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Palazzo del Tau – for Gothic frescoes and modern sculpture

  • Palazzo del Tau – for Gothic frescoes and modern sculpture

    South of Piazza del Duomo is the Palazzo del Tau, the main museum of modern sculpture and, in a small chapel, an extraordinary Gothic fresco cycle. The Palazzo del Tau is now home to the Museo Marino Marini, named after Pistoia’s most famous modern son. Sculptor and painter Marino Marini (1901–80) left his home city a major collection of his sculptures, etchings, prints and drawings. All are shown to dazzling effect in this museum. His recurring themes were horses and riders, though he also favoured pear-shaped female nudes, inspired by the Etruscan goddess of fertility. Marini’s work often shows the influence of the Etruscans who settled in Pistoia long before the Romans colonised the town in the 6th century BC. Although less well-known as a portraitist, Marini painted numerous celebrities, including Stravinsky, Marc Chagall, Thomas Mann and Henry Miller. View portraits and sculpture by this prominent sculptor before slipping into the Caffetteria, the museum’s charming café and bakery in the summery, hydrangea-draped courtyard garden next door.

    In the adjoining Cappella Tau (Tau Chapel) is a former chapel frescoed with school of Giotto art, and represents the most important Gothic fresco cycle in the city. This tiny chapel features darkly dramatic frescoes on its walls and vaulted ceilings. These 14th-century frescoes, including a fine fresco of The Fall, are inspired by stories from the Old and New Testaments. On all fronts, Pistoia delights in making connections between old and new. As if to prove it, Marini’s monumental equestrian statue on display in the atrium makes a clear connection with modern times. Marini’s works are also visible in the Palazzo Comunale, the Palazzo dei Vescovi and the church of Sant’Andrea.

    Address: Palazzo del Tau, Corso Silvano Fedi 30, 51100 Pistoia
    Tel: 0573 30285 & 0573 32204

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