Museum of the Bible Unveils Newest Exhibition ‘Sacred Drama: Performing the Bible in Renaissance Florence’

Published: Jul 10, 2018

Posted In: Press Releases

Theatrical Performances of Old and New Testaments Stories and the Lives of the Saints, Sacred Dramas Have Never Before Been Featured in an Exhibition in the United States


WASHINGTON — Officially opened to the public on July 1, 2018, Museum of the Bible’s newest exhibition, Sacred Drama: Performing the Bible in Renaissance Florence, offers a rare opportunity to learn about Sacred Drama (Sacra Rappresentazione), a theme never before featured in an exhibition in the United States.

Sacred dramas were theatrical performances of Old and New Testament stories and the lives of the saints. Religious communities used sacred dramas to provide moral instruction and civic education to children, the future citizens of Florence. Museum of the Bible is pleased to be the first institution to bring this little-known, yet very influential Renaissance-era cultural experience to U.S. audiences.

The Sacred Drama exhibition represents the culimatination of three years of work led by Dr. Corinna Ricasoli, Curator of Fine Arts & International Relations Coordinator for Europe with Museum of the Bible. Other curators include Prof. Giorgio Bonsanti, Prof. Anna Maria Testaverde and Dr. Silvia Castelli—all of whom are also members of the exhibition’s Scholarly Committee chaired by Dr. Ricasoli.

This project was born around 3 years ago, and Museum of the Bible immediately believed in its potential,” says Dr. Ricasoli. “While Florence is widely known as the great laboratory of Renaissance art, very few know it was also the laboratory of early modern theater.

The exhibition features the theatrical machinery used in these performances, including crucifixes with movable arms, as well as paintings and drawings inspired by sacred dramas. Visitors will also encounter manuscripts and early printed texts of these sacred dramas—a rare look into this popular Renaissance dramatic genre. In fifteenth-century Florence, Sacra Rappresentazione was popular among all social classes.

“Many Renaissance authors wrote sacred dramas—including Lorenzo de’ Medici, called Il Magnifico—as they were certain that the genre could be used to guide public and political thought and behavior, and thus educate the whole city,” adds Ricasoli.

Lending institutions include: the Archdiocese of Florence, the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, the Gallerie degli Uffizi, the Città metropolitana di Firenze, the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, the Biblioteca Riccardiana, and the Biblioteca Marucelliana.

 Access to Sacred Drama is included in general admission. Tickets to museum of the Bible are available for both general admission and group reservations. Tickets are required for entry and are available at:


Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the transformative power of the Bible.

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