The Middle Ages is a term that is often used today to define situations of backwardness (… it’s stuff from the Middle Ages! …) while the opposite is true: in this long period of time, which by recognized convention spans ten centuries – from the sixth in the fifteenth – there have been great changes and innovations, which still affect our lives now. There have been absolute inventions, such as the mechanical clock and consequently the scanning of time, with all that has meant (and means) the organization of daily life, from work to social relations, no longer regulated by the sun and the moon ..
During the Middle Ages, Bologna experienced long periods of economic, social and cultural glory: it was one of the most important cities and therefore also attracted many talents of art and knowledge, who found here the ideal terrain to express themselves.
The traces of this great prestige are well exposed in the Medieval Civic Museum, in the Ghisilardi-Fava Palace in Via Manzoni 4, with finds dating back to the 7th century (early middle ages).
Among the numerous material on display, the statue dedicated to Pope Boniface VIII (1235-1303) stands out as a thanksgiving for the role the pontiff played in bringing peace between Bologna and Ferrara. It is a wooden statue covered with gilded copper foils that the Municipality of Bologna commissioned by official deed in the autumn of 1300 in Manno di Bandino, a Sienese goldsmith for many years active and resident in Bologna.
Jumping between the centuries we find a gold laminated cross of the Lombard period or a cope (a circular liturgical vestment) decorated with scenes of the life of Christ and the Virgin. A large part of the exhibited material concerns Bolognese life and art during the Middle Ages, and there is no lack of evidence from the firm, the city’s university, recognized as the oldest in the Western world (1088). You can admire some funeral monuments dedicated to the doctors of the Firm, according to the practice of dedicating a funerary sepulcher to the most important Ducts that celebrated their life and wisdom through typical scenes, such as that of the magister in the chair, which are like sculpted instant images.
Visiting the museum, along a path that goes from the miniatures to the liturgical books, from the works in glass or in ivory to the arms, passing also among testimonies of the life of the court of the Bentivoglio, we arrive to an ideal bridge that projects Bologna in the Renaissance, with the beautiful model by Giambologna’s Neptune (Jean de Boulogne: 1529-1608) created for the famous fountain in front of Palazzo Re Enzo: a masterpiece of the ‘500 that ideally closes a long period of art in Bologna and at the same time prepares a new one , a consequence of a new way of conceiving the vision of the world.