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Sienese School

The Sienese School of painting flourished in Siena, Italy, between the 13th and 15th centuries. Its most important artists include Duccio, whose work shows Byzantine influence, his pupil Simone Martini, the brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Domenico and Taddeo di Bartolo, Sassetta, and Matteo di Giovanni.

Although it was more conservative, being inclined towards the decorative beauty and elegant grace of late Gothic art 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 In the 16th century the Mannerists Beccafumi and Il Sodoma worked there While Baldassare Peruzzi was born and trained in Siena, his major works and style reflect his long career in Rome 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.

Among his most important representatives we find Duccio di Buoninsegna, whose works show a certain Byzantine influence, his apprentice Simone Martini, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Domenico and Taddeo di Bartolo, Stefano di Giovanni (the Sassetta) and Matteo di Giovanni.

In the 16th century the Mannerists Domenico di Pace Beccafumi and Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (the Sodom) were part of it.

XIII century
The first paintings preserved in Siena and in the territory date back to the period between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th. Works such as the painted crosses of San Giovanni d’Asso (museum of Pienza), the convent of Santa Chiara (national art gallery of Siena) or the abbey of Sant’Antimo (museum of Montalcino) show a strong Romanesque substratum .

The first work certainly dated (1215) is a dossal with the Paliotto of the Savior, where one can already note the grafting of a strong Byzantine influence . To the same anonymous author (Master of Tressa), the Madonna with large eyes is attributed, originally on the main altar of the cathedral (1220-1230) .

The passage to Siena of Coppo di Marcovaldo, a prisoner of Montaperti in 1261, brings to the city a stronger Byzantine influence, with his Madonna del Bordone (church of the Servants, a table today altered by a fourteenth-century repainting of the faces of Mary and Jesus), which was taken up again by Guido da Siena, a famous figure as the first exponent of the Sienese school although still largely shrouded in mystery. This author signed the Maestà of San Domenico (church of San Domenico, Siena) probably in the sixties of the thirteenth century, although the date affixed to the table, now considered a purely symbolic note, shows 1221: on the basis of this date the priority of the Sienese school was sustained over all the other Tuscan and Italian ones.

Contemporary by Guido were Dietisalvi di Speme and Guido di Graziano, characterized by an energetic and expressive Byzantine style: the latter was influenced by Cimabue for the richness of color tones and the fluidity of the lines; he is credited with the paintings of St. Peter Enthroned and St. Francis of the National Picture Gallery of Siena .

The pictorial personalities of this period are also documented in the ” biccherne “, the paintings commissioned by the city magistrates of Biccherna and Gabella to decorate the wooden blankets of the annual accounting books.

In the sculpture there was during the same century the realization of the pulpit of the Cathedral of Siena, a work by Nicola Pisano (1266-1269), while the son, Giovanni Pisano was charged with the sculptural decoration of the facade of the cathedral (1284-1297).

From the handful of painters active in the city at the end of the century, the much higher and more complex personality of Duccio di Buoninsegna emerged with the fundamental example of Cimabue. Among his first works are the Madonna di Crevole (from the hermitage of Montespecchio, today in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, around 1280) and the Madonna dei Francescani (National Art Gallery, around 1290) ), in which warns of the progressive insertion of elements of Gothic painting and of greater spontaneity in the gestures of the Child. The circular window of the Duomo dates back to 1288, today in the Metropolitan Opera Museum, of which Duccio provided the design and on which he then intervened with a brush.

First half of the fourteenth century
Between 1308 and 1311, Duccio di Buoninsegna created the altarpiece of the Majesty of the Duomo, preserved in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, with a predella and a crowning and also decorated on the back with scenes of the Passion of Christ. To the same author is attributed by some also the fresco with Resa of the castle of Giuncarico of the Palazzo Pubblico. His art was characterized by the fusion of different traditions: the contemporary Byzantine painting of the Paleologi, the monumental figures ofCimabue, rendered with soft and elegant lines and with the refined chromatic range of Gothic painting.

Followers of Duccio were the grandson Segna di Bonaventura (Madonna with Child of the Servite Church) and Ugolino di Nerio (Sorrowful Virgin and Crucifixion in the National Picture Gallery).

The Majesty of the Palazzo Pubblico, a fresco in the “Sala del Mappamondo” of the Palazzo Pubblico, was executed by Simone Martini who was probably a pupil of Duccio, between 1312 and 1315. The Majesty of Simone Martini is closer to the Gothic style, already acquired by goldsmiths Siena, and takes into account the novelty of Giotto in the representation of space, the depth of which is made by the depiction perspective of the canopy and the arrangement of figures around the throne . The Madonna with Child from Lucignano d’Arbia is still attributed to Simone Martiniand the table with Blessed Agostino Novello, both in the National Art Gallery. In 1328, returned to Siena, Simone Martini executed another fresco in the “Sala del Mappamondo”, Guidoriccio da Fogliano at the siege of Montemassi. In 1333 he signed together with his brother-in-law Lippo Memmi (author also of the Madonna del Popolo in the church of the Servants) the Annunciation between the saints Ansano and Margherita for the altar of sant’Ansano in the cathedral, today in the Uffizi.

To Pietro Lorenzetti, also of the Duccesque school and sensitive to Giotto’s novelties, we owe the Pala del Carmine of the National Art Gallery (1329), an altarpiece depicting the Madonna with Child and Saints, characterized as his other works by spontaneous gestures and from talks of looks of sacred figures. Together with his brother Ambrogio in 1335 he executed the frescoes on the facade of the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, lost in the eighteenth century. The Crucifixion remains of the cycle of frescoes in the chapter house of the church of San Francesco (1336 – 1337), preserved in a chapel of the church, and the risen Christ, in the Diocesan Museum. From the same period the mutilated fresco of the church of San Domenico with a knight presented to the Virgin by St. John the Baptist. In 1342 the altarpiece with the Nativity of the Virgin for the altar of San Savino nel Duomo was finished, today in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

To Pietro’s brother, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, we owe the frescoes of the Good Government and the Bad Government, in the “Sala della Pace” of the Palazzo Pubblico (1337 – 1339 and again the Madonna del Latte in the Diocesan Museum, frescoes with scenes from the Life of Saint Francesco in the church of the saint, and the Majesty of Sant’Agostino, a frescoed lunette in the church of Sant’Agostino, his Annunciation, now in the Uffizi, shows early spatial research (floor tiles) and figures with calm and grave volumes.

In the same years the sculpture with Tino da Camaino, Goro di Gregorio and Giovanni d’Agostino shows the will to proceed along the same path of Simone Martini’s gothic painting, with sinuous and elegant attitudes and loose rhythm of drapery.

Second half of the fourteenth century
In the second half of the fourteenth century, several painters followed one another who developed the models of Simone Martini and the Lorenzetti, such as the illuminator Niccolò di ser Sozzo (Assunta del Caleffo bianco, in the Archivio di Stato) or Luca di Tommè (polyptych of Sant ‘Anna Metterza), who together signed the polyptych with Madonna and Child among the saints Giovanni Battista, Tommaso, Benedetto and Stefano, dated to 1362.

A Bartolomeo Bulgarini (for the criticism perhaps coinciding with Ugolino Lorenzetti and the Master of Ovile ) is attributed an Assumption of the National Art Gallery, covered with gold, to Lippo Vanni, illuminator and painter, the monochrome fresco of the Battle of the Val di Chiana, in the “Sala del Mappamondo” of the Palazzo Pubblico, and the cycle of Stories of the Virgin frescoed in the church of San Leonardo al Lago.

A little later is Bartolo di Fredi (Adoration of the Magi, in the National Picture Gallery, which unfolds a lively narrative tone and a taste for describing luxurious details), which he held together with Andrea di Vanni, the latter taking part in a true and true his own revival of Simone Martini’s ways (fresco of Santa Caterina and devotee in the church of San Domenico, 1390), in which Jacopo di Mino del Pellicciaio (Coronation of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, in the National Picture Gallery) participated, while Paolo di Giovanni Feifused the spatiality of Pietro Lorenzetti with the elegance of Simone Martini’s gestures (Nativity of the Virgin of the National Picture Gallery).

Between the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century, Taddeo di Bartolo is the author of an Annunciation in 1409, which partly recalls the famous one by Simone Martini, stretching it out into wider and quieter shapes and with a wise chromatic balance and in the same years he frescoed the “chapel of the Nine” in the Palazzo Pubblico, where famous men of antiquity are depicted with early humanistic cartouches in Latin, taken as examples of good governance. In the same years the “Sala di Balia”, also of the Palazzo Pubblico, was frescoed by the foreigner Spinello Aretino together with his son Parri, with Stories ofPope Alexander III, from Siena, while the vault was frescoed with figures of saints by Martino di Bartolomeo.

In the second half of the century the sculpture abandoned the lesson of the masters of the previous period to return to the models of Nicola and Giovanni Pisano: among the Sienese sculptors there was also Piero d’Angelo, father of Jacopo della Quercia.

XV century
In the fifteenth century, Sienese painting followed its own tradition, only superficially welcoming the perspective and new compositional schemes from Florence: the models remained the Annunciation by Simone Martini and the fresco of the Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti .

Stefano di Giovanni, known as il Sassetta, trained in Siena, had received the interest for the Lorenzetti perspective, deepened for the knowledge of contemporary Florentine painting, and at the same time he was influenced by Gentile da Fabriano’s international Gothic style. In 1423 he executed the Pala della Lana, altarpiece for the eponymous corporation now dispersed among various museums, in 1432 the Madonna della Neve for the Duomo, today in the Uffizi. Some tablets, from larger dispersed paintings, are preserved in the Chigi Saracini collection.

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The Master of the Observance, perhaps to be identified with Sano di Pietro at the beginning of his career and strongly influenced by the Sassetta , takes its name from a Madonna with Child and the saints Ambrogio and Gerolamo from the Basilica of the Observance. The first known work by Sano di Pietro is the Polittico dei Gesuati in the National Picture Gallery, dated 1444, where it repeats already consolidated styles and compositions. His narrative vein is expressed in the small formats of the predellas and in the city chronicle scenes (Preaching of Saint Bernardino in Piazza del Campo andSermon of Saint Bernardino in Piazza San Francesco).

Giovanni di Paolo is influenced by late Gothic Lombard and Flemish painting , visible in the importance given to the landscape, unreal, which dominates the background, with careful definition of the details even at a great distance (Madonna dell’Umiltà of 1435, in the Pinacoteca national). Pietro di Giovanni d’Ambrogio was instead more receptive to the novelties of Florentine Renaissance painting and produced works with iconographic and compositional novelties.

The numerous images of the Virgin painted by Matteo di Giovanni reveal the continuation of the local tradition, despite the attention given to Florentine anatomical research. To him we owe also the frescoes with the Massacre of the Innocents of the Palazzo Pubblico, with crowded composition and exasperated expression of feelings. His students, who worked in the last years of the century, were Guidoccio Cozzarelli and Pietro di Francesco Orioli (Visitation to the National Art Gallery, which includes influences from Domenico Ghirlandaio).

Domenico di Bartolo was the first Sienese painter to produce works that were clearly Renaissance like the Madonna dell’Umiltà of 1433, in the National Picture Gallery, with the foreshortening of the legs and of the cartouche and the faces of the musician angels that recall models by Filippo Lippi . In the years between 1441 and 1444 he painted a cycle of frescoes on the history of the institution and its daily activities for the ” Pellegrinaio ” of the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. The dream of the mother of Blessed Sorore is owed to Lorenzo di Pietro, known as Vecchiettaand, in the years between 1446 and 1449, the frescoes of the “Old Sacristy” of the same complex. Il Vecchietta was trained in Florence and had worked with Masolino da Panicale and arrived in Siena to introduce the Florentine novelties in the local tradition. He was responsible for numerous works: the Arliquiera dell’Ospedale (painted cabinet for preserving relics), with figures of saints and scenes of the Passion of Christ framed in environments rendered in perspective, the fresco with the Pietà from the church of San Francesco in the Diocesan Museum, the frescoes of the Baptistery of the Duomo (1450 – 1453)), updated to the Florentine novelties in the architectural framework, in the anatomies of the characters and in landscape backgrounds .

Important was the stay in Siena of two Po Valley illuminators, Liberale da Verona (from 1466) and Girolamo da Cremona, a pupil of Andrea Mantegna (from 1470), who introduced a variety of poses and attitudes in figures of solid conception and a freedom in the use of color unknown to local tradition .

Francesco di Giorgio Martini formed a workshop with numerous collaborators, which incorporated Florentine influences from Sandro Botticelli. Neroccio di Bartolomeo de ‘Landi, trained as he was at the Vecchietta workshop, was a member until 1475; he used an in-depth knowledge of contemporary artistic culture within the traditional elegant Sienese linearism. Also a pupil of Vecchietta was Benvenuto di Giovanni, author of the frescoes with The Miracles of St. Anthony in the Baptistery of the Duomo. The son Girolamo di Benvenuto continued the workshop.

In the last decade of the century Luca Signorelli stayed in Siena, who painted the monochrome frescoes of the Eritrean Sibyl and the Tiburtine Sibyl in the Bichi chapel of the church of Sant’Agostino.

In the same century the sculpture saw the presence in Siena of Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello, as well as of the Sienese Jacopo della Quercia. At the same time, the local tradition of polychrome wooden sculpture continued (Domenico di Niccolò, Francesco di Valdambrino). There were also several sculpture works among the aforementioned painters (Vecchietta, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Neroccio by Bartolomeo de ‘Landi, Giacomo Cozzarelli), while only sculptors were Antonio Federighi and Giovanni di Stefano, son of Sassetta.

The various artists active in Siena, especially in the fifteenth century, also provided the designs for the panels in marble on the floor of the Duomo.

XVI century
The last important season of Sienese art came in the 16th century, when the city, autonomous and hidden from Florence, underwent considerable development under the lordship of Pandolfo Petrucci. The main artistic building site was still the Duomo, where Michelangelo also worked in 1501 and where Pinturicchio, in 1502, frescoed the Piccolomini Library using, in part, Raphael’s drawings. Great commitment was also made in the completion of the historiated floor .

Important developments took place with the arrival in the city of the Piedmontese painter Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, known as Sodoma, who enriched Perugino’s composed manner to the Leonardo innovations he had seen in Milan, but it was above all Domenico Beccafumi who created an experimental style based on effects. of light, color and design fluency. In his works, such as the Saint Catherine receiving the stigmata, one can see an inspiration to the fifteenth-century tradition (from Perugino), but with a more grandiose spatial sensitivity, elongated and thin figures, absorbed expressions and a very personal sensitivity for light and color.

In the inevitable competition between the two artists, Beccafumi’s original inspiration lost some commissions in favor of the more classic and reassuring forms of Sodoma. A figure of mediation was that of Bartolomeo Neroni, called Riccio, who had a large number of students and continuators, active throughout the Sienese territory. Alessandro Casolani was a valid successor to Beccafumi.

When Beccafumi died, after having worked continuously for forty years in his city, it was 1551. Only two years later, in 1553, the city was bloodily conquered by Cosimo I de ‘Medici, losing its secular independence and, practically, even its role as artistic capital .

XVII century
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the city’s artistic culture had accepted the demands of the Counter-Reformation, developing a delicate colourism derived from the example of Beccafumi and Federico Barocci, whose protagonists were Ventura Salimbeni and Francesco Vanni. In the wake of these two painters, Rutilio Manetti, who was sent by the Medici to Rome in 1623, also took his first steps. Here he is struck by the novelties of the Caravaggists, becoming one of the best followers of Merisi in Tuscany, able to combine a thick and pasty brushstroke with expressive play of light and shadow.

After the middle of the century, Bernardino Mei, protected by Cardinal Fabio Chigi, was an interpreter of Baroque painting inspired by the Roman scene.

List of artists

Guido da Siena

Duccio di Buoninsegna
Segna di Buonaventura
Niccolò di Segna
Simone Martini
Lippo Memmi
Naddo Ceccarelli
Ambrogio Lorenzetti
Pietro Lorenzetti
Bartolomeo Bulgarini
Ugolino di Nerio
Lippo Vanni

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
(Master of the Richardson Triptych)

Benedetto di Bindo
Domenico di Bartolo
Giovanni di Paolo
Gregorio di Cecco
Martino di Bartolomeo
Master of the Osservanza Triptych
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 (Giovanni Antonio Bazzi)
Riccio Sanese (Bartolomeo Neroni)

Francesco Vanni
Ventura Salimbeni
Rutilio Manetti

Source from Wikipedia