Paradoxplace Tuscan Photo Pages

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Simone Martini and Ambrogio Lorenzetti

in the

Town Hall (Palazzo Pubblico) of Siena


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Simone Martini's (1284 - 1344 (60)) famous fresco of Condottiere Guidoriccio da Fogliano panoramared across the whole of the end of the Sala di Mappomondo - the main hall of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.  The otherwise historically obscure Sienese warlord immortalized by Martini is seen pictured in 1328 on his way to make a forceful point to the governor of the castle of Montemassi after putting down some local revolts around there.    Whatever it was he was doing, the painting leaves the viewer in no doubt as to his determination! 


This was one of the first major Italian secular (i.e. non religious) and landscape paintings of the Middle Ages, and Martini was paid to go to the scene so he could get the landscape right.  There is also some good stuff for military historians including tents and a monster catapult in the right hand castle (which itself was built specially for the siege). 


A recent mystery has been the discovery underneath this work of another fresco that has been dated by some to after Martini's death ...... Scope for a good medieval detective yarn there!


Go in November and sit and enjoy in solitude, then do the same with the Lorenzetti frescoes in the next room ....... except on Saturdays when they are often churning through civil weddings at one an hour - but that's fun to watch as well !



The Sala della Pace (peace room) - meeting room for the Group of Nine - the successful republican model that brought Siena to the height of its powers in the years before the 1348 Black Death.  Ambrogio Lorenzetti (who died of the plague) illustrates on the left the Court of the Common Good - with (seated from left) the virtues of Peace (also seen below), Fortitude, Prudence, Magnanimity, Temperance and Justice.  On the right is the resulting good town life and a depiction of the cityscape of Siena in 1348. 



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top half of cover


This was one of eight books published by

George Braziller Inc, New York, under the title of

The Great Fresco Cycles of the Renaissance

The series consisted of books on the narrativre fresco cycles of: Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel PaduaAmbrigio Lorenzetti in the Palazzo Publico, Siena Fra Angelico in the  Convent of San Marco, Florence;   Masaccio et al in the Brancacci Chapel, Florence Piero della Francesca in the Franciscan Church, Arezzo;   Andrea Mantegna in Padua and Mantua;  Luca Signorelli in the San Brizio Chapel, Orvieto Raphael in the Stanza Della Signatura, Rome;  and Annibale Carracci in the Farnese Palace, Rome.  Regrettably several of these books seem to be out of print but it's worth checking and / or looking for second hand copies.


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