Agnolo Bronzino

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Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Andreadi di Bonaiuto

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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

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Guidoccio Cozzarelli

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Il Sodoma

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Lippo Memmi

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Lorenzo Ghiberti

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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

 

             
 
Vecchietta, Road to Calvary, fresco on the wall of the apse, Cathedral of Siena, 1447-50
Vecchietta, Road to Calvary, fresco on the wall of the apse, Cathedral of Siena, 1447-50


Travel guide for Tuscany
       
   

Vecchietta (Lorenzo di Pietro)


   
   

Francesco di Giorgio e di Lorenzo (1412–June 6, 1480), known as Vecchietta or Lorenzo di Pietro, was one of the outstanding Sienese artists of the 15th century. He was a painter, sculptor, goldsmith, architect, and military engineer. He was probably trained by Sassetta, but he also came under the influence of Florentine art and his large-scale paintings have a monumentality rare in Siena in the quattrocento. He is said to have been the pupil of Taddeo Bartoli and Giacomo della Quercia. In sculpture he was influenced largely by Donatello, with whom he came into personal contact.
Vecchieta was one of the most important painters of the later Sienese school. He painted a group of frescoes and a relic press in the Ospedale Santa Maria della Scala, four ceilings in the Baptistery of San Giovanni at Siena, an altarpiece, The Assumption of the Virgin, his masterpiece (cathedral, Pienza), a triptych, Madonna with Saints (Uffizi), St. Catherine and the Virgin of Mercy, fragments of frescoes (Palazzo Pubblico, Siena), and a Madonna (Siena). He also executed many sculptures, including The Risen Christ (Santa Maria della Scala, Siena) and a bronze relief, The Resurrection (Frick Coll., N.Y.).

Donatello's influence may also account for the strength and plasticity of Vecchietta's later paintings, such as the St Catherine in the Town Hall, Siena, and the Assumption in Pienza Cathedral, both dating from 1461/2. Another side to Vecchietta's talent is seen in his delightful illuminations in a manuscript of Dante's Divine Comedy (British Library, London, c.1440).

A series of frescoes in the Battistero di San Giovanni (Baptistery of S. Giovanni) were executed with the assistance of pupils, but much is identified as Vecchietta's own: the Evangelists, the Four Articles of the Creed, the Assumption and symbolical figures of Virtues. Vecchietta also painted two scenes on the wall of the apse: Flagellation and Road to Calvary.
The marble high altar of the presbytery was built in 1532 by Baldassarre Peruzzi. The enormous bronze ciborium is the work of Vecchietta (1467-1472, originally commissioned for the church of the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, across the square, and brought to the cathedral in 1506).

Outside Siena the artist's chief painting, an Assumption, of (1451), is in the church at Pienza. In Firenze a Madonna panel and the bronze tomb statute of Marianus Soccinus the Elder (removed from S. Domenico, Siena), a noted Sienese jurisconsult, are in the Uffizi.

Vecchietta was born in Castiglione d'Orcia, and lived in Siena. Much of his work may be found there, particularly at the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, lending him yet another name: pittor dello spedale (or 'painter of the hospital').
For the Pellegrinaio (Pilgrim Hall) at the Hospital complex, Vecchietta painted a series of frescoes, along with Domenico di Bartolo and Priamo della Quercia, including The Founding of the Spedale and The Vision of Santa Sorore, depicting a dream of the mother of the cobbler Sorore, the mythical founder of the Hospital.

Later, around 1444, he created the Cappella del Sacro Chiodo, also known as the Old Sacristy, decorated with his own work. The frescoes included Annunciation, Nativity, and Last Judgment scenes, and an Allegory of the Ladder depicting children climbing to heaven. For the high altar of the Church of the Santissima Annunziata, within the Hospital complex, he created a bronze figure of the Risen Christ (signed and dated 1476), which shows the influence of Donatello.
"Vecchietta's Risen Christ combines the intensity of feeling associated with medieval German sculpture with that tactile physical description that is the hallmark of Renaissance art: It is unique and -- to my mind at least -- one of the greatest works of Western sculpture.[0]
 
Vecchietta, Risen Christ, c. 1476, Bronze, Chiesa dell'Ospedale della Scala, SienaVecchietta, Risen Christ, c. 1476, Bronze, Chiesa dell'Ospedale della Scala, Siena
   
   
Vecchietta, The Founding of Spedale di Santa Maria della Scale
Vecchietta, The Founding of Spedale di Santa Maria della Scale, 1441, frescoin Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala, Siena.



The Founding of Spedale di Santa Maria della Scale

This fresco is located on the east wall of the Pellegrinaio, situated on the ground floor of the hospital. In this painting Vecchietta set the complex scene in what appears to be a vaulted church. This allowed him to place the central narrative event within the nave of this church. Here the cobbler, Sorore, the mythical founder of the Spedale, is shown describing to one of the canons of the cathedral the vision that his mother was alleged to have experienced before his birth. Behind these two figures, in the space of the domed crossing, appears the vision itself - the Virgin welcoming infants who have reached heaven by climbing up the hospital's emblem of a ladder. The right-hand aisle of the church, meanwhile, acts as the setting for the first occasion when Sorore brought a foundling to one of the cathedral canons and received money for the upkeep of the child. The entire edifice is fronted by an impressive facade whose style with its antique detail of fluted piers, ornate capitals and frieze is unequivocally Renaissance. Perspective has been employed to great effect, both on the pavement of the church and in the recession of the building itself.

 

     
Vecchietta, Arliquiera (1445)
Vecchietta, Arliquiera (1445), Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena



Vecchietta, Arliquiera (1445)



Vecchietta's Arliquiera, a painted wardrobe for holy relics painted by Vecchietta was placed in the Old Sacristy of Santa Maria della Scala in 1445, but is now in the National Picture Gallery of Siena.

The Arliquiera is a wooden structure designed to enclose the hospital's precious relics in a niche in the wall of the sacristy of the Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. Vecchietta's work in the sacristy started with the painting of the Arliquiera.

On its outer face the Arliquiera displayed a series of saints and beati who were particularly revered in Siena and in the Spedale. Members of major religious orders were skilfully juxtaposed with members of the lay orders associated with them. Thus below the Dominican friar Ambrogio Sansedoni appeared the Dominican tertiary Catherine of Siena. Represented just above the massive metal bolts that secured the doors of the Arliquiera was the Blessed Agostino Novello, a figure of particular relevance to the Spedale. Believed to have written the rule for the hospital community of Augustinian tertiaries, this Augustinian friar is accordingly shown in the act of bestowing the mantle of office on the kneeling figure of a rector. Above this array of civic saints was placed a sequence of four paintings that portrayed in the outer compartments the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin of the Annunciation and in the centre the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. While the first two figures alluded to the annual display of the relics to the public on the feast of the Annunciation, the second two scenes acted as a reminder of a prized relic held in the Arliquiera - one of the nails believed to have been used at the Crucifixion. The inner surfaces of the doors were painted with eight scenes depicting the Passion. Thus, when the doors were opened, the relics would have been framed by an entire sequence of paintings illustrating the key events that led up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection. [1]

 

The Blessed Agostino Novello Assigning the Habit of the Hospital to the Rector
The picture The Blessed Agostino Novello shows one of the panels of the outer shutters of the Arliquiera. Believed to have written the rule for the hospital community of Augustinian tertiaries, Agostino Novello, an Augustinian friar, is accordingly shown in the act of bestowing the mantle of office on the kneeling figure of a rector - it seems reasonable to suppose that it may be intended as a portrait of Urbano di Pietro del Bello, who was rector of the Spedale between 1444 and 1450.  
   
In the mid-1460s Pope Pius II commissioned four of Siena's leading painters to execute altarpieces for his newly completed cathedral in Pienza. These were the two slightly older painters Sano di Pietro and Giovanni di Paolo, the tried and tested Vecchietta, and a younger painter, Matteo di Giovanni. The cathedral was built by the Florentine architect Bernardo Rossellino according to the patron's taste for both Italian renaissance architecture and the tall, luminous interiors of north European churches, it was furnished entirely according to his preferences and wishes.

Each of the four painters executed an altarpiece whose form and subject matter appears to have been closely controlled by their humanist patron. Vecchietta's takes the distinctive form of a kind of unified triptych, depicting the Virgin of the Assumption in the centre and pairs of saints on either side. These are Agatha, Pius, Calixtus and Catherine of Siena. Destined to be placed over the altar in the chapel to the left of the central chapel (when facing towards it), its subject honoured the dedication of the cathedral to the Virgin of the Assumption; the identities of the patron, Pius II, and his own patron and papal predecessor, Pope Calixtus III; and the Sienese saint whom Pius had canonised in 1461.

While recalling the original design and gilded magnificence of the patronal altarpieces for Siena cathedral, this altarpiece was rendered in a notably contemporary manner, the framework adopting the repertoire of Renaissance architecture - simple, rectangular mouldings and a round (not pointed) arch, surmounted by a triangular pediment. The central image of the Virgin of the Assumption also demonstrates Vecchietta's confident handling of pictorial spaces, both in terms of the angels grouped in a circle below the seated figure of the Virgin and in the lyrical landscape behind the figure of Saint Thomas in the lower foreground. The pairs of saints on either side of this image stand on a pavement embellished with circles, likewise seen in depth. These saints too are portrayed as substantial figures who relate to one another. [2]
 
The Virgin of the Assumption with Saints, Cathedral, Pienza
 
Vasari's Lives of the Artists | The Life of Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439-1502) and the Life of Lorenzo Vecchietto (ca. 1412-1480)



[0] Keith Christiansen, Giving Voice to the Renaissance in Siena, The New York Times, Published: June 20, 1993.
Keith Christiansen is a curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

[1] Web Gallery of Art | Vecchietta, Arliquiera (outer shutters), 1445, Tempera on panel, 273 x 187 (each shutter), Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

[2] Web Gallery of Art | Vecchietta, The Virgin of the Assumption with Saints, 1462-63, Cathedral, Pienza

 

The Villa Certano estate extends along the sunny, open hillside about 7 kilometres from Siena. Inside the estate, on top of a hill, is the ancient rural village with its stately manor-house dominating the tufaceous, sandy, browny-yellow terrain, typical of this area, where olives and grapes have been cultivated for centuries. Villa Certano has belonged to the Baldassarrini Macinelli family for centuries and during the Renaissance it was the property of the famous Sienese painter and architect, Lorenzo di Pietra Vecchietta, who made this his residence.

Gardens in Tuscany | Villa Certano Baldassarrini

 

 
   


Holiday accomodation in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia | Artist and writer's residency

 

 

 

Podere Santa Pia
Pienza
Monte Argentario
         
Bagni San Filippo
Monte Oliveto Maggiore abbey
Bagni San Filippo
Sovicille
         


Wines in southern Tuscany
Arezzo

Sunsets in Tuscany

         


   
Podere Santa Pia is immersed in the utmost quietness of the Alta Maremma and offers breathtaking views,
up to the Tyrrhenian coast and Monte Christo