Agnolo Bronzino

Agnolo Gaddi

Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Andreadi di Bonaiuto

Andrea del Castagno

Andrea del Sarto

Andrea di Bartolo

Andrea Mantegna

Antonello da Messina

Antonio del Pollaiuolo

Bartolo di Fredi

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Benozzo Gozzoli

Benvenuto di Giovanni

Bernard Berenson

Bernardo Daddi

Bianca Cappello

Bicci di Lorenzo

Bonaventura Berlinghieri

Buonamico Buffalmacco

Byzantine art

Cimabue

Dante

Dietisalvi di Speme

Domenico Beccafumi

Domenico di Bartolo

Domenico di Michelino

Domenico veneziano

Donatello

Duccio di Buoninsegna

Eleonora da Toledo

Federico Zuccari

Filippino Lippi

Filippo Lippi

Fra Angelico

Fra Carnevale

Francesco di Giorgio Martini

Francesco Pesellino

Francesco Rosselli

Francia Bigio

Gentile da Fabriano

Gherarducci

Domenico Ghirlandaio

Giambologna

Giorgio Vasari

Giotto di bondone

Giovanni da Modena

Giovanni da San Giovanni

Giovanni di Francesco

Giovanni di Paolo

Giovanni Toscani

Girolamo di Benvenuto

Guidoccio Cozzarelli

Guido da Siena

Il Sodoma

Jacopo del Sellaio

Jacopo Pontormo

Lippo Memmi

Lippo Vanni

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Lorenzo Monaco

Lo Scheggia

Lo Spagna

Luca Signorelli

masaccio

masolino da panicale

master of monteoliveto

master of sain tfrancis

master of the osservanza

matteo di giovanni

memmo di filippuccio

neroccio di bartolomeo

niccolo di segna

paolo di giovanni fei

paolo ucello

perugino

piero della francesca

piero del pollaiolo

piero di cosimo

pietro aldi

pietro lorenzetti

pinturicchio

pontormo

sandro botticelli

sano di pietro

sassetta

simone martini

spinello aretino


taddeo di bartolo

taddeo gaddi

ugolino di nerio

vecchietta

 

             
 
Pinturicchio, The Canonization of Catherine of Siena by Pope Pius II (detail), fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
One of the many frescoes of Pius II located in the 'Piccolomini library' in the Duomo in Siena.

Travel guide for Tuscany
       
   

Pinturicchio | Frescoes in the Piccolomini Library of the Duomo in Siena

   
   
Pinturicchio's fresco cycle in the Piccolomini Library is a rare example of a unified decoration of the early sixteenth century. Well-suited to Pinturicchio's skills and to a somewhat provincial Siena, his lyric style fits comfortably into the medieval setting of the Cathedral.[1] The subject matter concerns incidents in the life of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, the Sienese pope (Pius II) and humanist, an unusually complete program for someone neither a saint nor a ruler.[2]
The Piccolomini Library, together with the cathedral pavement and the St Catherine Chapel in San Domenico, has always had great popular appeal. An understanding of the works should consider the enduring fame of the frescoes and ignore the often excessive enthusiasm or condemnation of past authors. The Swoon of St Catherine of Siena inspired Ingres and the Purists, who interpreted Sodoma's images of piety and mysticism with sentimental sobriety. The scenes from the Life of Pius II by Pinturicchio became a prototype of history painting for the Pre-Raphaelites and the Decadents.
The decline of the Decadent movement led to a drop in art-historical appreciation of the Piccolomini frescoes, Berenson being a particular case in point. The public, however, who were greatly attached to the illustrative and celebratory character of the fresco cycle, continued to admire Pinturicchio's magnificent example of history painting.

The scenes were painted in the crucial early years of the sixteenth century. The narratives are illustrated with descriptive clarity, the figures precisely drawn, the unatmospheric landscape bright and sharply defined. During this time the sweet classicism of the Umbrian school conquered Sienese painting. When Pinruricchio undertook the library commission he was nearing the end of his career and his style was under threat from the imminent emergence of artists such as Raphael. Pinturicchio illustrated the powerful Piccolomini family's desire for a nostalgic evocation of their glories. The work was completed while Pandolfo Petrucci was consolidating his power over Siena at a time when the favoured artists in Siena were Luca Signorelli, Perugino and Pinturicchio.

About halfway down the nave on the left is the entrance to the Piccolomini library, famed for its precious illuminated choir books and beautifully preserved Renaissance frescoes painted by Pinturicchio, probably based on designs by Raphael.
The library was commissioned by Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini, Archbishop of Siena (later Pope Pius III), to honor the memory and book collection of his maternal uncle Enea (Aeneas) Piccolomini, who became Pope Pius II.

In I492 Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, archbishop of Siena, began constructing a hall, made out of the old cathedral canonry, to house the Greek, Latin and Hebrew codices of his maternal uncle, the great humanist pope. Pius II. Francesco's intention was to decorate the room on the model of the classically inspired Vatican Library commissioned by Sixtus IV, his knowledge of which stemmed from his long stays in Rome when he studied there assiduously. Francesco was interested in both literature and art and witnesses from within the humanist world wrote about his collection. 'He had the graces in niches', wrote Poliziano. He was referring not only to the celebrated marble group that had been seen by Albertini and was later transferred to the Piccolomini Library, but also to Cardinal Piccolomini's collection of manuscripts. The original holding had been formed by Pius II but was added to by Francesco. Cardinal Piccolomini wanted to house the collection in his native city, the place where Pius II had studied during his youth. The Piccolomini family had already played a decisive role in the urban development of Siena by constructing two palaces designed by Rossellino and situated in via di Citta and in Banchi di Sotto. The geometric facades of the Piccolomini palaces stood in contrast to the crooked medieval streets. The magistracy in charge of coordinating building within Siena described them as 'marvelous work' and a 'very dignified ornamentation' of the city. Now Francesco wanted to add a library to these palaces, which were public only in so far as their imposing facades looked out on to the street. The proposed library was intended to celebrate the Piccolomini family.

Francesco did not turn to Sienese masters, limiting their contribution to the carpenter Antonio Barili who, between 1495 and 1496, produced the furniture in which to keep the manuscripts. At around this time plans were made for the vault, which was to be decorated with leaf patterns. However, this remained a provisional solution because on 29 June 1502 the' Cardinale di Siena' signed a contract with Bernardino detto el Pelltllricchio pictore Perusino' (Bernardino, called Pinturicchio, a painter from Perugia) for the fresco decoration of the room. Piccolomini chose one of Perugino's pupils who had already been employed in the greatest houses in Italy. Pinturicchio had painted a chapel 'barely touched by the new fashion for grotesque decorations' in Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome for the Bufalini in c. 1485. He had also worked in the Borgia apartments in the Vatican between 1492 and 1494, which contained decorations overflowing with classical


The pictures show the entrance to the Piccolomini Library in the left aisle of the cathedral in Siena, and the fresco The Coronation of Pope Pius III.
This monumental fresco above the richly carved classical façade depicts the coronation of the library's donor, Francesco Todeschini-Piccolomini, as Pope Pius III. In the lunette above the portal the donor's coat of arms as cardinal, in the right-hand lunette the papal coat of arms of his uncle Pius II can be seen.

The fresco The Coronation of Pope Pius III is on the entrance wall to the Piccolomini Library in the left aisle of the cathedral in Siena. It records an event that took place on October 8, 1503 in front of the old St Peter's. The painter must have executed this work at the behest of the heirs, for the new pope died a mere ten days after the event depicted. The fresco was heavily overpainted in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, and it was restored in the 1960s.
 


Pope Pius II, born Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini


Entrance to the Piccolomini Library,
Duomo, Siena

 

Pinturicchio painted this cycle of frescoes around the library between 1502 and 1507, representing Rafael and himself in several of them. This masterpiece is full of striking detail and vivacious colours. Each scene is explained in Latin by the text below. They depict ten remarkable events from the secular and religious career of pope Pius II.

Each scene is labeled with a Latin inscription, taken from the pope's biography by the humanist writer Giovanni Antonio Campano. The story begins at the end of the room next to the right-hand window, then proceeds clockwise around the room. The scenes depicted are as follows:

1. Departure for the Council of Basel on a white steed (1431)
2. Oration as envoy before King James I of Scotland
3. Crowned poet laureate by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III (1442)
4. Subjugation to Pope Eugenius IV (1445)
5. As Archbishop of Siena, presenting Eleanor of Portugal to Frederick III at the Comollia gate in Siena (1451)
6. Nomination as cardinal by Callisto III (1456)
7. Election as Pope Pius II (1458)
8. Presiding over the Congress of Mantua, at which he proclaims a crusade (1459)
9. Canonizing St. Catherine of Siena (1461)
10. Reaching Ancona, where he would wait in vain for the Venetian fleet before setting out on Crusade against the Turks (1464)

Pinturicchio's fresco cycle is a rare example of a unified decoration of the early sixteenth century. Well-suited to Pinturicchio's skills and to a somewhat provincial Siena, his lyric style fits comfortably into the medieval setting of the Cathedral.
The narratives are illustrated with descriptive clarity, the figures precisely drawn, the unatmospheric landscape bright and sharply defined.

In contrast to Perugino, the mature Pinturicchio seems to have gained artistic strength rather than losing it, and his frescoes in the grandiose Piccolomini Library in Siena are masterpieces in his personal style. The narratives deal with the life of the Piccolomini family's first pope, Pius II. Here the future Pope, Aeneas Silvius, is shown as a young man setting out for Basle. The preparatory drawing is often regarded as by Raphael, indicating the possibility of a rather remarkable collaboration.

In the fresco the elegant manner of Pinturicchio's style is especially discernible in the central figure, that of the youthful Aeneas Silvius, heroically set upon a white horse placed obliquely in space. The lad turns sharply to face the spectator. His refined features and modish garments and the delicate hound, highbred and quivering, reflect a set of choices that can be traced back to artists like Pisanello and Sassetta in the previous generation. Seen through a high arch with decorative devices carried down from the folly articulated ceiling which Pinturicchio must have worked on first, the landscape takes up more than half the available space.

A special bonus is included, a tour de force and one not provided in the drawing: a storm at sea and a rainbow in the sky. These daring naturalistic inclusions are examples of the originality that crops up in this cycle. Significant stylistic breaks with his earlier works, however, do not occur.

The impressive vault of the library, also painted by Pinturicchio (c.1502), is ornately decorated with grotesques, scenes from classical mythology, and a variety of putti, satyrs, nymphs and tritons. The three large squares in the center depict the Rape of Proserpine, the Piccolomini coat of arms, and Diana and Endymion.

 

Aeneas Piccolomini Introduces Eleonora of Portugal to Frederick IIIAeneas Piccolomini Introduces Eleonora of Portugal to Frederick III (detail), fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

 



   
The cycle's first three scenes, beginning with the one on the right wall closest to the windows, represent the initial phase of Enea Silvio Piccolomini's secular career.

In the first compartment we see the twenty-seven-year-old Enea Silvio setting out in the train of Cardinal Domenico Capranica for the Council of Basel in 1431. Wearing a splendid traveling cloak, a fur collar, and a pilgrim's hat, the young man sits on a white horse - an obvious allusion to his future stature, for white horses were reserved for popes.

1 Enea Piccolomini Leaves for the Council of Basle

   
In the first compartment we see the twenty-seven-year-old Enea Silvio setting out in the train of Cardinal Domenico Capranica for the Council of Basel in 1431. Wearing a splendid traveling cloak, a fur collar, and a pilgrim's hat, the young man sits on a white horse - an obvious allusion to his future stature, for white horses were reserved for popes.
The humanist Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini spent his later life, including his pontificate as Pope Pius II (1458–1464), explaining away the errors of his youth. He had, as a young cleric, adhered to the Council of Basel (1431–1449) and its antipope, Felix V. Aeneas self-consciously changed his interpretation of Felix, the former Duke Amadeus VIII of Savoy, from favorable to unfavorable. Even his physical description of the antipope became negative. Nonetheless, he was careful to place the worst criticism of Felix into the mouths of others, further distancing himself from his past. Piccolomini’s nephew, Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, had Felix excluded from the pictures narrating his uncle’s life he had Pinturicchio execute for the Piccolomini Library in Siena.
 
Pintoricchio, Enea Piccolomini Leaves for the Council of Basle
Pintoricchio,
Enea Piccolomini Leaves for the Council of Basle, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

Pintoricchio, Enea Piccolomini Leaves for the Council of Basle, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
Pintoricchio, Enea Piccolomini Leaves for the Council of Basle (detail), fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

     
2 Enea Piccolomini as an Ambassador to the Court of James I of Scotland

   
The second scene is set at the court of the Scottish king in 1435. While in Basel, Enea Silvio was employed as a secretary by cardinal Albergati, who immediately dispatched him to the court of James I of Scotland. His job was to try to enlist the king as an ally against England, and at this he was unsuccessful. We see the ambassador in a long red cloak on the left, standing in front of the throne and gesturing in the typical pose of debate.

 
Pintoricchio, Enea Piccolomini as an Ambassador to the Court of James I of Scotland
Pintoricchio, Enea Piccolomini as an Ambassador to the Court of James I of Scotland, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
3 Frederick III Crowning Enea Silvio Piccolomini with a Laurel Wreath

   
The third scene reminds us of the young Enea Silvio's literary triumphs. In Frankfurt Frederick III had convened his first diet after having been crowned king of Germany. On July 27, 1442 Frederick himself crowned Piccolomini with a laurel wreath, presumably for the request of Enea Silvio. The emperor places the wreath on the poet's head in front of an especially ornate and theatrical architectural prospect. The many figures on the pink-paved square are clustered in casual groupings.

 
Pintoricchio, The Coronation of Pope Pius III
Pintoricchio, The Coronation of Pope Pius III, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

Aeneas Piccolomini is crowned poet laureate by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III in 1442, fresco by Pinturicchio, Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

4 Homage to Pope Eugenius IV in the Name of Emperor Frederick III

   
There is a distinct break in the narrative before the fourth scene. In 1445 Piccolomini suffered a major spiritual crisis, and he turned away from his secular way of life. He became interested in effecting some kind of compromise between the emperor and the pope. Frederick III sent him to the papal court to urge Eugenius IV to convene a new council, and Piccolomini took that opportunity to beg the pope to forgive him for having strayed from the faith. The pope is seated on an elevated throne, flanked by cardinals. Enea Silvio, dressed in a splendid gold robe, has thrown himself at his feet. In the background in the portico on the left, there is an additional scene: the rueful Enea Silvio is consecrated as a priest.

 
Pintoricchio, Homage to Pope Eugenius IV in the Name of Emperor Frederick III
Pintoricchio, Homage to Pope Eugenius IV in the Name of Emperor Frederick III, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
5 Enea Silvio Piccolomini Presents Frederick III to Eleonora of Portugal

   

In 1450 Aeneas was sent as ambassador by the Emperor Frederick III to negotiate his marriage with the princess Eleonore of Portugal, which object he successfully achieved.
The narrow north wall of the library contains two scenes, the fifth and the sixth of the cycle. Enea Silvio was named bishop of Siena in September 1450, and in that new capacity, having arranged the marriage of Frederick III and Eleonora of Portugal, he introduced the two parties to each other in Siena in February 1452. This event is the subject of the fifth scene.

 

Pintoricchio, Aeneas Piccolomini Introduces Eleonora of Portugal to Frederick IIIPintoricchio, Aeneas Piccolomini Introduces Eleonora of Portugal to Frederick III (detail), fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

 

6 Enea Silvio is Elevated to Cardinal

   
The narrow north wall of the library contains two scenes, the fifth and the sixth of the cycle. The sixth scene shows Pope Calixtus III Borgia anointing Enea Silvio a cardinal on December 17, 1456. In that same ceremony the pope's nephew, Rodrigo Borgia - the later Pope Alexander VI - was elevated to the same dignity. The focus of the scene is the altar retable, a painting of the Madonna with Saints James and Andrew, the patron saints of the Piccolomini.

 
Pintoricchio, Enea Silvio is Elevated to Cardinal
Pintoricchio, Enea Silvio is Elevated to Cardinal, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
7 The Coronation of Enea Silvio Piccolomini as Pope Pius II

   
The seventh scene is on the first compartment of the east wall. Here we are presented with the major event in Enea Silvio's life, his coronation as Pius II on September 3, 1458. The picture shows the ceremony in St. Peter's, confirmed by the apse mosaic showing Christ standing between Peter and Paul.
At the death of Pope Calixtus III in 1458, the cardinals chose a man who for his diplomatic skills seemed able to effectively promote the crusade against the Ottomans. Cardinal Enea Silvio Piccolomini became a priest at the age of 42, after having served as a secretary and an ambassador for both the pope and the German emperor. He had a vast knowledge of the classic world and a high level of self-esteem, which he showed in choosing the name of Pius (II), because this adjective (Engl. pious) was associated with his own name (Enea) in Virgil's Aeneid:
Aeneas then unsheath'd his shining sword, And thus with pious pray'rs the gods ador'd
(Virgil, Aeneid, Book 12).

 
Pintoricchio, The Coronation of Enea Silvio Piccolomini as Pope Pius II,
Pintoricchio, The Coronation of Enea Silvio Piccolomini as Pope Pius II, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
8 Pope Pius II at the Congress of Mantua

   

The eighth scene depicts the Congress of Mantua which was convened by Pius II on June 26, 1459. There the pope sought to enlist the princes of Europe in a new crusade specifically against the Turks, who had conquered Constantinople in 1453.
The pope, engaged in debate with the patriarch of Constantinople, sits enthroned in profile on the right. The patriarch stands across from him, beyond the circle of seated cardinals. The foreground figures in Ottoman dress make it clear that this is the congress convened by Pius II on June 26, 1459. From his Commentarii we know that Pius II received various embassies in Mantua, from Cyprus, Rhodes, Lesbos, Albania, and Asia.

  Pintoricchio, Pope Pius II at the Congress of Mantua
Pintoricchio, Pope Pius II at the Congress of Mantua, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
9 The Canonization of Catherine of Siena by Pope Pius II

   
The ninth scene focuses on the canonization of Catherine of Siena in St. Peter's on June 29, 1461. It was the high point of Pius II's spiritual career. The occasion was a triumph for the Sienese, for they could now boast of a local female saint in addition to the popular Bernardino, who had been declared a saint only in 1450.

Raphael created original design drawings for this project despite the fact that he was employed by an artist thirty years his senior who had been commissioned to carry out the work. Just as in this case, when Raphael became too busy to attend to every detail of his production himself he did not reserve the design process to himself.

 
Pintoricchio, The Canonization of Catherine of Siena by Pope Pius II
Pintoricchio, The Canonization of Catherine of Siena by Pope Pius II, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
Pope Aeneas Piccolomini Canonizes Catherine of Siena (detail), with on the left presumed portraits of Rafael and Pinturicchio
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena


10 Pope Pius II Arrives in Ancona

   
The tenth and last picture in the cycle is set in the Adriatic port of Ancona, a view of which takes up the right side of the background. On July 19, 1464 the ailing pope arrived in Ancona, where he was to await the Venetian fleet that would lead his crusade. he died there a week later. After his death the unpopular crusade was called off.

  Pintoricchio, Pope Pius II Arrives in Ancona
Pintoricchio, Pope Pius II Arrives in Ancona, fresco in the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena
   
   

The floor



Pinturicchio, ceramic floor of the Piccolomini Library (detail), Duomo, Siena

The ceramic floor is decorated with half moons on a blue background – the emblem of the Piccolomini family.
The murals of the Piccolomini Library, featuring episodes from the life of Pope Pius II, are usually discussed as distinctly separate from the vault imagery, predominantly all'antica and mythological scenes. The latter, combined with the centrally-placed, antique statue of The Three Graces, has led some authors to comment on the library's overtly 'pagan' content as shockingly incongruent with its setting in the sacred precincts of the duomo. Little attention is paid to the significance of the stucco relief above the entrance, The Expulsion from Paradise. The article pro-poses that such a prestigious project for so powerful and erudite a patron as Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, and painted by the highly acclaimed artist Pinturicchio, is unlikely to have been devised without careful attention to its iconographical programme. Focussing primarily on the two largest compartments of the vault, it is demonstrated that the four principal figures there should be interpreted as representatives of the four temperaments. By defining their relationship as such to the Expulsion from Paradise relief and to the historical narratives on the walls, this article shows that the mythological scenes in the vault play an allegorical role within the broader scheme and that a coherent programme underpins the entire decoration, with the writings of Saint Augustine and of his fifteenth century followers at its core.
 
Pinturicchio, vault of the Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

In the period 1504-06 Pinturicchio accepted some smaller commissions in Siena, in addition to working in the Piccolomini Library. Among these commissions he painted scenes from the life of St John the Baptist in the Chapel of St John in the cathedral. Here he depicted the portrait of the donor, Alberto Aringhieri, in the habit of a knight of Malta.

The inlaid marble mosaic floor in the Duomo is one of the most ornate of its kind in Italy, covering the whole floor of the cathedral. In 1480 Alberto Aringhieri was appointed superintendent of the works. From then on, the mosaic floor scheme began to make serious progress. The Story of Fortuna, or Hill of Virtue (Allegoria della Fortuna), by Pinturicchio in 1504, was the last one commissioned by Aringhieri.

The enduring importance of the chapel was underscored in the mid-seventeenth century by Pope Alexander VII who used the monument, which he refurbished, as a model for his new Cappella del Voto located in a pendant position across the transept. The pope's interests in the chapel reflect the same familial, civic, and knightly issues important for the original patron, Alberto Aringhieri.
The babtistery of the Duomo also contains eight frescoes by Pinturicchio, commissioned by Alberto Aringhieri, and painted between 1504 and 1505.
 


Pinturicchio, Portrait of the Donor, 1504, fresco, Duomo, Siena

 
   

Pope Pius II was born Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini and was known as a poet and author before becoming Pope.
Pius left a lengthy autobiography, dictated in the third person and not correctly attributed to him until the late 19th century. Its English translation runs to five volumes in its entirety, although an abridged one volume version, "Memoirs of a Renaissance Pope," trans. Florence Gragg (1959), puts some highlights in an accessible form.
Historia de Duobus Amantibus / The Tale of the Two Lovers, by Pope Pius II and translated by Flora Grierson.

   
[1] Bernardino di Betto (Benedetto), Italian painter called II Pinturicchio, was, like Perugino, a native of the district around Perugia and consequently open to the artistic currents common to the Umbrian region. His training and early career are completely unknown; even his date of birth is a matter of speculation. Usually considered to have been born around 1454 on the basis of ambiguous data given by Vasari, he was more likely born a few years later. He was thought by his contemporaries to have been a pupil of Perugino and to have had a share in Perugino's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in the early 1480s. Critics have also assigned to him several paintings of a series depicting events in the life of St Bernardino of Siena (Pinacoteca, Perugia), firmly datable to around 1473. This attribution is impossible on chronological grounds if the correct date of his birth is about 1460. In Siena - where he finally settled, married, had children, and died - he had important commissions for the Cathedral, for the Church of San Francesco, and for Pandolfo Petrucci, the chief citizen of the city.

The first actual notice for Pinturicchio is his inscription in the painters' guild in Perugia in 1481. There is another Perugian notice of 1481 concerning a work no longer extant. In the following year he received payments for a lunette in the Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia, his first securely datable work, although it is modest and uninformative stylistically.
In the fresco in the Baglioni Chapel, Santa Maria Maggiore, Spello, Pinturicchio included his own portrait, emblazoned with his name, as a painting within the painting.

The important frescoes for the Bufalini family in the Roman church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli are not documented, but may date from the late 1480s. They were produced for an Umbrian patron from Citta di Castello and depict scenes from the life of St Bernardino. Only with the decorations of the so-called Borgia apartments in the Vatican Palace, made for the Borgia Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) soon after the Pope took office and probably finished by 1495, do we have another firmly dated work.

 



 


A wonderful place to relax and enjoy the treasures of Tuscany, close to the Tyrrhenian coast but set in an oasis of green and abundant nature, Podere Santa Pia combines the best of this region's original qualities. Numerous other towns and villages offer a treasure trove of history and art waiting to be discovered. The central location of the holiday home allows you to visit the nearby beautiful villages Montalcino, Sant'Antimo, Pienza, S. Quirico d'Orcia and Montepulciano. Also Siena is within easy reach thanks to the vicinity of the SS223.


Holiday homes in the Tuscan Maremma | Podere Santa Pia

   
   

Podere Santa Pia
Siena, Piazza del Campo

Orbetello
         
Bagni San Filippo

Bagni San Filippo
Lago Trasimeno
Scansano
         




Siena, duomo
 
Siena, Palazzo Publicco
 
Sunsets in Tuscany



   

Although this is off the beaten track it is the ideal choice for those seeking a peaceful, uncontaminated environment.
Podere Santa Pia, with its wide panoramic terrace overlooking the Maremma offers splendid views up to
the Tyrrhenian coast, Monte Christo and Corsica.

Pinturicchio


In 1492 Pinturicchio was frescoing in the Cathedral of Orvieto (works no longer extant), where he was active over the next few years. By the 1490s, then, his life and work are more thoroughly traceable. In 1501 he frescoed the Baglioni Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore in his native town of Spello; in that year he also held political office in Perugia. By 1502 Pinturicchio had obtained the commission to fresco the Piccolomini Library, a large appendage to the Sienese Cathedral. The actual painting took place between 1505 and 1507.
There are a few surviving easel paintings by Pinturicchio in various museums like The Crucifixion in the Borghese Gallery, Rome.

In Siena - where he finally settled, married, had children, and died - he had other important commissions for the Cathedral, for the Church of San Francesco, and for Pandolfo Petrucci, the chief citizen of the city. Throughout his life, Pinturicchio was never recorded in Florence. Although we might easily assume a brief trip or trips there, a sympathy for the progressive art occurring in the Tuscan capital is completely absent from his work. In this respect, he is unlike other leading Umbrian painters, such as Piero della Francesca, Perugino, Signorelli, and Raphael, who were open to such influences.
[2]
The donor of the library and its furnishings was Francesco Todeschini (1439-1503) who wished to create a monument to his family and a memorial to his mother's brother Enea Silvio Piccolomini who had served as Pope Pius II from 1458 to 1464. Pope Pius II was born Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini and was known as a poet and author before becoming Pope. In 1460 Pius II elevated Todeschini to the rank of cardinal and permitted him to assume the Piccolomini name and the family's coat of arms. In 1503 Francesco succeeded Pope Alexander VI as Pius III but his reign was brief, he died twenty-six days later.
The contract for the decoration of the library was signed in the presence of Francesco Todeschini-Piccolomini on June 19, 1502 and the painting was finished in April 1508.
The source for the ten episodes from the life of Pius II was Pius II's autobiography, the famous Commentarii, written between 1462 and 1464. In addition to being the official life story of a pope, it is a fascinating political and historical chronicle.


Siena | Duomo di Siena

Piazza del Duomo is dominated by the imposing structure of Siena’s cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta. The building stands over an existing church that in turn was built over a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva. Construction of the existing Duomo started in 1200, with the main sections already completed by 1215. The dome was built between 1259 and 1264.

The Latin cross design of the church includes three naves and is entirely sheathed in strips of alternating black and white marble, a reference to the black and white colours of the coat of arms of the city of Siena. The lower section of the facade was built between 1284 and 1296, probably under the supervision of Giovanni Pisano. In 1317 work was started on the extension towards the area known today as the “Valle Piatta’. Despite this enlargement, the church was deemed insufficient for the needs of the city, which felt a strong need to compete against the vast cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore being built in Florence at the time. Ambitious designs were therefore drawn up to build what should have been the largest cathedral in Europe.

Construction of the so-called ‘Duomo Nuovo’ was started in 1339, under the direction of Lando di Pietro. Proceedings soon ground to a halt, however, following the precarious conditions of the town’s coffers after the great plague that hit Siena in 1348. Coupled with political turmoil and basic faults in the design, the Senese were forced to abandon the project, of which there remains only the grandiose facciatone facade, and return to the original designs. After 1376 Giovanni di Cecco supervised the completion of the facade, which is inspired by the Duomo of Orvieto. Its polychrome marble decoration contains a number of sculptures.

The lower section is Gothic-Romanesque in design (by Giovanni Pisano), with three doors. The upper section is in late-gothic style and was designed by Giovanni di Cecco, with mosaics added to the cusps in the 19th century. The alternating white and black bell tower is Romanesque and rests on a previously existing tower. Its six orders of windows are crowned by an octagonal pyramid cusp with lateral pinnacles.

The interior of the Duomo reflects the polychrome use of marble decorations present in the exterior and makes clever use of light from the outside to create a mysterious effect of shadows. The vaulted ceiling painted in blue with golden stars was raised in the 14th century, so that the external walkway of the cupola appears partially covered. The arches and vaulting of the main nave are divided by a cornice that is supported by 172 16th century stucco busts of the Early Popes. Beneath these there are the busts of 36 Roman Emperors.

Between 1369 and 1547 the floor was completely inlaid in marble and, for conservation reasons, is usually covered by wooden boards near the dome and presbytery. This area in fact contains 56 square slabs each depicting a scene inspired by salvation and completed by 40 different artists, almost all of whom were from Siena. Two holy water basins sculpted by Antonio Federighi in 1462-63 are placed next to the first two columns of the church.

Six sided at its base, the cupola develops into twelve sides as it rises and is adorned with gilded statues of saints placed in the niches at its base. The asymmetrical canopy above is decorated with 42 figures of the patriarchs and prophets, painted at the end of the 15th century. In 1532 Baldassare Petruzzi completed the marble high altar, which is surmounted by a bronze tabernacle by Vecchietta (1467-1472). The vast stained glass window of the apse is by Duccio di Buoninsegna.

To the left there is a masterpiece of gothic sculpture: an altar by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano (1266-68). On the same side is the Chapel of St John the Baptist, with a statue of the saint completed by Donatello in 1457. Immediately after the chapel is the grand entrance to the Piccolomini Library, founded in 1495 by Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini (later Pope Pius III) to house the library of his uncle, Pope Pius II.The family’s altar is also here, commissioned from Andrea Bregno at the beginning of the 16th century, with four sculptures by Michelangelo. The left hand nave contains the Chapel of the Madonna del Voto, or Chigi Chapel, commissioned by the Senese Pope Alexander VII from Bernini in 1661.

Art in Tuscany | Siena | The Duomo

Art in Tuscany | Pinturicchio

 

This article incorporates text from Wikipedia and from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain, and WikiCommons Cathedral (Siena) - Piccolomini Library (71 F)