Parallel Workshops, the Belfiore Studiolo and Borso’s Bible, 1447-1463

From 13 December, the Pinacoteca Nazionale of Ferrara unveils ten completely renovated rooms in Palazzo dei Diamanti
A new room is dedicated to the Belfiore studiolo, which until 22 April hosts two exceptional exhibits: Borso d’Este’s Bible, one of the most famous Renaissance manuscripts in the world and a panel representing the muse Polymnia from the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.

Borso d’Este’s Bible is the focal point of the exhibition Parallel Workshops: The Belfiore studiolo and Borso’s Bible, 1447-1463, curated by Marcello Toffanello.

The Bible’s illuminations, produced by a team of miniaturists led by Taddeo Crivelli and Franco dei Russi, represents one of the two artistic workshops in which the style of the Renaissance School of Ferrara was forged. In the Pinacoteca, a new gallery has also been unveiled dedicated to Palazzo dei Diamanti’s Belfiore studiolo, an interior that Leonello d’Este conceived in the mid-fifteenth century as a place for mediation and intellectual pleasures. 

Shown alongside Borso d’Este’s Bible is the prestigious panel representing the muse Polymnia from the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, which is reunited with the muses Erato and Urania, who also formed part of the decorative scheme within in this space. 

On display is a selection of Renaissance medals, coins and ancient gems from the collections of the Galleria Estense in Modena, which shows how the studiolo was also a space for gathering and displaying the earliest humanistic collections. A touch screen produced by FrameLAB in Bologna University’s Department of Cultural Heritage enables visitors to experience the studiolo virtually, and to admire and find out more about the mysterious muses that inhabited it. A second multimedia station allows visitors to leaf through the entire Bible virtually.

Ten completely renovated rooms have been unveiled in the Pinacoteca Nazionale of Ferrara. This marks the completion of the programme of upating the museum’s technology and installations which was begun in 2016 with the refurbishment of the galleries dedicated to altarpieces from the first half of the sixteenth century, which culminates with Garofalo and Dosso Dossi’s Costablili polyptych.

Works by Gentile da Fabriano, Mantegna, Cosmè Tura and Ercole de’ Roberti are now back on public view in a display that leads visitors through the history of Ferrarese painting from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. The display includes comprehensive new interpretation material, including graphic reconstructions of the dispersed decorative schemes, which offer new readings of the collection’s history, from its original function to the addition of new types of works such as altarpieces. New attention is also given to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century paintings, which are housed in four rooms, adding to those given to Scarsellino and Bononi’s large canvases, which opened in the autumn of 2016.

The public’s appreciation of the collection has been notably improved thanks to the modern heating, lighting and security systems now guaranteed in every room of the museum, which abide by the international standards for the conservation of works of art.  Meanwhile, the newly arranged spaces and wall colours provide a clearer and more aesthetically pleasing presentation of the paintings.


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