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 saint francis

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



Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of Good Government (detail), Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, 1338-40

Travel guide for Tuscany

The Sienese School of painting

The first Sienese painter whose name is known to us is Guido da Siena, who was active in the second half of the thirteenth century. This does not mean that there were no native-born painters working in Siena before this time. Indeed, there is a large group of panel paintings by anonymous artists which attest to the fact that early in the thirteenth century, if not actually in the late twelfth cenutry, Siena already had a lively tradition of painting, but its style was not yet distinct from that of other centers in Tuscany and the
Umbrian-Roman regions.
The Sienese School of painting flourished in Siena between the 13th and 15th centuries and for a time rivaled Florence, though it was more conservative, being inclined towards the decorative beauty and elegant grace of late Gothic art. [1] Its most important representatives include Duccio, whose work shows Byzantine influence, his pupil Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Domenico and Taddeo di Bartolo, Sassetta and Matteo di Giovanni. Unlike the naturalistic Florentine art, there is a mystical streak in Sienese art, characterized by a common focus on miraculous events, with less attention to proportions, distortions of time and place, and often dreamlike coloration.
Siena was not backward-looking, as so often alleged. Its artistic growth was sufficient to attract the likes of Donatello — who came in old age and worked for several years, profoundly influencing the development of local art — Signorelli, Pintoricchio, and, in his wake, even Rafaello, who came to work with him on the Piccolomini Library frescoes in 1503. In the 16th century the Mannerists Beccafumi and Il Sodoma worked there. The economic and political decline of Siena by the 16th century, and its eventual subjugation by Florence, largely checked the development of Sienese painting, although it also meant that a good proportion of Sienese works in churches and public buildings were not discarded or destroyed by new paintings or rebuilding. Siena remains a remarkably well-preserved Italian late-Medieval town.
In the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, a greater emphasis on human experience and perceptions prompted artists of many kinds to begin "speaking in the vernacular." Poets in Sicily invented and perfected the sonnet, and Dante wrote the Divine Comedy — not in Latin but Italian. Also for the first time, sermons were given in native Italian dialects by members of influential new religious orders, particularly the Franciscans and Dominicans, who left the shelter of monasteries to preach in cities and towns. Religion focused increasingly on human and humane concerns. The simple virtues of the early Franciscans — who renounced worldly possessions and identified strongly with Christ and his suffering — helped to shift emphasis onto Christ's human nature and to demand of religious art a new and closer identification with people's experience. Artists responded by enhancing the sense of particular time and place with detailed settings familiar to their viewers, by expanding the range of gesture and emotion, and by embroidering their narratives with anecdotal details.

Early Italian artists adopted the techniques and traditions of Byzantine art: the gold backgrounds and timeless figures that give spiritual force to icons. But increasingly they began to convey a physical as well as a spiritual reality. The Renaissance celebration of freedom of self-determination had a profound effect on the visual arts. Whereas medieval art focused on otherworldly truths, Renaissance art was nurtured on the principles of humanism, which also paid tribute to visible reality. Greek and Latin learning emboldened thinkers to place the human being at the center of their world view. Interest in the classical past did not impede Christian devotion; religious art remained dominant, and secular art forms emerged also.
Tuscany was the cradle for the new humanist concerns. While Duccio's fourteenth-century Maestà altarpice for Siena Cathedral owes much of its linear and decorative style to his Byzantine predecessors, certain elements in it derive from the painter's direct observation of nature. As religious emphasis shifted to Christ's human experience, closer identification with people's experience was required of art. Artists responded with details familiar in the lives of their viewers.

The decline of Sienese painting from the second half of the 14th century is so splendidly described by Bernhard Berenson in his essay The Central Italian Painters (first published in 1897):

'With the death of the Lorenzetti, the Sienese school of painting fell into a decline from which it never seriously rallied. It had moments of hopefulness and hours of hectic beauty, but never again did it receive that replenishment of force without which art is doomed to dwindle away. Barna, Bartolo di Fredi, and Taddeo di Bartolo at times catch a glow from the splendour of Simone Martini and the Lorenzetti; and Domenico di Bartolo made an uncouth attempt to breathe new life into the school, to replenish it by introducing the shapes and attitudes which the great Florentines had just saved out of chaos and for ever fixed. But as he felt not at all the real significance of these new forms and new gestures (as serving to render either tactile values or movement), his fellows in craft and town had the taste to prefer, to the mock-heroics of a misunderstood naturalism, the unsubstantial but lovely shapes of their long-hallowed tradition. The ever winsome Sassetta lived and painted as if Florence were not forty but forty millions of miles away, as if Masaccio and Donatello, Uccello and Castagno had not yet deserted the limbo of unborn babes. And he has made us the richer by many works of rich, decorative beauty, and by that scene of visionary splendour, the Chantilly 'Marriage of the Seraphic St. Francis'.

But stealthily and mysteriously the new visual imagery, the new feeling for beauty, found its way into Siena, though it had to filter through those frowning walls. And the old feeling for line, for splendid surface, for effects rudimentarily decorative, mingled with the new ideals. Painters of this newness were Vecchietta, Francesco di Giorgio and Benvenuto di Giovanni, and, finer than these, Matteo di Giovanni and Neroccio di Landi, the two greatest masters of Renaissance Siena. Matteo had a feeling for movement which would have led to real art if he had had the necessary knowledge of form; lacking this, he became an inferior Crivelli, giving us effects of firm line cut in gilt cordovan or in old brass. As for Neroccio - why, he was Simone come to life again. Simone's singing line, Simone's endlessly refined feeling for beauty, Simone's charm and grace - you lose but little of them in Neroccio's panels, and you get what to most of us counts more, ideals and emotions more akin to our own, with quicker suggestions of freshness and joy.

Then it was already the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century, and even the Sienese could no longer be satisfied with the few painters who remained in their midst. Masters were summoned from without, Signorelli, Pintoricchio, and Perugino from Umbria, Fra Paolino from Florence, Sodoma from Lombardy; and as there were no forces at home to offer sufficient resistance, there resulted from all these mingled influences a most singular and charming eclecticism - saved from the pretentiousness and folly usually controlling such movements by the sense for grace and beauty even to the last seldom absent from the Sienese.'
[Bernhard Berenson, Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance (1897) | Art in Tuscany | Bernhard Berenson]


Coppo di Marcovaldo
Guido da Siena
Vigoroso da Siena
Rinaldo da Siena


Master of Badia a Isola
Duccio di Buoninsegna

Segna di Buonaventura
Niccolò di Segna
Simone Martini
Lippo Memmi
Naddo Ceccarelli
Ambrogio Lorenzetti
Pietro Lorenzetti
Barna da Siena
Bartolomeo Bulgarini
Master of Monte Oliveto


Bartolo di Fredi
Andrea Vanni
Francesco di Vannuccio
Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio
Niccolò di Bonaccorso
Niccolò di Ser Sozzo
Luca di Tommè
Taddeo di Bartolo
Andrea di Bartolo
Paolo di Giovanni Fei


Benedetto di Bindo
Domenico di Bartolo
Giovanni di Paolo
Gregorio di Cecco
Martino di Bartolomeo
Master of the Osservanza
Pietro di Giovanni d'Ambrogio
Priamo della Quercia
Sano di Pietro
Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni)
Lorenzo di Pietro (Vecchietta)

1451 - 1500

Nicola di Ulisse
Matteo di Giovanni
Benvenuto di Giovanni
Carlo di Giovanni
Francesco di Giorgio Martini
Neroccio di Bartolomeo de' Landi
Pietro di Francesco degli Orioli
Guidoccio Cozzarelli
Bernardino Fungai
Pellegrino di Mariano
Andrea di Niccolò
Pietro di Domenico


Girolamo di Benvenuto
Giacomo Pacchiarotti
Girolamo del Pacchia Domenico Beccafumi
Il Sodoma
Riccio Sanese



Francesco Vanni
Ventura Salimbeni
Rutilio Manetti

Guido da Siena, Adoration of the Magi, about 1275-1280, Altenburg, Lindenau-Museum


Master of Tressa


This Byzantine icon was on the high altar of the Cathedral in Siena in the 13th century. The painter of this picture is referred to as the Master of Tressa.

the namesake Madonna of the Big Eyes, which got nudged off the cathedral's high altar by Duccio's Maestà, was painted in the 1220s by the "Maestro di Tressa."


Maestro di Tressa, Madonna of Large Eyes, c. 1260, Museo dell' Opera del Duomo, Siena
Coppo di Marcovaldo


Coppo di Marcovaldo (1225, Firenze - 1274, Siena) was one of the earliest about whom there is a body of documented knowledge. He was born in Florence, and is mentioned as active in Pistoia in 1265, where he frescoed the St. James Chapel in the cathedral.
He served in the army of Florence and settled in Siena after his capture at the Battle of Montaperti (1260). In 1261 he painted the signed and dated Madonna and Child Enthroned (called the Madonna del Bordone) for the Servite church at Siena, and in 1274 he and his son Salerno painted a Crucifix for Pistoia Cathedral. Both paintings still remain in their original locations. On the basis of these documented works two other outstanding paintings are attributed to Coppo: a Madonna and Child Enthroned in Santa Maria dei Servi in Orvieto, and a Crucifix in the Pinacoteca at San Gimignano.

He introduced new solidity and humanity to the Byzantine tradition, in the way, for example, that he represents the Virgin with her head inclined towards the Child, and with Guido da Siena he ranks as the founder of the Sienese School.

Vigoroso da Siena




Guido of Siena

Guido of Siena, also known as Guido di Graziano, was an Italian Byzantine style painter of the 13th century. He may have made significant advances in the techniques of painting, much as Cimabue much later accomplished. However, there is some debate about this.

Guido is primarily known for a painting which is now split into several pieces. The church of S. Domenico in Siena contains a large painting of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with six angels above. The Benedictine convent of the same city has a triangular pinnacle representing the Saviour in benediction, with two angels. This was once a portion of the same composition, which was originally a triptych. The principal section of this picture has a rhymed Latin inscription, giving the painter's name as Guido de Senis, with the date 1221. However, this may not be genuine, and the date may really read as 1281.

There is nothing particular to distinguish this painting from other work of the same period except that the heads of the Virgin and Child are much superior – in natural character and graceful dignity – to anything painted before Cimabue. As a result, there is some dispute as to whether these heads are really the work of a man who painted in 1221, long before Cimabue. Crowe and Cavalcaselle have proposed that the heads were repainted in the 14th century, perhaps by Ugolino da Siena. If Crowe and Cavalcaselle are right, Cimabue maintains his claim to the advancement of the art.

Beyond this, little is known of Guido da Siena. A picture in the Academy of Siena is attributed to him (a half-figure of the Virgin and Child, with two angels), which dates (probably) between 1250 and 1300. Also in the church of S. Bernardino in the same city is a Madonna dated 1262. Milanesi has proposed that this is by Guido Graziani, although there is no record of Graziani earlier than 1278, when he is mentioned as the painter of a banner. Guido da Siena appears always to have painted on panel, not in fresco on the wall. It is possible that he was a pupil of Pietrolino, and the master of Diotisalvi, Mino da Turrita and Berlinghieri da Lucca.


Guido da Siena, Flagellation, about 1275-1280, Altenburg, Lindenau-Museum

Guido da Siena, Betrayal of Christ, about 1275-1280, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena

Rinaldo da Siena

Rinaldo da Siena, a painter and illuminator, is documented in Siena in 1274 and then again in 1278. He was a follower of the artist Cimabue, who was influenced by contemporary Byzantine painting, and a forerunner of Duccio, celebrated for the expressive emotional character of his work. His few known works include a painted wood crucifix in the Museo Civico, San Gimignano, a manuscript of The Book of the Reign of Princes(Paris, Bibliotheque nàtionale, Paris), a manuscript of Vegezio's Mulomedicina (Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana) and frescoes in the Crypt of Siena Cathedral.  

Rinaldo da Siena, Crocifisso
Rinaldo da Siena, Crocifisso



Master of Badia a Isola


The Master of Badia a Isola was active at the end of the 13th century in the small circle of Duccio di Buoninsegna, and introduced certain important innovations in his work, thanks to contact with the works of Cimabue and of the young Giotto. His name, Master of Badia a Isola, is taken from a depiction of the Madonna and Child that hangs in the Badia dei Santi Salvatore e Cirino in Abbadia a Isola.

This anonymous artist, named after the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Two Angels in SS Salvatore e Cirino, Badia a Isola (nr Monteriggioni, Siena), is a problematic figure. At the one extreme, the Badia a Isola panel and related works have been viewed as early works by Duccio di Buoninsegna; at the other, a much expanded corpus of works for the artist has been proposed (Stubblebine).
The painter of the Badia a Isola panel, a distinct and independent artistic personality, was conservative, blending elements from the tradition of Guido da Siena with the newer style of Duccio. His early work is markedly sculptural and spatially assertive; his later production is less so. The Badia a Isola panel is the most important of the Master's surviving works insofar as it seems to document stylistic features of Sienese art in the 1290s that are less visible elsewhere.

Badia a Isola (Abbadia Isola) is a Romanesque abbey located on the old via Francigena near the walled village of Monteriggioni. Its strange name comes from being build on the only solid piece of land in a large swamp or lake which has since dried out. The Abbey contains some frescos and a famous altar by Taddeo di Bartolo.

A number of critics agree in grouping a Virgin and Child (Siena, Pin. N., 593), a polyptych that once contained a St Paul, a St John the Evangelist and a St Peter (South Hadley, MA, Mount Holyoke Coll. A. Mus.), a St John the Baptist (Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Mus., 608), a Virgin and Child (Utrecht, Catharijneconvent), a Redeemer and four Angels (untraced) and a Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels (Venice, Fond. Cini), but other attributions are widely debated.


Master of Badia a Isola, Maestà

No other city outside Florence produced a comparably great school of painting, culminating in the figures of Duccio di Buoninsegna (active by 1278, died 1318), Simone Martini (active by 1315, died 1344), and the brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti (active 1320–44, 1319–47, respectively). Duccio may be considered the father of Sienese painting and is, together with Giotto, one of the founders of Western art. His paintings introduce a lyrical note and a refined sense of color into European painting, and he was an usurpassed story teller, or narrative artist. Duccio’s early paintings are still strongly indebted to the visual and iconographic traditions we associate with Byzantine art. He was in touch with the two leading Florentine painters, Cimabue and Giotto, and also knew northern Gothic art. Together with Giotto, his later works set the stage for the early Renaissance by endowing figures and objects with a physical and emotional dimension that, in retrospect, made earlier paintings seem mere images.
Although his early work shows a profound debt to Byzantine precedent, after about 1295 or 1300—the date of a Madonna and Child — his paintings show an increasing interest in space and an exploration of human emotions. Just as Giotto's frescoes in the Arena Chapel, Padua, and in the Church of Santa Croce, Florence, forecast Florentine painting for the next two centuries, so Duccio's Maestà became a reference point for all Sienese artists. In it, two strands of European art come together: the otherworldly, sacred art of the Middle Ages, and the human-oriented art of the early Renaissance.
Siena, where most of his works were painted, is dominated even today by its cathedral, a dazzling facade of dark and light stone. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the centerpiece of its interior was a gold and brilliantly colored monumental altarpiece — Duccio's Maestà. Both the fame of the Maestà, which drew large numbers of pilgrims to Siena, and Duccio's influence as a teacher had a long-lived impact on the style of Sienese art. While painters in nearby Florence adopted rounder, more realistic forms, most Sienese artists in the early fourteenth century continued to prefer Duccio's linear and decorative style, which used gold and strong color to create pattern and rhythm.

His works include the Rucellai Madonna (1285) for Santa Maria Novella (now in the Uffizi) and the fabled Maestà (1308–11), his masterpiece, for Siena's cathedral. The centre of the Maestà depicts the Virgin and Child enthroned and surrounded by angels and saints. He also painted a work known as the Stoclet Madonna, the name stemming from its previous ownership by Stoclet in his collection in Brussels. The Madonna, painted on a wooden panel around the year 1300, was purchased in November 2004 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for an estimated sum of 45 million USD, the most expensive purchase ever by the museum. In 2006 James Beck, a scholar at Columbia University, stated that he believes the painting is a nineteenth century forgery; the Metropolitan Museum's curator of European Paintings has disputed Beck's assertion.

Art in Tuscany | Duccio di Buoninsegna


Duccio di Buoninsegna, Maestà, Temptation on the Mount, Tempera on wood, 43 x 46 cm, Frick Collection, New York

Duccio, Madonna of the Franciscans, ca 1280, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

Segna di Bonaventura


Segna di Bonaventura, also known as Segna de Bonaventura, and as Segna di Buonaventura, was an Italian painter of the Sienese School. He was active from about 1298 to 1331. In 1306 he painted a panel for the office of the Biccherna in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. In 1317 he painted an altar panel for the convent of Lecceto (near Siena). In 1319 he repaired a figure of the Virgin in the Palazzo Pubblico. In 1321 he painted a panel for the Palazzo Pubblico. Segna di Bonaventura’s sons Niccolò di Segna and Francesco di Segna di Bonaventura were also painter of the Sienese School.

Like Duccio, Segna di Bonaventura’s paintings are characterized by graceful curvilinear rhythms and subtle blends of colors. The Alte Pinakothek (Munich), the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena are among the public collections having paintings by Segna di Bonaventura.




Segna di Bonaventura, Madonna and Child, 1325-1330
Ugolino di Nero

Ugolino di Nero, also known as Ugolino da Siena, was probably a pupil of Duccio and perhaps his most faithful follower. He is documented in Siena from 1317 to 1327 and appears to have been an important artist with a successful workshop. None of the documents mentions works of art, however, and it has proved difficult to reconstruct his career. His principal surviving documented work, a polyptych from Santa Croce, Florence, dating from 1325-30, is now dispersed.

Ugolino was influenced not just by Giotto, but by other Sienese artists following in Duccio's footsteps, such as Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti. Both of these were linked to the papal court at Avignon, where the Italian style mixed with French Gothic.

The early Italian High Altar by Ugolino di Nerio for Santa Croce, the great Franciscan church of Florence, is well-documented. With at least thirty-five sections in all, this massive altar was painted and erected c. 1325-30. These panels recall Duccio's sense of style and organization, as Ugolino was still working with Byzantine line and colour. The altar was dismantled shortly after 1566 and moved to the church's dormitory. By the 1830s, most of its panel had been sold. Now the surviving panels are scattered among museums and private collections.

Art in Tuscany | Ugolino di Nerio

Ugolino di Nerio, Madonna and Child with a Donor, about 1335, San Casciano Val di Pesa, Santa Maria del Prato
Niccolo di Segna

Niccolò di Segna began his career in the workshop of his father, Segna di Buonaventura.
He followed the style of Duccio with a greater rigidity of the forms. He was also influenced by Simone Martini as seen in the Crucifixion (1345, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena) and in the frescoes attributed to him (S. Colomba a Monteriggioni near Siena).
The Duomo in Sansepolcro contains a gilded polyptych of the Resurrection (14th century), attributed to Niccolo di Segna. The central figure of Christ stands in a pose so similar to Piero della Francesca's Ressurection in the Museo Civico, that many feel della Francesca must have studied this first.

Art in Tuscany |
Niccolò di Segna


Resurrection by Niccolò di Segna
Master of Monte Oliveto

The Master of Monte Oliveto has traditionally been thought of as a close follower of Duccio, and several scholars have suggested that he actually worked for some time in the shop of the great master, placing his years of activity from about 1300 to about 1320. However, most of these observations rely heavily on iconographical comparisons between the Master's and Duccio's works.
The Master of Monte Oliveto, who worked primarily on small objects for personal devotion, such as tabernacles and triptychs (18.117.1) (no large altarpieces are known to have been painted by him). The Master's style is often recognizable by the heavy white highlights he uses to indicate lips, noses, and other facial features. His body of work reveals an artist who probably catered to a largely provincial clientele, which was perhaps less rigorous in its demands for the most up-to-date painterly trends. By attempting to understand his oeuvre this way instead of forcing him into the ranks of Duccio's closest followers, it becomes much easier to understand the chronological arrangement of the Master's paintings. Looked at this way, the Master of Monte Oliveto's work is far closer to that of one of Duccio's earliest and most well-known pupils, Segna di Buonaventura.

Art in Tuscany | Master of Monte Oliveto

Master of Monte Oliveto, Tabernacle Center with the Madonna and Child, Annunciation, Via Crucis, and Christ Mounting the Cross, ca. 1325, Alana Collection, Delaware

Simone Martini developed the lyrical vein in Duccio's art. An artist of incomparable refinement and descriptive abilities, he became one of the most sought-after painters of the day, dying at the papal court in Avignon, France, and famously praised by the great poet Petrarch. The richly tooled surfaces of his paintings and their elegant naturalism became the basis of courtly art from Paris to Prague.
Through Simone the brilliant colors and rich patterns of Sienese art met the graceful and lyrical figures of French manuscript painting, evolving to form the International Style. Its refined and courtly manner dominated the arts across Europe at the end of the Middle Ages. Simone's chief competitors in Siena were the brothers Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti.
Simone Martini was an 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. Giorgio Vasari stated Simone was a pupil of Giotto di Bondone the most famous painter from Florence with whom he went to Rome to paint at old St. Peter's Basilica. Simones 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 Simone Martini died while in the service of the Papal court at Avignon in 1344.

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 fourteenth 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 unsurpassed 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 brother-in-law, Lippo Memmi, sometimes collaborated with him and was an artist of almost equal caliber.

Art in Tuscany | Simone Martini


Simone Martini, Equestrian portrait of Guidoriccio da Fogliano,1328-30, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

Simone Martini, Orvieto Polyptych (detail, the panel with Mary Magdalene),
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Orvieto

Lippo Memmi


Lippo Memmi (c. 1291 – 1356) was an Italian painter from Siena. He was the foremost follower of Simone Martini, who was his brother-in-law. Together with Martini, in 1333 he painted one of the masterworks of the International Gothic, the Annunciation for the Sienese church of Sant'Ansano (now in the Uffizi). He was one of the artists who worked at the Orvieto Cathedral, for which he finished the Madonna dei Raccomandati. Later he followed Martini at the Papal court in Avignon, where he worked until the mid-14th century. After his return to Siena, Memmi executed several works until his death in 1356.

The fresco Maestà in Palazzo Pubblico in San Gimignano, shows the influence of Simone Martini's Maestà painted two years earlier in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.
The paired figures to the left and right were added by Bartolo di Fredi when the fresco was enlarged in 1367. The fresco was repaired along the lower edge in the 1460s by Benozzo Gozzoli, who may have repainted the heads of the two figures to the far right.

Art in Tuscany | Lippo Memmi


Lippo Memmi, Maestà, Palazzo Pubblico,
San Gimignano
Naddo Ceccarelli

Due to lack of historical or written sources, little is known of Naddo Ceccarelli or his work. Knowledge of his existence is based solely on two paintings signed by him, one of which is dated 1347, one year before the devastating plague. His signature also provides information concerning his origin in Siena.

Stylist comparison of the two paintings attributed to Ceccarelli permits the reconstruction of a small oeuvre which places the artist as a direct successor of Simone Martini, one of the grand masters of the Siena School. In 1339 Ceccarelli appears to have accompanied him to the Papal Court in Avignon. Following the death of Simone, Ceccarelli may have returned to Siena.

There is little evidence of the innovations of Lorenzetti or Giotto in his works. Ceccarelli remained true to the Siena painting tradition and its representatives Duccio and Simone Martini, whose soft linear painting style he continued.

Lippo Vanni


Lippo Vanni (Lippo di Vanni) was an Italian painter and illuminator. He is documented as a painter and illuminator in Siena between 1344 and 1375, and in 1360 and 1373 he took part in the General Council of Siena. The earliest work attributed to him is the illumination of the choirbooks for the Collegiata at San Gimignano (c. 1340-42, San Gimignano, Museo Arte Sacra), in which the supple movement and individuality of figures and scenes already show the expressive quality characteristic of Lippo's later documented work.

Lippo Vanni, in 1352, frescoed a large Coronation of the Virgin in the office of the Biccherna

Between 1360 and 1370 Lippo Vanni executed a cycle of fresco paintings for the church of the rural hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago just outside Siena. Painted on the walls and entrance arch of the chancel of this church, the scheme includes narrative scenes from the life of the Virgin, such as the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, the Annunciation, the Betrothal of the Virgin, and the Assumption of the Virgin (over the chancel arch, now badly damaged).

Art in Tuscany | Lippo Vanni
Art in Tuscany | Sienese Biccherna Covers | Biccherne Senesi


The Betrothal of the Virgin, 1360s, fresco, San Leonardo al Lago, Siena
Ambrogio Lorenzetti


Ambrogio Lorenzetti was active between approximately 1317 to 1348. His elder brother was the painter Pietro Lorenzetti.
His work shows the influence of Simone Martini, although more naturalistic. The earliest dated work of the Sienese painter is a Madonna and Child (1319, Museo Diocesano, San Casciano). His presence was documented in Florence up until 1321. He would return there after spending a number of years in Siena.

Unlike Pietro, Ambrogio shows no signs of the influence of Duccio in his painting. He is known to have been in Florence earlier than 1321, and his earliest known painting was found in Florentine territory: dated 1319, it comes from the church of Sant'Angelo at Vico l'Abate, and is now in the Musea di Cestello in Florence. However, the spirit of Giotto visible even in this work does not tend, as in Pietro, to create three-dimensionality by means of strong contrasts of colour and of light and shade, but rather to define the structure of the forms by a precise vigour of outline, and with strong lines surrounding clear and vivid chromatic planes. Even his experiments in perspective, which Ambrogio pursued instinctively and in which he attained some fascinating results, are to be seen in this tension between line and colour.

The frescoes on the walls of the Room of the Nine (Sala dei Nove) or Room of Peace (Sala della Pace) in the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena are one of the masterworks of early renaissance secular painting. The "nine" was the oligarchal assembly of guild and monetary interests that governed the republic. Three walls are painted with frescoes consisting of a large assembly of allegorical figures of virtues in the Allegory of Good Government. In the other two facing panels, Ambrogio weaves panoramic visions of Effects of Good Government on Town and Country, and Allegory of Bad Government and its Effects on Town and Country (also called "Ill-governed Town and Country"). The better preserved "well-governed town and country" is an unrivaled pictorial encyclopedia of incidents in a peaceful medieval "borgo" and countryside.

Art in Tuscany | Ambrogio Lorenzetti
Art in Tuscany | Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government in Palazzo Publico, Siena


Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of Good Government (detail), Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, 1338-40 Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of Good Government (detail), Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, 1338-40

Pietro Lorenzetti


Pietro Lorenzetti was active between approximately 1306 and 1345.
He was born and died in Siena. He was influenced by Giovanni Pisano and Giotto, and worked alongside Simone Martini at Assisi. He and his younger brother, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, helped introduce naturalism into Sienese art. In their artistry and experiments with three-dimensional and spatial arrangements, they foreshadowed the art of the Renaissance.
Many of his religious works are in churches in Siena, Arezzo, and Assisi. One of his last works is the Nativity of the Virgin (1342), now in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. His masterwork is a tempera fresco decoration of the lower church of Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, where he painted a series of large panels depicting Crucifixion, Deposition from the Cross, and Entombment. In these works, massed figures display emotional interactions, unlike many prior depictions which appear to be iconic agglomerations, as if independent figures had been glued on to a surface, with no compelling relationship to one another. The narrative influence of Giotto's frescoes in the Bardi and Peruzzi Chapels in Santa Croce (Florence) and the Arena Chapel (Padua) can be seen in these and other works of the lower church. The Lorenzetti brothers and their contemporary competitor from Florence, Giotto, but also his followers Bernardo Daddi and Maso Di Banco, seeded the Italian pictorial revolution that extracted figures from the gilded ether of Byzantine iconography into pictorial worlds of towns, land, and air. Sienese iconography, generally more mystical and fantastic than that of the more naturalistic Florentines, sometimes resembles a modern surrealist landscape.
The Madonna dei Tramonti is a 1330 Madonna fresco, located in the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi in Assisi. The fresco is accompanied by a frescoed niche containing the liturgical implements.

Art in Tuscany | Pietro Lorenzetti


Pietro Lorenzetti, Madonna dei TramontiPietro Lorenzetti, Madonna dei Tramonti, San Francesco, Assisi

Barna da Siena


Barna (or Berna) da Siena, Italian painter. According to I commentari, written by Lorenzo Ghiberti towards the end of his life, a Sienese painter named Barna painted several works in Tuscany, including many stories from the Old Testament in San Gimignano. Giorgio Vasari, in the first edition of his Vite (1550), listed a number of works by the Sienese painter 'Berna', including frescoed Old Testament scenes in the 'Pieve' of San Gimignano, but in the second edition (1568) he referred only to New Testament scenes in that church, dating them to the very end of Barna's life, apparently to 1381. According to Vasari's brief but vivid life of 'Berna, painter of Siena', the artist was killed in a fall from the scaffolding while painting them.

On the basis of Vasari's second text a fresco cycle of the Infancy and Passion of Christ in the Collegiata of San Gimignano has been traditionally attributed to Barna da Siena, and it has been used as a departure point for attributing panel paintings to the artist. However, according to recent studies, Barna probably never existed, and the San Gimignano frescoes are probably from the 1330s. The pictures formerly attributed to Barna are now scattered among several unidentified masters. It is assumed that some of the San Gimignano frescoes were executed by Simone Martini's associates under the leadership of Lippo Memmi.
The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine is the most beautiful and mysterious of the paintings attributed to Barna da Siena. The design of the painting operates four shifts of scale: from the grand, still figures of Catherine and Christ, to the charming miniaturized scene of the Christ Child standing on the bench between mother and grandmother, to the angels battling with black devils below them, and, tiniest of all, to the embracing warriors who have cast away their swords - probably the joint patrons, whose angelic reconciliation this haunting work commemorates.


The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine, 1340, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Ugolino Lorenzetti, also known as Master of S. Pietro a Ovile or Master of the Ovile Madonna was active between 1320 and 1360.    
Bartolomeo Bulgarini


Bartolomeo Bulgarini, also known as Bartolomeo di Misser Bolgarino or Bolgarini
was active in Siena between 1330s and 1378.

Many of his paintings were attributed by Berenson to an anonymous master he called 'Ugolino-Lorenzetti', because of the artist's obvious indebtedness to the work of Ugolino di Nerio and Pietro Lorenzetti. A group of paintings that partially overlapped with these was attributed by Dewald to an artist he called the Ovile Master, after a painting formerly in S Pietro a Ovile, Siena. In 1931 Meiss recognized that these works formed the oeuvre of a single artist, and in 1936 he identified this figure as Bartolommeo Bulgarini.

At the height of his career Bulgarini painted three great altarpieces for the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala as well as others that are now in the Pinacoteca in Siena. One of the most successful paintings from this period is the Nativity (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts) which unfortunately has been cut away at the sides.The panel was executed for the altar of St Victor in Siena Cathedral. 28 Although its subject is Christ's birth it is Mary who is placed at the center of the composition since Siena Cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin. The Nativity panel was probably flanked by representations that are now in Copenhagen of St Victor and St Corona, his companion in martyrdom. Unfortunately, the lateral panels have been considerably repainted, especially the clothes of the saints. It is possible to identify two predella panels from the altarpiece. These are a Crucifixion (Louvre, Paris) and a Blinding of St Victor (Stadelsches Institut, Frankfurt), both of which demonstrate Pietro Lorenzetti's influence over Bartolomeo Bulgarini.


Bartolomeo Bulgarini, St Catherine, detail, Washington, National Gallery of Art
Bartolo di Fredi


Bartolo di Fredi (c. 1330 – January 26, 1410) was born in Siena. He had a large studio and was one of the most influential painters working in Siena and the surrounding towns in the second half of the fourteenth century. He registered in the Guild of that city in 1355. He had several children, who all died before him, with the exception of Andrea Bartoli. He was the companion of Andrea Vanni from 1353, and helped decorate the Hall of Council at Siena, in 1361. In 1362 he went to San Gimignano, where, by 1356, he had painted the entire side of the left aisle of the Pieve with scenes drawn from the Old Testament. In 1366 the Council of the city of Gimignano ordered a painting, representing Two Monks of the Augustine Order to be placed in the Palazzo Pubblico, in order to commemorate the settlement of some disputes which had long existed between that order and the city. In the early part of 1367 he returned to Siena, and was employed with Giacomo di Mino in the decorations of the cathedral. In 1372 he rose to a position in the government of the city, and was sent to welcome the new Podesta, on his approach to Siena. In 1381 he was himself made a member of the Council, and in 1382 he executed the Descent from the Cross now in the Sacristy of San Francesco, Montalcino. The same church also possesses panels painted by him containing the Baptism of Christ figures of SS. Peter, Paul, and Francis, and five scenes from the life of St. Philip of Montalcino. In 1389, Bartolo, assisted by Luca Thome, painted the altar-piece for the Shoemakers' Company, in the Cathedral, and continued from that year until his death to furnish altar-pieces for the cathedral and other churches of Siena, which have now all disappeared.

His style is marked by the rejection of the concrete figures associated with Pietro Lorenzetti to instead favor flatter decorative otherworldly compositions in the manner of Simone Martini and Duccio. He combined a spirit of fantasy with anecdotal details.

The small panel Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds was one of a polyptych from the life of the Virgin. It was a commission granted to Bartolo di Fredi by the Company of Saint Peter on May 9, 1585, for the Chapel of the Annunciation in the Church of S. Francesco in Montalcino, where the artist had already painted other works. The polyptych has since been broken up, and parts of it can be seen in various museums.
This panel depicts the Nativity and the Adoration of the Shepherds as well as an occasion that took place before these events, when an angel announced the divine birth to the shepherds.
The Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph are in a cave with the swaddled infant lying in a manger. Behind the Madonna are an ox and an ass, and the shepherds kneel in the front. On the right side, on a much smaller scale, is the angel's annunciation to the shepherds. One shepherd covers his face with one hand, thus showing his surprise and fear, whereas the other hand is holding a bagpipe, an obvious reference to pagan bucolic scenes. The angel bringing the news is holding an olive branch, the symbol of peace and celebration. In the upper portion of the painting, angels have emerged halfway out of a cloud and form a semicircle; they are in the act of singing.
As a sign of devotion, the Virgin Mary is represented in a larger scale than the other figures; above the infant are a dove and a star, which serve to illuminate him almost as if they formed the symbolical representation of the Trinity.

Art in Tuscany | Bartolo di Fredi


Bartolo di Fredi, Nativity and Adoration of Shepherds, 1383, Pinacoteca, Vatican

Andrea Vanni


Andrea Vanni (1332-c. 1414) was born in Siena, and in conjunction with Bartolo di Maestro Fredi, began to paint in 1353. As an artist he was a weak imitator of Simone Martini and of Lorenzetti. With his brother Lippo Vanni, Bartolo di Fredi, and Taddeo di Bartolo, he introduced early Sienese art into the fifteenth century.
Many examples exist of his paintings between 1353 and 1414 in Naples and its vicinity. At the chapel of St. Catherine of Siena, in the church of San Domenico, Naples, can be found the remains of a fresco painted by him to commemorate the life of that saint, who was a correspondent and perhaps a relation of his own. A letter from St. Catherine to Vanni survives. About the year 1400, he painted her portrait with scenes from the life of St. James, in a chapel in San Jacomo Interciso, but these works have disappeared. He also decorated three chapels in the cathedral of Siena, finished other work on its facade in 1380, and in 1398 painted an Annunciation for the same building.
His chief authenticated work is a large polyptych in the Church of Santo Stefano at Siena. This painting depicts the Virgin enthroned between Sts. Stephen, James the Less, John the Baptist, and Bartholomew; in the niches above are the figures of the Evangelists, while several saints and an Annunciation are painted in five higher projecting compartments. The small heads and the gestures betray a certain stiffness.

Francesco di Vannuccio

Francesco di Vannuccio (documented 1356–1389; died before 1391) was born in Siena. A small body of work has been ascribed to this painter, characterized by an attention to and love of pattern and decoration, a tradition dating back in Siena to Simone Martini. A signed and dated double-sided processional standard of 1380, painted on one side with the Crucifixion and on the other side with a painted glass depiction of the Virgin Enthroned with Saints, in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin (inv. no. 1062B), has been the basis on which a number of other paintings have been attributed. Most of these are small-scale works, richly finished, which were meant for private devotion, suggesting that Francesco di Vannuccio worked for a discerning and wealthy group of private patrons.
The style of the Berlin Crucifixion suggests a connection with a more overtly expressive area of the Sienese tradition and with the late style of Simone Martini in particular. The beetle-browed and distinctly fleshy faces of Francesco's figures, expressive almost to the point of caricature, may ultimately derive from such models as the mourning women of Simone's Entombment (Berlin, Gemäldegal.) or the figures in the Master of the Codex of St George's panels.

Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio

Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio, also called Giacomo di Mino, appears to be a follower of Simone Martini. He was the contemporary of Lippo Vanni and Luca Thome, being in 1373 appointed to value one of latter's pictures. His name appears in the Sienese records from 1362 to 1389. In 1367 he aided Bartolo di Maestro Fredi at the Siena cathedral. He is known to have painted book-covers for the Biccherna, and was several times a member of the Grand Council of Siena. He frescoed for the Basilica of San Francesco.

Coronation of the Virgin of 1340-1350, typical of the smaller Gothic depictions of the subject
Niccolò di Bonaccorso

Niccolò di Bonaccorso was active between 1372 and 1388.
Little is know about Bonaccorso, except that he may have been from Prato, and painted in the Sienese style.

Niccolo di Ser Sozzo Tegliaccio


Niccolo di Ser Sozzo Tegliaccio was an Italian miniaturist and illuminator of a religious codex. The painter was probably the son of an obscure Sienese illuminator, ser Sozzo di Stefano. The superb illustration of the Assumption of the Virgin in the Caleffo Bianco (a register of state documents in the Siena Archive) and the polyptych of the Virgin and Child with Four Saints (Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale) are signed by Niccol? di ser Sozzo.
Niccolo di Ser Sozzo was born in Siena and active c. the middle of the 14th century, and died in 1363.
His most important work is The Virgin of the Assumption, an illuminated page of the Caleffo dell'Assunta. The illumination, made by Niccolò di Ser Sozzo, a skilled painter having expertise specialised in the production of manuscripts, represents the Virgin of the Assumption with St Thomas receiving the girdle, and Sts Crescenzio, Victor, Savino and Ansano.

First record of him is in Siena were he was listed to be in debt to the city in 1348 and first record of his paintings was not until the 1350s. This includes a polyptych, Virgin and Child with Four Saints, from 1362. This work is also signed by the Sienese artist, Luca di Tommè (active 1356 – 1389), assumed to be a collaborator. Though, the illuminations attributed to the artist are dated much earlier.
In the second half of the fourteenth century there are many instances of well-established Sienese master-painters collaborating on single commissions. It may be that the development was precipitated by the fact that there was not much work to go round and it had to be shared among different painters. But it seems more likely that the reverse was the case and that too much was being demanded of fewer specialist craftworkers. This large altarpiece signed on its lower edge by both Niccolo di Ser Sozzo and Luca di Tommè i n 1362 provides a striking example of such collaboration. Now divested of its original piers, pinnacle panels and predella, the altarpiece was painted probably for the high altar of San Tommaso, a church under the care of the religious order known as the Humiliati. Accordingly, the apostle Thomas is portrayed on the Virgin's right-hand side, a position conventionally understood as that of greatest honour. To his right appears Saint John the Baptist, while Saints Benedict and Stephen appear to the left of the Virgin. The general consensus among art historians is that Niccolò di Ser Sozzo painted the Virgin and Christ Child, Saint Benedict and Saint Stephen while Luca di Tommè painted Saints John the Baptist and Thomas.

In 1363, Tegliacci is noted in the Book of the Arts, (Libro delle Arti), from Siena. Of his full-sized paintings is his Madonna and Child, now in the Uffizi Gallery. In 1919, this latter piece was stolen from the church of Sant’Antonio in Bosco near Poggibonsi, and then given to the Uffizi in 1933. His other known panel painting, perhaps his earliest known, is a Madonna and Child with Two Angels, from the 1350s.

Tegliacci was known for his finely detailed, decorative style, with “fluid forms and subtle, harmonious chromatic effects…, Niccolò’s early illuminations combined Sienese refinement with Florentine concern for modeling and weight.” (Getty Center, Los Angeles) His panel works were not as elaborate in decorative detail, but showed a influence from Simone Martini.


The Virgin of the Assumption, 1336-38
Illuminated manuscript, 43,6 x 30,5 cm
Archivio di Stato, Palazzo Piccolomini, Siena

Luca di Tommè

Luca di Tommè was active between 1356 and 1389 in Siena. He was a colleague of Bartolo di Fredi. Luca di Tommè headed a large, prolific workshop and was an influential contributor to the long legacy of Siena's celebrated artistic style, which flourished in the 1300s and 1400s. He was also active in Sienese government. Luca was probably trained by the Lorenzettis, owners of the most prominent workshop in Siena, whose work was distinguished by solid, three-dimensional forms and emotional depth. He probably learned both fresco and panel painting there, but none of his frescoes survive. Another early influence was likely the delicacy and elegant linearity of Simone Martini's work. In 1356 Luca joined Siena's newly founded painters' guild. He worked almost continuously for the Siena Cathedral. Luca's workshop created mostly altarpieces, and he often collaborated with other artists. His artistic output declined after the 1370s, possibly because his civic duties required more time. His style was marked by a growing facility at expressing emotion, relating figures to their settings by developing spatial depth, and a typically Sienese interest in drapery and ornamentation. Although Luca spent most of his working life in Siena, he also may have accepted commissions elsewhere in Tuscany.

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh [away the sin of the world]. These words, inscribed in Latin on the scroll held by Saint John the Baptist, announce the coming of Christ. Standing against a gold background and enclosed in a Gothic trefoil frame, Saint John wears a hair shirt that represents his ascetic life of prayer and penance. Using carefully curved brushstrokes, Luca di Tommè described the woolly texture of Saint John's shirt and the unruly curliness of his hair and beard. Patterned punch marks form the decorative halo around the saint's head. The Old Testament prophets Elijah and David, who predicted the coming of the Messiah, occupy the upper corners of the frame. This panel was once part of an altarpiece, possibly for a church in Siena.


Luca di Tommè
Italian, Siena, late 1300s
Tempera on panel

Taddeo di Bartolo (1362 or 1363 – August 26, 1422), also known as Taddeo Bartoli, was a painter of the Sienese School during the early Renaissance. He is among the artists profiled in Vasari's Le Vite delle più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori. Vasari claims he is the uncle of Domenico di Bartolo.
Taddeo di Bartolo was born in Siena. His earliest dated work is the polyptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints (1389; private collection), painted for the chapel of S Paolo at Collegarli, near San Miniato al Tedesco. The thin, elegant figures and curvilinear drapery patterns show aspects of Taddeo's early style to be linked with the works of the preceding generation of Sienese painters, and, like his contemporaries, he looked back to earlier models by Simone Martini and the Lorenzetti. Much of his early work was in Pisa, where he was responsible for the frescoes of Paradise and Hell in the Cathedral there, and for paintings in the Palazzo Pubblico and the church of San Francesco.
At the Collegiata di San Gimignano, Taddeo painted a fresco depicting the Last Judgment. A painting by Taddeo of Saint Gimignano holding the town in his lap (c. 1391) may be seen at the Museo Civico there.

A massive triptych, Assumption of the Virgin, painted in 1401, is situated in the 16th century Duomo of Santa Maria dell'Assunta at Montepulciano.

73 years after Lorenzetti completed his works, Taddeo di Bartolo painted the frescoes in the antechapel of the Palazzo Pubblico, from 1413 to 1414. These frescoes are a series of anthropomorphized images of virtues such as Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Magnanimity, surrounded by medallions containing portraits of ‘uomini famosi’, or famous men.

He was a conservative artist, but is noteworthy for his series of frescos on Roman Republican heroes and civic Virtues (1406-14) in the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, which are early examples of a type that became popular in the Renaissance.

Art in Tuscany | Taddeo di Bartolo

Taddeo di Bartolo
Cesar and Pompey, 1414, fresco
Palazzo Publico, Antechapel, Siena
Andrea di Bartolo

Andrea di Bartolo (b. 1360/70, Siena, d. 1428, Siena) was the son of Bartolo di Fredi. He worked on many important commissions with his father (e.g. the Coronation of the Virgin polyptych, Montalcino). Later he secured a number of commissions independently of his father (e.g. St Catherine of Siena, Murano), and passed on his skills to his sons, Giovanni and Ansano. He was influenced by the great Sienese masters of the 14th century, such as Duccio and Simone Martini. He worked with Luca di Tommè.

Andrea di Bartolo ran a reliable workshop and was commissioned in 1394 to turn out a large number of more-or-less identical Virgins of Humility - one for each nun's cell of a newly built Dominican convent in Venice.

Paolo di Giovanni Fei


Paolo di Giovanni Fei (c. 1345 – c. 1411) came to Siena from San Quirico, Castelvecchio, held public positions in Siena from 1369 and was first mentioned in the Sienese register of painters in 1389. His earliest signed and dated work is of 1381. He appears among the documents of the Duomo di Siena, 1395-1410, and is assumed to have died shortly thereafter.

Paolo di Giovanni was influenced by the brothers Pietro Lorenzetti and Ambrogio Lorenzetti and by the Sienese masters Bartolo di Fredi and Simone Martini. His paintings are characterized by their bright clear palette often against a gilded and punched ground, and his wealth of naturalistic and ornamental detail.

Paolo, following in the tradition of Duccio and Simone Martini, used a brilliant palette—note the mosaiclike impression of his strong colors, which range from cool blues to salmony pinks and glassy greens. At the same time, Paolo has infused his scene with an appealing naturalness—legacy from another Sienese master, Pietro Lorenzetti. Paolo concentrates not on the awe-inspiring majesty of the Virgin, but on the human aspects of her story. The young Virgin pauses on the dais. Her expression as she turns a final time toward her parents is tender and rueful—the genuine response of a child.

His artistic personality was first elucidated by Bernard Berenson.

Art in Tuscany | Paolo di Giovanni Fei


Paolo di Giovanni Fei , The Presentation of the Virgin, c. 1400, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni), (c.1340), Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena [2]




Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni)

He as born Piero di Giovanni in Siena. Little is known about his youth years, apart from the fact that he apprenticed in Florence. He was influenced by Giotto and his followers Spinello Aretino and Agnolo Gaddi.

In 1390 joined the Camaldolese monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli. He was thenceforth generally known as Lorenzo Monaco (English: "Lawrence the Monk"). In the 1390s he executed three panels of the Biblioteca Laurenziana for his convent.
Starting from around 1404 his works show the influence of the International Gothic, of Lorenzo Ghiberti's earliest works and of Gherardo Starnina. From this period is the Pietà in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Florence. His works, often over a gilted background, showed in general a spiritual value, and usually did not feature profane elements.
In 1414 he painted the Coronation of the Virgin (now at the Uffizi), characterized by a great number of saints and brilliant colors. In the late part of his life, Lorenzo did not accept the early Renaissance innovations introduced by artists such as Masaccio and Brunelleschi. This is visible in the Adoration of the Magi of 1420-1422, where the now widespread geometrical perspective is totally absent. Lorenzo's works remained popular in the 1420, as testified by the numerous commissions he received, such as the Stories of the Virgin in the Bartolini Salimbeni Chapel of Santa Trinita, one of his few frescoes.

Art in Tuscany | Lorenzo Monaco


Benedetto di Bindo

Benedetto di Bindo (Castiglione di Valdorcia, 1380-85 - Perugia, 1417) may have been a pupil of Paolo di Giovanni Fei and was influenced by Taddeo di Bartolo in his early works. However, the strongest influence on his art was Simone Martini. He is first recorded on 20 November 1409, when he was paid by the Opera del Duomo, Siena. He had overall responsibility for the fresco decoration of the three chapels in the sacristy of Siena Cathedral (1411-1412), one the most prestigious commissions in Siena at that date. There he worked with a group of painters sometimes called the Masters of the Sacristy of Siena Cathedral. His work has a lively narrative style and uses forceful characterization in such scenes as the Apparition of St Michael on Castel S Angelo in the chapel of the Reliquary. Between November 1415 and November 1416 he painted the frescoes in the chapel of SS Catherine and Peter Martyr in S Domenico, Perugia. Other works attributed to him include the fresco of the Assumption of the Virgin (Siena, San Niccolò al Carmine (Santa Maria del Carmine)), the Virgin and Child with SS Andrea and Onofrio (Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale).

Attributed to Benedetto di Bindo - Virgin of Humility (left) and Saint Jerome Translating the Gospel of John (right) - Google Art Project
Benedetto di Bindo, Vergine dell'Umiltà e San Girolamo che traduce il Vangelo di Giovanni, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Domenico di Bartolo


Domenico di Bartolo was born in Asciano. According to Vasari, he was a nephew of Taddeo di Bartolo. He was employed by Vecchietta in the masterpiece fresco The Care of the Sick in the Pellegrinaio (Pilgrim's Hall) of the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala in Siena [1]. It portrays wealthy donors visiting the hospital to men washing the ill, and a fatty friar hearing confession. In 1434, he also painted a fresco panel of Emperor Sigismund Enthroned for the Siena Cathedral.

Domenico di Bartolo's major surviving achievement is his participation in a series of frescoes in the Pellegrinaio, the hall for pilgrims at Siena's Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. The Frescoes have unusual secular subjects, which deal with the charitable, civic, and medical activities of the hospital. The Gothic vaulting of the room determined the arched openings. The settings are sometimes the rooms of the hospital itself. In their naturalism and their wealth of imagery drawn from contemporary life, these frescoes provide remarkable insight into Sienese activities.

Domenico di Bartolo died in Siena around 1445.

Art in Tuscany | Domenico di Bartolo


Care of the Sick (detail), 1441-42, fresco in
Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala, Siena

Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia (1399 or 1407 – 1472) was an Italian painter, working primarily in Siena. His middle name was Harut after his great Armenian grandfather. He may have apprenticed with Taddeo di Bartolo, becoming a prolific painter and illustrator of manuscripts, including Dante's texts.
He was one of the most important painters of the 15th century Sienese school. His early works show the influence of earlier Sienese masters, but his later style was more individual, characterized by cold, harsh colours and elongated forms. His style also took on the influence of International Gothic artists such as Gentile da Fabriano. Many of his works have an unusual dreamlike atmosphere, such as the surrealistic Miracle of St. Nicholas of Tolentino painted about 1455 and now housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while his last works, particularly Last Judgment, Heaven, and Hell from about 1465 and Assumption painted in 1475, both at Pinacoteca, Siena, are grotesque treatments of their lofty subjects. Giovanni's reputation declined after his death but was revived in the 20th century.

Art in Tuscany | Giovanni di Paolo

Giovanni di Paolo, St Jerome Appearing to St Augustine, c. 1456, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Gregorio di Cecco

Gregorio di Cecco (sometimes Gregorio di Cecco da Lucca or Gregorio da Lucca di Cecco) was a painter of the Sienese School during the early Renaissance. He was born in Sienna around 1390 and died before 1424.
In 1418, he was paid for painting a cover for Sienese public records (known as a Biccherna panel). Gregorio di Cecco di Luca was greatly influenced by Taddeo di Bartolo. In 1420, he signed an altarpiece with Taddeo in the Marescotti chapel of the church of Sant’Agostino in Siena. He became Taddeo’s adoptive son and heir in 1422.
In 1421, Gregorio was part of the commission overseeing the construction of the church and loggia of San Paolo in Siena. His only surviving signed work is the ‘Madonna of Humility’ (Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena) dated 1423. The polyptych of the Madonna of Humility with SS Augustine, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul (Siena, Mus. Opera Duomo), signed and dated 1423, was made for Siena Cathedral and is Gregorio's only securely attributed work. Although the figure style and decorative elements owe much to Taddeo di Bartolo, Gregorio's style is more refined, brittle and elegant and his colour more delicate and clear than his master's.

Martino di Bartolomeo

Martino di Bartolomeo or Martino di Bartolomeo di Biago was amanuscript illuminator active between 1389 and 1434. He was one of his generation's principal painters of the Sienese School. From specific aspects of his early style, he is believed to have trained in the studio of Taddeo di Bartolo. As a young man Martino collaborated with Giovanni di Pietro da Napoli in Pisa. The fresco cycle in the church of San Giovanni Battista di Cascina, outside Pisa, bears Martino’s signature, and the date 1398. He returned permanently to Siena in 1405. There he painted several prominent fresco cycles in the Duomo and the Palazzo Pubblico. Further official commissions for altarpieces and for polychromy of sculptures attest to his versatility and to his prestige as one of the city’s official artists.

Martino's early activity as an illuminator of manuscripts is based on Luciano Bellosi's recognition of his hand in the set of choirbooks commissioned for the cathedral of Lucca by its bishop, Niccolò Guinigi, in 1394.

When he contracted with the Collegiata of San Gimignano for the polychromy of the carved wooden Annunciation in 1420, the sculptor, Jacopo della Quercia, stood guarantor. Jacopo's father, Pietro di Angiolo, worked in Martino's shop.

The Master of the Osservanza, also known as the Osservanza Master and as the Master of Osservanza, is the name given to an Italian painter of the Sienese School active about 1430 to 1450.

The Italian scholar, Roberto Longhi, recognized that two triptychs formerly attributed to Stefano di Giovanni (il Sassetta), were the work of another hand, now generally referred to as the Master of the Osservanza Triptych. The Virgin and Child with St. Jerome and St. Ambrose (Basilica dell'Osservanza, Siena) and the Birth of the Virgin (Museo d'Arte Sacra, Asciano) are both stylisticly similar to the work of Stefano di Giovanni, but have a narrative expression that is characteristic of Late Gothic painting.

Longhi observed that another group of paintings was closely related to these works and appeared to be by the same hand. These included the predella of the Osservanza Altarpiece (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena), a predella of St. Bartholomew (Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena), Scenes of the Passion (Vatican Museums, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Fogg Art Museum), the Resurrection (Detroit Institute of Arts), and Scenes from the Life of St. Anthony Abbot (panels in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Museum Wiesbaden, Germany). Additionally, the full-length painting of St. Anthony Abbot in the Louvre appears to be from another altarpiece by the same master.

Art in Tuscany | The Master of the Osservanza


Master of the Osservanza, Birth of the Virgin with other Scenes from her Life, ca. 1428-39, Museo d'Arte Sacra, Asciano
Pietro di Giovanni d'Ambrogio

In a period during which commissions to Sienese painters often demanded adherence to 14th-century precedents, Pietro di Giovanni produced some of the most individual and imaginative solutions, combining local tradition with elements of progressive Florentine style. A member of the Sienese painters' guild in 1428, he had probably trained with Sassetta, whose influence on him was fundamental. Only the last ten years of his brief career are documented.
The Saint Augustin panel belonged to an altarpiece, now dismembered. According to the reconstruction accepted by many scholars, the altarpiece consisted of a Virgin and Child in the centre (Brooklyn Museum, New York), St Augustin (Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg) at the left, and probably St Nicholas (lost) at the right. The three predella panels are the Departure of St Augustin (Staatliche Museen, Berlin), the Entry of Christ to Jerusalem (Pinacoteca Stuard, Parma), and the Birth of St Nicholas (Kunstmuseum, Basel).


Pietro di Giovanni, St Augustin (detail), 1435-40, Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg
Priamo della Quercia

The Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala, one of Europe’s oldest hospitals, is situated in Siena, in front of the Duomo. The current museum complex of Santa Maria della Scala, was one of the first European hospitals expressly built to accommodate pilgrims traveling along the Via Francigena, and support the poor and abandoned children. Many great Sienese artists worked on the arrangement of the hospital, how today testifies the Pellegrinaio, with 15th and 16th century frescoes by Domenico di Bartolo, Lorenzo Vecchietta, Giovanni Raffaele Navesi and Priamo della Quercia).

The iconographic programme was conceived by rector Giovanni di Francesco Buzzichelli (1434–1444), who wanted to mark a significant change in a strongly humanistic sense, creating new compositions governed by a strict perspective, revolutionary for that time. The reference model was no longer based on religious fresco cycles on many registers, but on profane compositions that illustrated mostly cycles of chivalry or in any case, ‘civil’ histories on the walls of the representation halls of private houses or in the halls of the public buildings. This revision according to the Renaissance models was aimed at releasing the subjects of the frescoes from the religious themes and concentrate the attention on the illustration of lay myths of the foundation of the institution or on the realistic representation of the acts and works of piety that marked the daily life of the hospital.
Priamo della Quercia, The Investiture of the Rector by Blessed Agostino Novello (1442).
This episode represents the investiture of the Hospital Rector by Blessed Agostino Novello who died in 1309 and who was traditionally considered to be the author of the first Statute of Santa Maria della Scala, drawn up in 1305. In reality the Hospital had already been electing its Rectors for many years, so this painting is to be considered as purely symbolic and aimed at demonstrating the importance of this famous Blessed Sienese who was linked to the Hospital and who became immediately very popular.
This fresco by Priamo della Quercia, brother of the famous sculptor Jacopo, is one of the few known works by this artist, and it is considered to be the most mediocre of the cycle of the Pellegrinaio (Pilgrims' Hall). The artist in fact tries to adapt his old style to the Renaissance innovations of Domenico di Bartolo and Lorenzo Vecchietta. The scene of the investiture takes place in front of the Cathedral – clearly seen in the background – under a Renaissance Loggia where there is not only the Rector who has been invested with an ample mantle but also another person on the left, richly dressed, who could be either the Emperor Sigismondo who stayed in Siena in 1432 or, more probably the Greek Emperor Giovanni Paleologo, who participated with his followers at the Council of Florence in 1439.

Art in Tuscany | Ospedale di Santa Maria della Scala


Priamo della Quercia, The Investiture of the Rector by Blessed Agostino Novello (1442).
Sano di Pietro

Sano di Pietro (1406–1481) was an early Renaissance painter and miniaturist from Siena. He apprenticed under Sassetta and Giovanni di Paolo. No works by Sano are known before 1443.

Sano di Pietro's paintings are housed in the National Gallery and the Cathedral Museum of Siena, the Pinacoteca Vaticana, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Lindenau Museum of Altenburg and the Diocesan Museum of Pienza.

The panels The Massacre of the Innocents, The Adoration of the Magi, and two others probably formed the predella of an altarpiece, probably that of the "Purification of the Virgin" formerly in the cathedral of Massa Marittima. The pictures, from about 1470, are typical of Sano's popular, conservative approach to painting, appreciated by the Franciscan order.

Art in Tuscany | Sano di Pietro
Art in Tuscany | The Adoration of the Magi
Art in Tuscany | The Massacre of the Innocents


Sano di Pietro, The Massacre of the Innocents, 1470,
Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni)


Known as Sassetta since the 18th century, Stefano di Giovanni was the most important artist in 15th century Siena, where he probably trained with Benedetto di Bindo and where he was inscribed with the guild of painters before 1428. His first documented work was an altarpiece for the Arte della Lana (guild of wool merchants) in 1423-6, while his masterpiece was the double-sided altarpiece for San Francesco, Borgo San Sepolcro 1437-1444.
Sassetta was born in Siena, although there is also an hypothesis that he was born in Cortona. However, the first historical record of him was in Siena in 1423. Di Giovanni was probably the apprentice of Paolo di Giovanni Fei although it is also thought that he may have studied under Benedetto di Bindo. He painted in the semi-archaic Sienese School style of painting. Francesco di Giorgio e di Lorenzo, better known as Vecchietta, is said to have been his apprentice.

His precise artistic parentage is still an unsolved and most difficult problem, although it is evident that he derived some inspiration from Taddeo. In spirit and style, however, he returned rather to his earlier predecessors. Little of his work can be seen in Siena itself, but one of his most important panels is preserved in the convent of the Osservanza,
a short distance from the town.

Art in Tuscany | Sassetta
Art in Tuscany | The Adoration of the Magi


Sassetta, Adoration of the Magi; about 1435, Siena, Chigi-Saracini Collection (Monte dei Paschi)
Lorenzo di Pietro (Vecchietta)


Francesco di Giorgio e di Lorenzo (1412 – June 6, 1480), known as Vecchietta or Lorenzo di Pietro, was an Italian Sienese School painter, sculptor, goldsmith and architect of the Renaissance. 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").

Il Vecchietta - his nickname 'little old one' has so far not been explained - was almost certainly a pupil of Sassetta. However, although enrolled in the Siena painters' guild in 1428, he does not seem to have been active in Siena until 1439 and worked instead for much of his early career as an assistant to Masolino in Rome and then at Castiglione Olona near Milan where he painted a cycle of frescoes for Cardinal Castiglione Branda. These frescoes include a view of the Santo in Padua and it is likely that Vecchietta's personal interest in highly refined and complicated architectural settings - an interest he would pass on to Francesco di Giorgio - was inspired by the archeologically oriented humanism that flourished at that time in Northern Italy, particularly in Padua. Returning to Siena, Vecchietta was entrusted with another ambitious fresco program, this time the decoration of the Pilgrim's Hospice, which he executed during the 1440s.
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 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.

He would go on to enjoy the support of such enlightened patrons as Aeneas Piccolomini (Pope Pius II) and Niccolo Martinozzi but increasingly turned his attentions to sculpture. Like a number of Sienese painters, notably Neroccio de' Landi and Beccafumi, Vecchietta was extremely versatile, succeeding as a sculptor as well as a painter. His extant sculptures, all bronzes, include the famous Resurrection (Frick Collection, New York) and the Risen Christ (S. Maria della Scala, Siena) which is said to have influenced Michelangelo's marble of the same subject in S. Maria Sopra Minerva, Rome.

Art in Tuscany | Vecchietta

Vecchietta, Risen Christ, c. 1476, Bronze, Chiesa dell'Ospedale della Scala, SienaVecchietta, Risen Christ, c. 1476, Bronze, Chiesa dell'Ospedale della Scala, Siena
Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Madonna del Terremoto, detail, 1467, Archivo di Stato, Siena


1451 - 1500

Nicola di Ulisse
Matteo di Giovanni di Bartolo was born in Borgo Sansepolcro around 1430. His family relocated to Siena and he is firmly associated with the art of that ciy.

Documentation concerning the early phases of Matteo's life and career as an artist is scanty and nothing is recorded about his apprenticeship. Left to conjecture, we might imagine him as having been trained in the workshop of sculptor/painter Lorenzo di Pietro, better known as Vecchietta but he clearly was influenced by Stefano di Giovanni, called Sassetta and Domenico di Bartolo. The miniaturist Girolamo da Cremona and the Florentine painter Antonio del Pollaiolo also seemed to have contributed to Matteo's distinctive style. In 1452, Matteo entered into partnership with the painter Giovanni di Pietro, and the two shared living quarters in the San Salvatore neighborhood of Siena in 1453. That Matteo, at this time, is recorded as having colored and gilded a sculpture of the Archangel Gabriel by the celebrated Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia is a reminder of the sort of tasks performed by an artist in the 15th century. Matteo and Giovanni also collaborated in the embellishment of organ shutters in the Siena Cathedral and in the decoration of the San Bernardino Chapel in that cathedral.

That Matteo had succeeded in establishing an artistic reputation is demonstrated by hia selection as one of four Sienese painters who were to furnish altarpieces for the chapels of the cathedral erected as part of the urban renewal of Pienza. For this prestigious commission Matteo painted three altarpieces. Dating to the years 1460-62, these paintings offer a secure point from which to evaluate Matteo's early style and to reconstruct his development as an artist.

The three paintings in Pienza also help to explain the next phase in his style. The first of these altarpieces, a large Madonna and Saints signed "Opus Matthei Johannis De Senis" depicts the enthroned Madonna surrounded by Sts. Catherine, Matthew, Bartholomew, and Lucy. The composition and figure types are reminiscent of those found in [Sano di Pietro]'s paintings while the draperies recall the work of Vecchietta and the St. Catherine type is derived from Domenico di Bartolo. Above this panel, in a lunette, is a flagellation scene, which, with its violent action, twisted but anatomically correct bodies, and volumetric plasticity, shows a familiarity with the progressive Florentine draftsmanship of Pollaiuolo.

Work from Matteo's middle period includes an altarpiece dated to 1477 for the Oratory of Mary of the Snowfall in Siena; the altarpiece of St. Barbara, dated to 1478-79 for Church of San Domenico, Siena; and what is considered Matteo di Giovanni's masterpiece, the Massacre of the Innocents, which is signed and dated 1482.

During his mature period, Matteo began to paint idyllic and naturalistic landscape scenes employing delicate, lyrical colors derived from the Umbrian school of painting. Matteo's brand of eclecticism tended to evolve from local taste and tradition. For this reason it is not surprising to find him producing delicate, sweet panels of the Madonna and Child, such as the panel from the Kress Collection now in the Columbia Museum of Art, depicting the Mother and child with St. Sebastian and St. Catherine of Siena, at almost the same moment that he was painting Judith with the Head of Holofernes(c.1490) now in the Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington and the horrific events of The Massacre of the Innocents.

Matteo di Giovanni died in Siena in 1495.

Art in Tuscany | Matteo di Giovanni


Matteo di Giovanni, Massacre of the Innocents, 1482, The Chapel of our Lady, Ospedale Santa Maria della Scala, Siena

Benvenuto di Giovanni


Benvenuto di Giovanni, also known as Benvenuto di Giovanni di Meo del Guasta (c. 1436 - 1509/1518) was born in Siena and lived and worked there nearly his entire life. Benvenuto di Giovanni is first documented as a young painter in 1453, when he worked alongside Vecchietta, who was probably his teacher, on the fresco decoration of the baptistry of Siena. He painted a number of altarpieces for churches in central Italy and provided the designs for the mosaic floor of Siena Cathedral.
Over the course of 43 years he produced numerous panel paintings, frescoes, and manuscripts. He was married in 1466 to Jacopa di Tommaso da Cetona and had seven children. Despite his productivity, Benvenuto did not find fortune in art. He and his wife bought a vineyard where they both worked. Later he got involved in local politics, serving two terms in public office. He continued in the early 16th century in art, frequently collaborating with his son Girolamo di Benvenuto, who also became a painter.

The Meeting of Jephthah and his Daughter

Jephthah was a great Old Testament (Judges 11:30-40) warrior, who was called upon to lead the Israelites in their war against the Ammonites. On the eve of the battle he made a pact with God, that, in return for victory, he would sacrifice 'the first creature that comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return'. The battle won, 'who should come out to meet him with tambourines and dances but his daughter, and she only a child'.

The painting, probably part of the furnishing of a domestic interior, shows Jephthah daughter and her maidens stepping forward to welcome him on his arrival. Jephthah, on a black horse, clutches his breast in despair. The soldiers wave olive branches to symbolize the peace that will follow their victory.

The attribution to Benvenuto di Giovanni is debated, various other artists including Pietro di Domenico, Francesco di Giorgio and Girolamo di Benvenuto were also suggested.

Art in Tuscany | Benvenuto di Giovanni


Benvenuto di Giovanni, The Meeting of Jephthah and his Daughter
c. 1470, Private collection

Benvenuto di Giovanni, Lamentation, about 1490,
Carlo di Giovanni
Francesco di Giorgio Martini


Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439-1501), who emerges as the key to much of later Quattrocento art, was an Italian painter of the Sienese School and a sculptor, as well as being, in Nikolaus Pevsner's terms, "one of the most interesting later Quattrocento architects'" and a visionary architectural theorist.
As a military engineer he executed architectural designs and sculptural projects and built almost seventy fortifications for the Federico da Montefeltro, Count of Urbino, for whom he was working in the 1460s, building city walls as at Iesi and early examples of star-shaped fortifications.

Born in Siena, he apprenticed as a painter with Vecchietta. His earliest dated works are manuscript illuminations. Mournful eyes, a halting linear flow in drapery and hair, delicately awkward posing of necks and hands, and classically inspired architecture characterize his style.
More sophisticated than his paintings, Francesco's sculpture shows acquaintance with earlier Florentine masters such as Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti, along with his contemporary Antonio del Pollaiuolo.

By the 1480s Francesco was among Italy's leading architects. Working in Urbino for Federigo da Montefeltro by 1477, Francesco served as a diplomat, sculpted bronze reliefs, built 136 military fortresses, and probably completed the ducal palace.
Francesco authored the first important Western writings on military engineering, works keenly studied by Leonardo and others.
Francesco di Giorgio finished his career as architect in charge of the works at the Duomo di Siena, where his bronze angels are on the high altar and some marble floor mosaics are attributed to his designs.
The typical tablet from the Biccherna (revenue office) has a votive subject: the Virgin as intercessor to protect the city against earthquake. The contribution of an anonymous assistant referred to as "Fiduciario de Francesco" is assumed.

Art in Tuscany | Francesco di Giorgio Martini


Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Madonna del Terremoto, 1467, Archivo di Stato, Siena

Neroccio di Bartolomeo de' Landi


Neroccio di Bartolomeo de' Landi (1447–1500) was an Italian painter and sculptor of the early-Renaissance or Quattrocento period in Siena.

He was a student of Vecchietta, and then he shared a workshop with Francesco di Giorgio from 1468. He painted Scenes from the life of St Benedict, now in the Uffizi, probably in collaboration with di Giorgio, and a Madonna and Child between Saint Jerome and Saint Bernard, which is in the Pinacoteca of Siena.
Around the turn of the 1460s and '70s, Neroccio and Francesco di Giorgio created together a new, blonde and ethereal female ideal in Sienese painting, of which this Madonna is an especially beautiful example.
In this composition, a slender and long-necked Virgin holds before her the Child, who looks up at his mother while blessing and supporting himself on the armrest of the throne. The sweeping outline of Mary's gold-edged cloak, sharply delineated against the gold ground, still follows the Ducciesque tradition, but signs of receptivity to the new style can be discerned in every detail of the picture. The vigorous figure of the Child was inspired by the reliefs of Donatello, who spent the last years of his life in Siena.
Regarding the composition, the starting point for Neroccio's work was the Madonna type created by Sano di Pietro at the middle of the century.

In 1472 he painted an Assumption for the abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, and in 1475 he created a statue of Saint Catherine of Siena for the Sienese church dedicated to her.
He separated from di Giorgio in 1475. In 1483, he designed the Hellespontine Sybil for the mosaic pavement of the Cathedral of Siena, and the tomb for the Bishop Tommaso Piccolomini del Testa.

Portrait of a Lady

Unlike other Italian cities such as Florence and Mantua, there are relatively few surviving examples of fifteenth-century portraiture in Siena - a genre that was becoming popular elsewhere. The painting of a young woman, now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, is one that does survive. It is still in a frame that is probably original. The identity of the sitter is unknown but the treatment of the subject is typical of portraits of young women at that date. Adopting a convention derived from Flemish portraiture, it shows her head and shoulders as if from relatively close quarters. Her physical proximity is enhanced by the distant view of a lake or river in the background and the feathery trees that frame her head. The viewer is thus encouraged to examine the features of the young woman in some detail and enjoy the texture and colour of her abundant golden hair and pale skin, the embroidery of her gown and the ropes of pearls and gems round her neck.

The inscription on the lower edge of the painting where the letters OP and NER appear - is interpreted as an abbreviation of 'OPUS NEROCCIO' (the work of Neroccio). The Latin inscription is a testimony to the sitter's beauty.
Reading the two letters in the lower left corner as AP (instead of OP) some critics assume that the sitter is Alessandra Piccolomini, the grandniece of Pope Pius II, AP being her initials.

Art in Tuscany | Neroccio di Bartolomeo de' Landi


Portrait of a Lad, 1480s, Widener Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Portrait of a Lady, detail

Pietro di Francesco degli Orioli

Pietro di Francesco degli Orioli (approx. 1458 – 1496) was an Italian sculptor from Siena. Sienese art of the quattrocento has only recently begun to receive recognition amongst scholars, the city being celebrated primarily for its late medieval masters such as Duccio, Simone Martini, and Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti.

In 1458 the Sienese cardinal Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini was elected as Pope Pius II. The period between this date and the end of the Sienese republic in 1558 saw the development of a unique style of art from the city state, showing tendencies towards some of the more ethereal properties of the golden age of Sienese art rather than the studied realism and veneration of classical aesthetics and principles which drove many artists within the more celebrated centres of Florence, Rome and Venice. The artistic development along the line of more international gothic styles would have meant that these more famous artistic schools would probably have considered contemporary Sienese art somewhat archaeic and unfashionable.

Orioli had a relatively short artistic career (he died aged 37, and was only active independently from 1480), but his work is nonetheless important in the context of Sienese art of the period. He was a pupil of the painter Matteo di Giovannl. He is also known to have worked with the celebrated Francesco di Giorgio, a painter, sculptor and former pupil of probably the most famous Sienese sculptor of the period Il Vecchietta. It is therefore possible to deduce that Orioli was active within a circle of quintessentially Sienese artists.

His first documented work was the 1489 Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles in the Baptistry in Siena. Other important works include "Madonna and Child with Saint Jerome and a Female Saint" c. 1490, a "Nativity" c. 1494-96 and "The Adoration of the Shepherds" dating to the last part of his career.

Stylistically, Orioli's work seems to related be to that of his Florentine contemporary, Botticelli. His painting can similarly be described as 'non-realist'. He uses pale hatching unrelated to the landscape or architecture to reinforce the contours of his figures in a way that is similar to Botticelli's Saint Zenobius panels in the National Gallery, London. Botticelli in fact uses this device later than Orioli, suggesting that either the two knew each other, or Botticelli regarded the Sienese artist very highly.[1]. Orioli's works, though very much a part of his city's artistic school, also show some more Florentine traits. His figures have a characteristically Sienese mystical quality, but also show a careful adherence to the rules of human anatomy and perspective. This can be seen most obviously in his c.1493 work "Sulpitia", a portrait of a Roman woman. This was part of a series of panels, the others being "Judith" by Matteo di Giovanni, "Artemisia" by the Master of the story of Griselda and "Claudia Quinta" by Neroccio di Landi and the Master of the Story of Griselda (all Sienese). Whilst the latter paintings show varying dgrees of success in presenting their characters realistically on painted plinths, Orioli's stands much more believably. Furthermore when seen together Orioli's figure has a dramatic, fulsome quality, with a naturalistic pose compared to the other figures which are demonstrably within the Gothic tradition of awkward, stylised poses.

Orioli was an important artist within an often overlooked school of Italian Renaissance painting. Stylistic he is similar to the contemporaries operating within his home city, as well as being related to the highly celebrated Florentine Botticelli, who he may have influenced. His work differs from that of some of his kinsmen, however, in showing what would have been seen by those outside Siena as a more modern approach. His lack of fame can most likely be attributed to the fact that he appears to have worked chiefly within Siena alone, his premature death at the age of just 37 and the general ignorance of the outside world to Sienese painting in the renaissance.

Sulpicia was chosen in the 3rd century BC from among a hundred women in Rome as the most worthy to dedicate a statue to the goddess Venus Verticordia, protector of women. Before an imaginary view of the city of Rome, Sulpicia holds a model of the temple of the goddess.
The painting is one of eight surviving related panels depicting Roman men and women who exemplified virtuous behavior. The series was probably made to celebrate the marriage in 1493 of Silvio di Bartolomeo Piccolomini (a relative of Pope Pius II) and was intended to provide moral examples for the bridal couple.
The artist's fascination with antiquity is visible not only in the subject matter but also in the classicizing linear gracefulness of the human form and the ornament of the base.


Pietro di Francesco degli Orioli, Sulpicia, ca. 1493-1495, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Guidoccio Cozzarelli

From 1470 to 1483 Guidoccio Cozzarelli trained in the workshop of Matteo di Giovanni, with whom he was associated and with whom he is often confused. Early illuminations for the Antiphonals of Siena Cathedral and a number of securely attributed paintings demonstrate Guidoccio's development of a fine, distinctive style that reflects Tuscan and northern European as well as Sienese influences.
A scene from an Antiphonal depicting a Religious Ceremony (Siena, Bib. Piccolomini), a fragment of an altarpiece depicting the Annunciation and the Journey to Bethlehem (Coral Gables, FL, U. Miami, Lowe A. Mus.) and a cassone panel depicting the Legend of Cloelia (New York, Met.) all combine masses of rusticated and Classical architectural structures into perspective vistas. The dense cityscapes are played off against open sky and landscape, while porticos, gateways and vaulted spaces form the stage on which tactile and sprightly figures re-enact religious drama or ancient legends. In the Baptism of Christ with SS Jerome and Augustine (1470; Sinalunga, S Bernardino) the deep, panoramic landscape and triad of angels suggest Umbrian influences. A connection with Piero della Francesca through Matteo di Giovanni is possible.


Guidoccio Cozzarelli, The Baptism of Christ, 1486


Guidoccio Cozzarelli
Madonna and Child with two Angels
tempera on panel 73x48.5 cm (end of XV century)

Provenance: from the parish church of San Giovanni Battista in Corsano (Monteroni d'Arbia)


The Virgin guiding “the ship of the Republic”

The panel refers to the return to Siena of the magistracy of the Nine lead by Pandolfo Petrucci, who later became Siena’s ruler, as a welcome change occurred under the Virgin’s protection. Traditionally attributed to Guidoccio Cozzarelli it is presented at the National Gallery exhibition in London as a work of Guidoccio’s master Matteo di Giovanni.

Art in Tuscany | Sienese Biccherna Covers | Biccherne Senesi


Guidoccio Cozzarelli
The Virgin guiding “the ship of the Republic”. Siena, archivio di Stato, Museo delle tavolette di Biccherna
Bernardino Fungai


Bernardino Fungai (1460–1516) is thought to have studied under local painters in his native city of Siena, despite very little being known of his career. His paintings evince an influence from local Sienese painters and also Pietro Perugino. In 1482, he worked on frescoes for the cupola in the Siena Cathedral. Fungai was commissioned in 1494 to decorate ceremonial banners with azure and gold. He also created an altarpiece in 1512 for a Sienese church.

In a typically Sienese manner, Bernardino Fungai mingled elements of Gothic art — a tooled gold background —with the new Renaissance ideas of three-dimensionality. Fungai presented the hermit saints in three-quarter view to display his knowledge of the new concept of foreshortening, yet he retained a typically Sienese interest in decorative patterning, as seen in the Virgin's elaborate drapery. He tilted Christ's painted halo in perspective, but he incised those of the saints and the Virgin into the background. Fungai also effectively employed the characteristic linear harmonies of Sienese art in the gentle contours of the docile Virgin's mantle, the subtle scallops of her white headgear, the fluttery end of Christ's transparent drapery, and the saints' wavy beards.

The Getty Museum, Biography of Fungai


Bernardino Fungai, Madonna and Angels adoring the Infant Jesus, Pienza, Museo Diocesano

Pellegrino di Mariano


Ten years later Pellegrino di Mariano executed the painting now in the Victoria and Albert.

Andrea di Niccolò


The Union of the classes and the Offering of the keys of the city to the Madonna delle Grazie, made perhaps by Andrea di Niccolò in 1483. This board is important also because testifies the original location of the Maestà made by Duccio di Buoninsegna in 1311 in the Cathedral, that is to say, in the altar. Nowadays you can see this masterpiece at the Museo dell'Opera Metropolitana.

In The Slaughter of the Innocents (lunette) and The Madonna and Child with the Saints Bernardine, Peter, Sebastian and Sigismondo in Casole d'Elsa, Andrea di Niccolò embraces the technique derived from Vecchietta through Renaissance standards (the cloister's articulate architecture in an elaborate perspective construction) and the convulsive dramatization of the slaughter influenced by Matteo di Giovanni.

Art in Tuscany | Sienese Biccherna Covers | Biccherne Senesi




Andrea di Niccolò (?), L'unione delle classi e l'offerta delle chiavi della città alla Virgine

The Slaughter of the Innocents (lunette); The Madonna and Child with the Saints Bernardine, Peter, Sebastian and Sigismondo
tempera on panel 290x216 cm (Signed and dated 1498)
Casole d'Elsa, Collegiate church of Santa Maria Assunta

Pietro di Domenico


Pietro di Domenico was a minor Sienese painter, and his works reflect the dominant pictorial styles of the era, especially showing the influence of Bernardino Fungai, Matteo di Giovanni, Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Neroccio de' Landi. The impact of Luca Signorelli and Bernardino Pinturicchio, both of whom worked in Siena for a time, is evident in Pietro's interest in landscape and the distribution in space of firmly modelled figures. A small body of attributed works has grown up around his one signed work, an Adoration of the Shepherds with SS Martin and Galganus (Siena; Pin. N.). Given the large number of motifs juxtaposed by the artist in this painting and the lack of any other documentation, such attributions should be treated with caution.


Girolamo di Benvenuto


Girolamo di Benvenuto was the son and student of Benvenuto di Giovanni. He produced frescoes and panel paintings, often collaborating with his father. He asserted himself as an independent painter on 1498, completing the Assumption now on display in the museum at Montalcino. His secular work is particularly important, especially his birth trays (Hercules at the Crossroad, Galleria Franchetti, Ca' d'Oro, Venice).
This portrait, one of Girolamo's finest paintings, is among the few in which his individual style can be distinguished. While in his father's workshop, Girolamo — like other assistants — would have suppressed his own style in favor of the master's.

The young woman's crisp silhouette, which creates a decorative, almost abstract play against the flat background, would have been familiar to patrons of Benvenuto. But other aspects of Girolamo's picture depart from his father's style — and from long-standing Sienese tradition. Compare, for example, its warm palette and dark colors with the brighter tones of other paintings here.

Girolamo's pursuit of his father's trade was not unusual. Artists' sons were encouraged to enter their fathers' shops, as were the sons of all craftsmen. It eliminated the need to pay apprentice wages and, in many cities, saved on guild fees, as sons were assessed lower admission. Sons might be expected to display some talent—but this was not necessarily a requirement. Long training produced skilled artisans perfectly capable of meeting clients' demands. Most Renaissance painters and sculptors were from tradesmen's families of one kind or another, if not artists, then related occupations like dyers or masons. A few came from noble families, Neroccio de' Landi for instance. Fewer still were sons of peasants.




Girolamo di Benvenuto, Portrait of a Young Woman, c. 1508
Samuel H. Kress Collection

Giacomo Pacchiarotti


Giacomo Pacchiarotti, sometimes seen as Pacchiarotto (1474 – 1539 or 1540) was born in Siena, and worked there. Bernardino Fungai may have been his teacher. Pacchiarotti's style is influenced by Fungai, as well as Matteo di Giovanni, Perugino, and Signorelli.
A number of his paintings are in Siena.
He is recorded as having been a designer for pageants, and was active in the Sienese resistance against Florence.
Often characterized as an imitator of 15th-century models, he is more significant for his synthesis of High Renaissance tendencies into a distinctly Sienese pattern of eclecticism. His linear definition, sculptural figures, self-conscious displays of perspective and harmony of design exemplify the stylistic background against which Beccafumi’s Mannerism was formed. Pacchiarotti is also documented as a designer of pageants and was active in the resistance against Florence.One of his most important works is a tempera on panel representing the Madonna and Child with Saints, now in the Church of St. Margaret and Matthew in Ortignano Raggiolo, in the province of Arezzo. Other works include the Visitation with SS Michael and Francis (c. 1510, Siena, Pin. N.) and the Ascension (1530, Siena, Pin. N.), the Virgin and Child with Saints (1520, Casole d’Elsa, Pal. Com.) and the decorations executed between 1507 and 1514 for the Cappella Piccolomini, S Francesco, Siena (destr.).

Girolamo del Pacchia


Even though Giorgio Vasari mentioned Girolamo del Pacchia in his Lives of the Artists, scholars have only recently begun to separate Pacchia's work from that of his teacher Giacomo Pacchiarotti. Pacchia actually took Pacchiarotti's name, which has contributed to the confusion.
Pacchia was the son of a metalsmith who specialized in weapons. By 1502 he and Pacchiarotti were Pinturicchio's assistants, decorating the ceiling of a library in Siena's cathedral.
Throughout his career, Pacchia absorbed the influences of many painters. Along with many other Sienese artists, he adopted Perugino's classicizing style around 1510, when Perugino was painting frescoes in a chapel there. In 1518 Pacchia was painting frescoes for a church, under Domenico Beccafumi's supervision. Those frescoes reveal a thicker, softer impasto, with softer, more velvety effects than his earlier, more hard-edged works. Pacchia's style changed little during the remaining years of his career

In the Rape of the Sabines Girolamo del Pacchia created a complex panorama to fill this long and narrow panel, whose dimensions reflect its original function as part of a marriage chest, or cassone, containing a bride's household linens. Inspired by Domenico Beccafumi, Girolamo employed delicate color and the traditional Sienese grace of line to beautify the violent subject. The intertwined limbs and intense emotion conveyed by exaggerated gestures reflect Mannerist ideals, Girolamo added the rounded forms and drama of Raphael's Roman decorations.

Artists often painted the rape of the Sabines, an important incident in the legendary history of Rome. After founding Rome, Romulus solved the problem of a lack of women by inviting the Sabines, an ancient Italian people, to a festival. During the celebrations, the young Romans drove away the men and carried off the women.


Girolamo del Pacchia, Rape of the Sabines, Siena, about 1520
Domenico Beccafumi


Beccafumi, Domenico (1486-1551), who worked in Siena, is among the founders, some would argue the first, of Tuscan Mannerism alongside both Rosso and Pontormo, from Florence. His use of light and the soft contours and shapes of his figures long influenced other later painters across Italy.
Originally named Domenico di Pace, and also called Il Mecherino, he took the name Beccafumi from his patron, a wealthy Sienese who sent him to study in Siena and Rome. he was, with Parmigianino, the most interesting of the non-Florentine Mannerist painters, and the last of the great Sienese. A member of the High Renaissance generation, his years in Rome (1510-12) saw the painting of Raphael's Stanze and Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling, both of which influenced him. In such works as the St Catherine Receiving the Stigmata (c. 1515, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena) he appears also to have been affected by Fra Bartolomeo, whose work was known in Siena. Soon after his return to Siena in 1513 his highly personal style displays characteristics usually associated with the Mannerism of the following decade. His use of strong effects of perspective and contapposto, his intensity of emotion, and his use of subtle, shot colour, as well as of lurid effects of light, are all stylistic features of central Italian painting of the 1530s and 1540s, which he probably knew as a result of the dispersal of Roman artists after the Sack of 1527.

Beccafumi designed 35 splendid mosaics from 1517 to 1546 for the pavement in Siena Cathedral, each mosaic depicting a different Old Testament scene. Beccafumi's best-known paintings are the ceiling frescoes of the Palazzo Publico in Siena and an altarpiece in the same building. Most of his best works, such as the Birth of the Virgin (c. 1543) are in Siena.

Art in Tuscany | Domenico Beccafumi in Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Domenico Beccafumi, The Reconciliation of Marcus Emilius Lepidus and Fulvius Flaccus (1529-35), fresco in Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

Il Sodoma (Giovanni Antonio Bazzi)


Il Sodoma (1477 – February 14, 1549) was the name given to the Italian Mannerist painter Giovanni Antonio Bazzi[1]. Il Sodoma painted in a manner that superimposed the High Renaissance style of early 16th-century Rome onto the traditions of the provincial Sienese school.

His work bridges the High Renaissance and Mannerist styles. He was active chiefly in and around Siena, where he settled in 1501. Vasari, who disliked him, explains the origin of his nickname - 'the sodomite' - in this fashion: 'His manner of life was licentious and dishonourable, and as he always boys and beardless youths about him of whom he was inordinately fond, this earned him the nickname of Sodoma; but instead of feeling shame, he gloried in it, writing stanzas and verses on it, singing them to the accompaniment of the lute.' (Sodoma, who was married and had children) himself used the name in his signature, and Vasari's story has been questioned. Vasari also tells us that Sodoma kept a menagerie of strange animals 'so that his home resembled a veritable Noah's ark.'
He was a prolific painter of frescos and easel pictures, and he drew on a variety of sources that were not always fully digested; consequently his work often has incongruous juxtapositions and a general air of uncoordination, but it also possesses charm and a flair for decoration. His fresco of the Marriage of Alexander and Roxane (1516-17), painted for the Sienese banker Agostino Chigi, is often cited as his finest work. In his time Sodoma was considered the leading artist in Siena, but later critics have come to rank Beccafumi above him.
He spent the bulk of his professional life in Siena, with two periods in Rome.

Art in Tuscany | Il Sodoma


Il Sodoma, One of the seventeen frescoes in the Benedictine monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Riccio Sanese (Bartolomeo Neroni)





Francesco Vanni

Francesco Vanni (1563–1610) was an Italian painter of the Mannerist style, active in Rome and his native city of Siena.
He was half-brother of the painter Ventura Salimbeni, and the stepson of Arcangelo Salimbeni, another Sienese painter. His stepfather died when Francesco was young, and as a 16 year old went first to Bologna, then to Rome. There he apprenticed with Giovanni de' Vecchi during 1579-80, though like other Tuscan painters of his day, he was influenced in part by Federico Barocci from Urbino, and he was among the last painters who also reflected the influence of the Sienese School of painting. He was named a Cavalieri.
In Rome, he worked later with Salimbeni, Bartolomeo Passerotti, and Andrea Lilio. He was commissioned by Pope Clement VIII to painted an altarpiece for the St. Peter's, later transferred to mosaic, Simon Magus rebuked by St. Peter. He painted several other pictures for Roman churches; including St. Michael defeats rebel angels for the sacristy of S. Gregorio; a Pietà for Santa Maria in Vallicella; and the Assumption for S. Lorenzo in Miranda.
Returning to Siena, where he ultimately died, he afterwards worked at Parma, Bologna, and again at Rome. At Siena, he painted a S. Raimondo walking on the Sea for the church of the Dominicans. Vanni painted a Baptism of Constantine (1586-7) for the church of San Agostino in Siena. He painted a Christ appearing to St. Catherine for the chapel of il Refugio at the Santuario Cateriniano of Siena, and a Baptism (1587) for the former church of San Giovannino e Gennaro. He painted an Immaculate Conception (1588) for the Montalcino Cathedral and an Annunciation (1589) for the church of Santa Maria dei Servi in Siena. One of his pupils was Rutilio Manetti.
His sons, Michelangelo and Raffaello Vanni were also painters. The painter Francesco di Vanni was active in the 14th century.

Immacolata Concezione con Gesł e Dio Padre, 1588, Francesco Vanni
Francesco Vanni, Immaculate Conception with Jesus and God the Father, 1588

Ventura di Archangelo Salimbeni


Ventura di Archangelo Salimbeni (also later called Bevilacqua; 20 January 1568 - 1613) was an Italian Mannerist painter and printmaker and among the last representatives of a style influenced by the earlier Sienese School of Quattrocento-Renaissance.
Salimbeni was born in Siena. He studied painting, together with his half-brother Francesco Vanni, under their father Arcangelo Salimbeni in his native Siena,
He possibly spent some time,in Northern Italy and then moved to Rome in 1588 to work, together with others, on the fresco painting of the Vatican Library under pope Sixtus V.
During 1590-1591, he got a commission by Cardinal Bonifazio Bevilacqua Aldobrandini for paintings in the Roman Jesuit Church of the Gesù and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. These paintings show the influence of the Mannerist Cavalier D'Arpino and Andrea Lillio.
Salimbeni returned to Siena in 1595. Here he became one of the last leaders of the Mannerist school, in this period between Mannerism and Baroque. He was here influenced by Federico Barocci as can be seen in the draperies, highlighted with abrupt changes of light and flickering surfaces, of his painting "Birth of a Virgin" in the San Domenico church in Ferrara (1607-1608).
He completed painting cycles (1595-1602) for Sienese churches such as the oratory in the Santa Trinità. He is known for detailed preparatory drawings, most of which are now in the Uffizi in Florence or the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. He started around 1600 painting the scenes from the "Life of St. Hyacinth" for the Sienese church of Santo Spirito. These paintings show the awkward perspective of the style of the Sienese Mannerist painter Beccafumi in the backdrop of buildings and landscape. In Siena, Salimbeni completed several painting cycles for the church of Santo Spirito. He continued to create paintings for churches throughout Italy, including Florence. At the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata di Firenze, he frescoed lunettes (1605-1608) illustrating events in the history of the Servite Order. In the Duomo di San Salvatore, he executed a magnificent John the Baptist.
At about the same time, around 1600, he got an assignment in Assisi for a fresco of the "Resurrection of Christ" and the "Dying Saint Clare is visited by the pope" in the vault of chapel of San Massimo in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Salimbeni got in 1603 the commission to paint frescoes with scenes from the church's patron saints in the church of Quirico and Giulitta, one of the oldest churches in Siena. As in the church of Santa Trinità, he worked here alongside with the painter Alessandro Casolari.
This was a period on non-stop new assignments : three paintings for the church San Lorenzo in San Pietro in Montalcino, the "Donation of the Keys" (1599), the "Disputa of the Eucharist" (1600) and the "Crucifixion" (1604).
At the same time he was painting the "Vision of Gregory the great" and the "Punishment of David" in the Basilica of San Pietro in Perugia. The papal legate, cardinal Bonifazio Bevilacqua (1571-1627), who had commissioned these paintings, was so pleased that he invested Ventura Salimbeni with the Order of the Golden Spur, a very selective papal order. He was even authorized from now on to name himself Cavalieri Bevilacqua. He painted the canvas of the Ascension of the Virgin (1607) for San Frediano in Pisa.
In 1612 he painted the "Life of Saint Galganus" for the Chiesa del Santuccio in Siena with the hermit saint set in a wooded landscape.
His last work of art was the oil painting the "Marriage of the Virgin" for the Seminario diocesano in Foligno in 1613.

He was influenced by Federico Barocci, Domenico Beccafumi and by the rich and harmonious palette of Lodovico Cigoli. Among his pupils was Alessandro Casolani.

In the period between 1589 and 1594 he also made in Rome some etchings, of which seven survive. They are among the finest Italian prints of the period. The earliest dated, and the largest, is the Baptism of Christ of 1589, which he produced in collaboration with the more experienced Ambrogio Brambilla.


Rutilio Manetti


Rutilio di Lorenzo Manetti (c. 1571 – 22 July 1639) was an Italian painter of late-Mannerism or proto-Baroque, active mainly in Siena. He was influenced and/or taught by the local artists Francesco Vanni and Ventura Salimbeni. He is known to have collaborated with Raffaele Vanni, the son of Francesco. He is known for the following works in Siena or nearby towns: Story of St Catherine and Pope Gregory (1597; Palazzo Pubblico), Baptism of Christ (1600; San Giovannino in Pantaneto); a fresco cycle of the Story of St Roch (1605–1610; San Rocco alla Lupa), Pope Alexander I freed from prison by an Angel from San Giovanni Battista in Sant'Ansano in Greti; a Temptation of Saint Anthony (1620, Sant'Agostino), a Death of Blessed Antonino Patrizi (Monticiano, 1616), a Blessed Domenico dal Pozzo at the table now in Certosa of Florence, a Birth of Virgin (1625, Church of Santa Maria dei Servi), and a painting (1628, Church of San Domenico). He painted a remarkable Allegory of the four seasons and a Parable of the blind men, now in private collections. He also contributed to the Casino Mediceo.

His style moved from one derived from Barocci to a more Caravaggesque manner after the first decade of the 17th century. Whether this change was mediated by local painters from Siena and Florence, or from direct visits to Rome, is unclear. Among his masterpieces are his contributions to the Casino Mediceo, which he worked alongsinde Matteo Rosselli, Giovanni Lanfranco, and Cesare Dandini.



[1] The 13th century was arguably the darkest period of Italian history, marked by bloody struggles between rival political factions. The 15th century (the so-called Age of Warlords) was likewise replete with unscrupulous Italian despots who ruled with a refined cruelty, from Giangaleazzo Visconti to Cesare Borgia, but at least it was also a time of great creative achievement — the Renaissance.
That there was a Renaissance in Siena is clear; and something of the city’s own self-assurance and arrogance can be glimpsed in the lives of some of its more famous inhabitants — Pope Pius II, St Catherine (1347-80 to c.1461), and St Bernardino, who was born in the year she died, and was canonised in 1450, only six years after his death. Siena was not backward-looking, as so often alleged. Its artistic growth was sufficient to attract the likes of Donatello, Signorelli, Pintoricchio, and, in his wake, even Rafaello, who came to work with him on the Piccolomini Library frescoes in 1503.
The 13th century was generally a time of unmitigated violence. Entire families were expunged in escalating blood feuds. The tragedy of Romeo Montecchi and Juliet Capuleti (made famous by William Shakespeare's play in 1595) took place in that time.
The year 1198 saw the beginning of two political parties–the Guelphs and Ghibellines. (The Montecchis were Ghibellines; the Capuletis were Guelphs.) The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions at least nominally supporting the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire respectively in Italy during the 12th and 13th centuries; in practice, the divide between these factions often had more to do with local rivalries than with the hostility between papacy and empire. In the middle of the 13th century, the Guelphs held sway in Florence whilst the Ghibellines controlled Siena. The Sienese reached the peak of political success on Sept. 4, 1260, when their army crushed the Florentines at the Battle of Montaperti. The city faced down an attack by 40,000 of their northern enemies and, thanks to the intercession of the “Queen and Empress of Life Eternal”, defeated the Florentine and Guelph armies at Montaperti. Thereafter, Siena was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Three centuries later, in 1555, the proudly independent republic of Siena was absorbed into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. To this day, the palio is still raced twice a year, as a defiant reminder of an earlier golden age; and the football cry takes up the same theme.
But, for that 300-year period, the artistic, musical, and spiritual life of the city grew with a confidence and integrity of its own which was overlooked thereafter by almost all commentators raised in the Vasari school of Italian art history; for Giorgio Vasari was a Florentine, and his influential Lives of the Artists took no foreign hostages. He treated Sodoma’s work with distaste, and provided only brief biographies of Vecchietta and Francesco di Giorgio, although he did give considered approval to both Beccafumi and Baldassare Peruzzi. In all five contemporary lives, the reader was meant to understand that Florentine art was Tuscan art, and obligingly critics, apart from Bernard Berenson and John Pope-Hennessy, have swallowed this.

[2] The city here has been identified as Talamone, Siena's nearest port. The panel , City by the Sea is also ascribed to another Sienese painter, Ambrogio Lorenzetti who was working almost a century earlier.
Machtelt Israels ed., Sassetta: The Borgo San Sepolcro Altarpiece, Primavera Press/Villa I Tatti: Leiden/Florence, 2009)
Avraham Ronen, A Detail or a Whole? A Reconsideration of the Two So-Called Lorenzetti Landscapes in the Pinacoteca of Siena, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, 10. Bd., H. 4 (Feb., 1963), pp. 286-294.


Renaissance in terre di Siena |

Machtelt Israels, ABSENCE AND RESEMBLANCE | Early Images of Bernardino da Siena and the Issue of Portraiture (With a New Proposal for Sassetta) | (pdf)

Timothy Hyman, Sienese Painting, Thames & Hudson, 2003

The Kress Collection encompasses more than 3,000 works of European art, and is distinguished for its abundance of Italian Renaissance paintings. The Collection was donated to scores of regional and academic art museums throughout the United States between 1929 and 1961, with the single largest donation reserved for the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
The collection’s greatest distinction lies in the extraordinary abundance of its Italian pieces – more than 1,000 Italian paintings, 500 period frames, 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes, and representative sculpture, drawings, and furniture. Many of the greatest Italian artists – Cimabue, Duccio, Giotto, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Verrocchio, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Pontormo, Correggio, Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Titian, Lotto, Tintoretto, Veronese, Carracci, Bernini, Strozzi, Tiepolo, Guardi, Canaletto, and Bellotto – appear in the Kress Collection, as do numerous fine works by less familiar masters.

Browse the Collection

Painting in Siena in the 14th and Early 15th Centuries | National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Byzantine Art and Painting in Italy during the 1200s and 1300s | National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Diana Norman, Painting in late medieval and Renaissance Siena (1260-1555). New Haven, USA: Yale University Press, 2003.

Luke Syson (Author), Alessandro Angelini (Author), Philippa Jackson (Author), Mr. Fabrizio Nevola (Author), Carol Plazzotta (Author), Renaissance Siena: Art for a City, National Gallery London, 2008

Art in Tuscany | Sienese Biccherna Covers | Biccherne Senesi
Painted biccherna tablets, were originally book covers of the ledgers of the biccherna and gabella, the financial and fiscal offices of the commune of Siena.
Almost all the Sienese Renaissance artists ventured on painting the wooden panels, precious like miniatures and very often characterized by the representation of the main events of Sienese history. Sano di Pietro was commissioned more than once to celebrate contemporary people and their noble achievements (in 1457, in 1471, in 1473); Vecchietta depicted the Coronation of Pope Pius II Piccolomini in the biccherna of 1460; Francesco di Giorgio recalled the earthquake in the biccherna of 1467; Neroccio was entrusted with the Intercession of the Virgin Mary to Jesus for the town of Siena and Guidoccio Cozzarelli depicted the scene of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, so skillfully that considering he was confined to the small surface of the tablet the result is with no doubt equal to any of his altarpieces.

From Siena to Florence, the Italian Primitives. Altenburg Collection | Jacquemart-Andre Museum, Paris
Considered to be one of the largest collections of Italian Primitives outside Italy, the exceptional works collected during the 19th century by Bernard von Lindenau were to be shown for the first time in Paris, from 11 March to 21 June 2009, at the Jacquemart-André Museum.
This Altenburh Museum collection of masterpieces by the Italian Primitives was acquired early in the 19th century by the German baron Bernard von Lindenau (1779-1854). An eminent politician, art enthusiast and philanthropist, Bernard von Lindenau opened a vast, classical-style house in his native town of Altenburg, south of Dresden, in 1848 in order to exhibit his collections of works of art and to encourage wider access to culture “for the education of the young and the pleasure of the old”.
With German reunification and the end of the Communist regime, western researchers were once again able to access this unique, forgotten collection. The exceptional value of this collection was then reinforced by the organisation of two big exhibitions in Italy.


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Hugh Chisholm, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Sienese School and other Wikipedia articles and is published under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Wikimedia Commons | Sienese School of painting

Villa is Tuscany

Case Vacanze Toscana | Artist and Writer's Residency | Podere Santa Pia


Wine regions
Podere Santa Pia

Villa La Foce
In the background Monte Amiata

Siena, duomo
Siena, Piazza del Campo


The history of Siena has been made on the Piazza del Campo, or better, 'il Campo', as the Sienese call it. Here the Sienese organised their spectacular and terrible 'games', later replaced by the Palio, where they celebrated and played games of risk (il Campo was the only place where the games were allowed). The market also used to take place here. Il Campo has witnessed the passage of memorable characters in the history of Siena: Santa Caterina, the mystic saint deeply linked to the image of Siena, and also artists such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini or Jacopo della Quercia.
Piazza del Campo is a unique place in the whole of the world, starting with the very particular conformation of the ground, which turns the square into a big concave shell. The paving is made of red bricks arranged in fishbone style, divided into a sunburst pattern by nine strips of travertine (in memory of the Government of the Nine, who ruled over the city from 1292 to 1355). The white marble of the Fonte Gaia stands out on the paving, it is the masterpiece of 1419 by Jacopo della Quercia, later replaced by a copy. There is also the Palazzo Comunale (town hall), unusually built on the lowest part of the square, and also the tall, slender Torre del Mangia that stands out against the sky (it reaches 102 metres including the lightning conductor). At the base of the Palazzo is the Chapel of the Virgin, or Chapel of the Square, constructed and voted for by the Sienese, after the end of the terrible plague of 1348. And surrounding the chapel are the elegant façades of the Palazzi Signorili, belonging to the wealthiest of families: the Sansedoni, the Piccolomini, and the Saracini.

The Maremma | Arcidosso | Campagnatico | Capalbio | Castel del Piano | Castell'Azzara | Castiglione della Pescaia | Cinigiano | Civitella | Follonica | Gavorrano - Castel di Pietra - Pia dei Tolomei | Giardino dei Tarocchi - Niki de Saint Phalle | Grosseto | Isola del Giglio | Istia d'Ombrone | Magliano in Toscana | Monticiano | Marina di Albarese | Massa Marittima | Montecristo | Montelaterone | Montemerano | Montichiello | Montenero - Montegiovi | Orvieto | Paganico | Parco naturale della Maremma | Monticello | Pitigliano | Porrona | Porto Ercole | Punta Ala | Principina a mare | Roccalbegna | Roccastrada | Rosselle | San Galgano | Saturnia | Scansano | Scarlino | Seggiano | Semproniano | Sorano | Sovana | Talamone | Vetulonia