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



Dietisalvi di Speme

Domenico Beccafumi

Domenico di Bartolo

Domenico di Michelino

Domenico veneziano


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


Domenico Ghirlandaio


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


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


piero della francesca

piero del pollaiolo

piero di cosimo

pietro aldi

pietro lorenzetti



sandro botticelli

sano di pietro


simone martini

spinello aretino

taddeo di bartolo

taddeo gaddi

ugolino di nerio



Simone Martini, Frontispiece to Petrarch's Virgil (detail) (c. 1336), illuminated manuscript, 29,5 x 20 cm, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan
Travel guide for Tuscany

Simone Martini | Frontispiece to Petrarch's Virgil

Simone Martini was born in 1284. Though little is known of his artistic origins (Vasari gives Giotto as his teacher) he appears as a fully developed master when he painted the Majestas in the Sala del Consiglio of the Siena Town Hall in 1315.

Simone Martini spent his last years at the papal court in Avignon, where he arrived in 1340 accompanied by his brother and collaborator, Donato.[1] They came to Avignon as artists and as official representatives of the Church in Siena. Only one signed and dated work is known from this period in France, the Holy Family (1342; Liverpool). Frescoes in the Cathedral are in a ruined state. A group of four small panels with scenes of the Passion and an Annunciation diptych (now in various museums) project a fervent emotionalism and dramatic tension matched only by the late sculpture of Giovanni Pisano.
At Avignon, Simone and the poet-humanist Petrarch formed a close friendship. The painter executed a frontispiece for Petrarch's copy of Commentaries on Virgil, and the poet records in one of his sonnets that Simone painted a portrait, now lost, of his beloved Laura.

« Ma certo il mio Simon fu in paradiso,
Onde questa gentil donna si parte;
Ivi la vide e la ritrasse in carte,
Per far fede quaggiù del suo bel viso »
(Il Canzoniere, Per mirar Policleto a prova fiso)

But certainly my Simon was in Paradise, whence comes this noble lady; there he saw her and portrayed her on paper, to attest down here to her lovely face.

Simone's late work at Avignon brings him in close contact with the international traffic of the papal court. His chief works there are the badly damaged fscos representing the battle of St. George with the dragon, a fragment of the Saviour with angels in the narthex, and a fragment representing the Virgin with the kneeling Cardinal Stefaneschi, all in Notre Dame des Domes in Avignon. Possible variations of the spacious St. George composition may be found in a drawing of the Vatican Library and miniatures of the St. George Codex in the archives of St. Peter's in Rome.[2] Simone's further connection with miniature painting may be inferred from the miniature which he is said by Petrarch to have painted in the poet's copy of Virgil, now in the Ambrosian Library of Milan.



Simone Martini. Apotheosis of Virgil, frontispiece of the Commento a Virgilio di Servio, 1340-44. Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan
[1] Simone Martini (c. 1284–1344) was an Italian painter born in Siena. He was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting and greatly influenced the development of the International Gothic style.

It is thought that Martini was a pupil of Duccio di Buoninsegna, the leading Sienese painter of his time. According to late Renaissance art biographer Giorgio Vasari, Simone was instead a pupil of Giotto di Bondone, with whom he went to Rome to paint at the Old St. Peter's Basilica, Giotto also executing a mosaic there. Martini's brother-in-law was the artist Lippo Memmi. Very little documentation survives regarding Simone's life, and many attributions are debated by art historians.

Simone was doubtlessly apprenticed from an early age, as would have been the normal practice. Among his first documented works is the Maestà of 1315 in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. A copy of the work, executed shortly thereafter by Lippo Memmi in San Gimignano, testifies to the enduring influence Simone's prototypes would have on other artists throughout the 14th century. Perpetuating the Sienese tradition, Simone's style contrasted with the sobriety and monumentality of Florentine art, and is noted for its soft, stylized, decorative features, sinuosity of line, and courtly elegance. Simone's art owes much to French manuscript illumination and ivory carving: examples of such art were brought to Siena in the fourteenth century by means of the Via Francigena, a main pilgrimage and trade route from Northern Europe to Rome.

Simone's other major works include the St. Louis of Toulouse Crowning the King at the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples (1317), the Saint Catherine of Alexandria Polyptych in Pisa (1319) and the Annunciation with St. Margaret and St. Ansanus at the Uffizi in Florence (1333), as well as frescoes in the San Martino Chapel in the lower church of the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi. Francis Petrarch became a friend of Simone's while in Avignon, and two of Petrarch's sonnets (Canzoniere 96 and 130) make reference to a portrait of Laura de Noves that Simone supposedly painted for the poet (according to Vasari).

A Christ Discovered in the Temple (1342) is in the collections of Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery.
Simone Martini died while in the service of the Papal court at Avignon in 1344.


Giorgio Vasari, Simone Martini

[2] The fresco was painted between Simone's arrival in Avignon sometime between I336 and I340, and his death in that city in 1344. He painted the St. George fresco on the south wall of the porch of Notre Dame-des-Doms and a Virgin and Child with Angels (and Donor) in the tympanum with Christ in Glory above.

Giacomo DeNicola proposed that an illumination in the socalled St. George Codex in the Vatican depicting the battle between the saint and the dragon was a copy of a lost fresco in Avignon painted by Simone Martini between 1336 and 1344.7 The fresco, since its destruction in the early nineteenth century, is known only from early written descriptions, but DeNicola believed he had discovered a drawing copy of it in the Vatican library (Barb. lat. 4426, fol. 36). He concluded that the St. George Codex illumination so closely resembled the drawing that it proved that the Master had copied Simone's Avignon fresco.

For a discussion of Simone's work in Avignon and a review of the controversy over his arrival date, Francois Enaud, "Les Fresques di Simone Martini a Avignon," Les Monuments Historiques de la France 9 (I963) pp. ii I-I80. Marthe Bloch, "When did Simone go to Avignon?," Speculum 2 (1927) pp. 470-472, demonstrated that the traditional date of 1340 was probably wrong; John Rowlands, "The date of Simone Martini's arrival in Avignon," Burlington Magazine 107 (I965) pp. 25-26, supported Bloch's date of I336; Giacomo DeNicola, "L'Affresco di Simone Martini ad Avignone," L'Arte9 (1906) pp. 336-344. [John Howett, Two Panels by the Master of the St. George Codex in The Cloisters]

Giorgio Vasari | Le vite de' più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, da Cimabue insino a' tempi nostri | Simone Martini

Arte in Toscana | Simone Martini

Bibliografia essenziale

Pierluigi Leone de Castris, Simone Martini: catalogo completo dei dipinti , Firenze, c1989.

Marco Pierini, Simone Martini, Silvana Editore, Milano 2002.

Pierluigi Leone de Castris, Simone Martini, Federico Motta Editore, Milano 2003.

Piero Torriti, Simone Martini, Giunti Editore, Firenze 2006.

Walter Berschin: Glossierte Virgil-Handschriften dreier aetates Virglianae. The Role of the Book in Medieval Culture: Proceedings of the Oxford International Symposium, 26 September–1 October 1982; Bibliologia 3-4; Turnhout: Brepols, 1986; Band 1, S. 116-121


Travel guide for tuscany | Art, history, hidden secrets and holiday houses in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia

Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, view from the garden
on the valley below

Siena, Palio
Cypress-Lined Montichiello Road, south of Pienza, Val d'Orcia, Tuscany

Siena, Piazza del Campo

Famous cyoress road near Montichiello
Siena, Piazza del Campo

Podere Santa Pia, situated in a particularly scenic valley, which overlooks on the hills around Cinigiano,
up to the Maremma seashore and Monte Christo

Francesco Petrarca


Thanks to Petrarch's sonnets we know that the poet and the painter became very good friends. Simone must undoubtedly have been influenced by the proto-Humanist cultural world of Petrarch, and we can see clearly how the manuscript illumination of Petrarch's Virgil in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, with its classical and naturalistic overtones (sophisticated gestures, white cloth drapery, the delicate figures of the shepherd and the peasant), anticipates the typical style of early 15th-century French manuscript illumination.

The Italian poet and scholar Francesco Petrarca, known as Petrarch (1304-1374;, is seen as the first critic of modern art. A personal friend of Simone Martini, he commissioned a portrait of his beloved Laura from the Sienese master (this is now-lost, but is mentioned in one of his sonnets). A great collector of classical manuscripts, he also commissioned the artist to illuminate the frontispiece of a priceless Virgilian manuscript. While being a great judge of Gothic painting, Petrarch seems to have preferred Martini's elegant works, with their refined patterns of colour, such as those in the San Martino Chapel in the Lower Church of Assisi (c.1320). A narrative account in decorative shades, it was an intensely lyrical work, like the poetry of Petrarch's own masterpiece, Canzoniere, At this time, classical manuscripts were being recovered and Petrarch was the first to propose new standards of realism for paintings and sculptures based on criteria drawn from these classical texts. The great architect and humanist Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72) was the successor to this style, which was later seen as a critical moment in the history of art.


Petrarch is best known for his Italian poetry, notably the Canzoniere ("Songbook") and the Trionfi ("Triumphs"). However, Petrarch was an enthusiastic Latin scholar and did most of his writing in this language. His Latin writings include scholarly works, introspective essays, letters, and more poetry. Among them are Secretum ("My Secret Book"), an intensely personal, guilt-ridden imaginary dialogue with Augustine of Hippo; De Viris Illustribus ("On Famous Men"), a series of moral biographies; Rerum Memorandarum Libri, an incomplete treatise on the cardinal virtues; De Otio Religiosorum ("On Religious Leisure") and De Vita Solitaria ("On the Solitary Life"), which praise the contemplative life; De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae ("Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul"), a self-help book which remained popular for hundreds of years; Itinerarium ("Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land"); a number of invectives against opponents such as doctors, scholastics, and the French; the Carmen Bucolicum, a collection of 12 pastoral poems; and the unfinished epic Africa.

Petrarch revived the work and letters of the ancient Roman Senator Marcus Tullius Cicero

Petrarch also published many volumes of his letters, including a few written to his long-dead friends from history such as Cicero and Virgil. Cicero, Virgil, and Seneca were his literary models. Most of his Latin writings are difficult to find today. However, several of his works are scheduled to appear in the Harvard University Press series I Tatti. It is difficult to assign any precise dates to his writings because he tended to revise them throughout his life.

In addition, Petrarch collected his letters into two major sets of books called Epistolae familiares ("Familiar Letters") and Seniles ("Of Old Age"), a plan suggested to him by knowledge of Cicero's letters. He kept out of Epistolae familiares a special set of 19 controversial letters called Liber sine nomine that contained much criticism of the Avignon papacy. These were published "without names" to protect the recipients, all of whom had close relationships to Petrarch. The recipients of these letters included Philippe de Cabassoles, bishop of Cavaillon; Ildebrandino Conti, bishop of Padua; Cola di Rienzo, tribune of Rome; Francesco Nelli, priest of the Prior of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Florence; and Niccolò di Capoccia, a cardinal and priest of Saint Vitalis. His "Letter to Posterity" (the last letter in Seniles) gives an autobiography and a synopsis of his philosophy in life. It was originally written in Latin and was completed in 1371 or 1372 - the first such autobiography in a thousand years (since Saint Augustine).

While Petrarch's poetry was set to music frequently after his death, especially by Italian madrigal composers of the Renaissance in the 16th century, only one musical setting composed during Petrarch's lifetime survives. This is Non al suo amante by Jacopo da Bologna, written around 1350.



Andrea del Castagno, Francesco Petrarca, Ciclo degli uomini e donne illustri, 1448-1451, affreschi staccati, già a villa Carducci di Legnaia, Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze
Abbazia di Sant' Antimo
San Gimignano
The abbey of Sant'Antimo
Crete Senesi, surroundings
of Podere Santa Pia