The museum of the Sinopites
This is one of the artistic Casino En Ligne treasure chests of Piazza dei Miracoli. Opened in 1979, the Museum of the Sinopites is located in the former Pilgrims’ House of Spedale Nuovo, along the southern side of Piazza del Duomo, suitably restored to contain the museum.
This museum displays the sinopites that came to light when the frescoes were detached from the Monumental Cemetery, made necessary after the serious fire of 1944.
But what does sinopite mean? It is a term that derives from the type of colour that is usually used to make the drawings on the wall: a red earth was used, called Sinopite, derived from the name of the city where it was produced, diluted with water and this mixture – as well as charcoal – was sued by painters to prepare the sketches for their frescoes.
The preliminary drawings, painted on an initial layer of plaster, were called “sinopites”.
The sinopite is therefore the hidden part of the fresco that were only brought to light with modern removal techniques.
In the museum in Pisa you can therefore admire the preparatory drawings for the medieval cycle of frescoes that decorated the walls of the Monumental Cemetery. They are the largest known cycle of fourteenth and fifteenth century graphics.
The large collection on show includes preparatory drawings by Buffalmacco, Francesco Traini, Pietro di Puccio and Benozzo Gozzoli.
The exhibition is completed with engravings by Gian Paolo Lasinio documenting the iconography and iconology of the great pictorial cycle of the Cemetery before the fire of 1944.
Piazza del Duomo – Visiting times: October to March 9.00 – 17.40 – April, May, June, July, August and September 8.00 – 19.40