Sala dell’Arengo – Epigraphic collection
The Great Hall (Sala dell’Arengo) now houses the collection of stone inscriptions, sculptures and various architectural exhibits dating from the middle of the 1st century B.C. to 3rd century A.D. coinciding with the Roman period of the town’s history, when it was known as Iguvium. The exhibits are displayed around the walls of the chamber as they were set out in 1909 when the Museum was inaugurated. The largest group of exhibits consists of epigraphs which make a fundamental contribution to understanding the social, political and religious situation in Roman Gubbio. The epigraphic remains found at the site of the Roman Theatre located at the foot of the town are monumental in size and of huge historical importance. Among them, and of particular significance, is the celebratory inscription dedicated to the local magistrate, Gneo Satrio Rufo, proclaiming the works he had commissioned in the town and thus also functioning as a means of self-acclaim. The tombstones are also of great importance as they provide a wealth of information about how society was organised in ancient Gubbio: in fact, as well as the name of the deceased, they frequently indicate their juridical and social status and profession, the stages in their career and whether they belonged to any professional or religious groups or colleges.
Of particular interest for the insight they give into Roman burial practices are the cinerary urns and the elegant marble sarcophagus which is decorated with allegorical reliefs of the seasons, a commonly used motif on funeral monuments for its obvious allusion to the passage of time. The remaining exhibits consist of a variety of objects in diverse materials dating from different periods. Most noteworthy are the coats-of-arms of the various town guilds and corporations to the left of the entrance and, on the right, an unusual stone object featuring a pair of scales which was used for measuring three different types of loaf. Finally, next to the large terracotta dolium are some specimens of whale ribs which were probably added to the municipal collection of curios during the 19th century.
Madonna and Child between St. John the Baptist and St. Ubaldo (1350 ca.)
This fresco is one of the first and most important wall decorations to be done in the Palazzo dei Consoli and so can be dated between the late 1330s and early 1340s. It portrays the Virgin, St. John the Baptist and St. Ubaldo, bishop and patron saint of Gubbio. Given its position in the Sala dell’Arengo it seems to be a reminder to the wielders of power to exercise their civic conscience when administering the town. Stylistically, it is an example of the artistic taste prevalent in Gubbio in the first half of the 14th century inspired by Sienese art and the work of Pietro Lorenzetti. The two most prominent local exponents of this style were Guiduccio Palmerucci and Mello da Gubbio to whom the work has been attributed.