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Pisa, Siena, and the Maremma: A Neglected Aspect of Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Paintings in the Sala Dei Nove

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Abstract:

Ambrogio Lorenzetti's frescos for the Sala dei Nove in the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, represent one of the most significant painted schemes in early Renaissance art. It is argued that the city depicted on the east wall represents both an ideal of what life within a late medieval city might be and also an overt association of Siena with such an ideal, a message reinforced by the image of the war-torn city, here identified with Pisa, portrayed on the west wall. Lorenzetti here pursues a general political argument on the nature of civic rule. The history of Sienese relations with Pisa had a significant impact upon a number of pictorial details within the Sala dei Nove paintings, which in the final analysis sought to represent the disasters – political instability, moral and civic collapse – that would befall a civic community if Pisan traditions of government were allowed to prevail.

Keywords: Italy (Pisa); Italy (Siena); Lorenzetti, Ambrogio (Sala dei Nove frescos, Siena); Painting; Politics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1477-4658.00242

Publication date: December 1, 1997

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