown in such a way as to make it possible to ring them. The oldest dates to 1525 and was the work of smelter Giovanni Anselmi of Serina.
A clock tower mechanism dating to 1756, the work of the Gritti family of Miragolo, a Zogno hamlet which was famous for its clock making, is also of great interest. Back at the entrance again, we can go down to the lower floor with its two large central cases and many smaller cases along the walls. The larger cases contain historic copes in silk and brocade with elaborate decorations, sixteenth century Lombard painted wood sculptures, silver lamps, three magnificent alms dishes and altar cards. The other cases contain smaller objects linked to daily devotion and religious faith: prayer cards, scapulars, medals, crucifixes, small holy water fonts and rosary beads. A 1686 organ from a local church completes the itinerary on this floor. It has been recently restored and can still be played.
The most worthy of note of the many paintings displayed are as follows:
– La Pietà by Giovan Paolo Cavagna (1556-1627).
– Presentazione di Maria Vergine al Tempio by Palma the Younger (1544 -1628).
– S. Lorenzo, unknown artist, late XVI century.
– Gesù Deriso e Flagellato by Pietro Muttoni called Vecchia (1605-1678).
In the Priula conference room:
– Madonna e Santi, attributed to Palma the Elder (1480c.-1528).
– Martirio di S.Stefano by Carlo Ceresa (1609-1679).
– Cristo deposto, unknown artist XVII century