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Sienese Painting (World of Art)

Timothy Hyman


An essential visual overview for students and readers with an interest in Sienese art, history and Renaissance culture


For two centuries, the city-republic of Siena was home to a brilliant succession of painters who created some of the greatest masterpieces of all time; an imagery unmatched in colouristic intensity and spatial experimentation. This overview, now revised and updated, is an essential introduction to this extraordinary artistic tradition. Taking a broadly chronological approach, it moves from the 14th-century Siena of Duccio, Simone Martini and the Lorenzetti brothers, to the 15th-century city of Sassetta and Giovanni di Paolo.

Perceptive visual analysis of the distinctive styles and conventions of Sienese painting is combined with clear explanations of traditional techniques such as fresco and tempera. The works are also placed in their social and religious context through discussion of Siena’s system of government, its civic consciousness, the importance of the Franciscan movement and the cults of local saints.

An accomplished writer as well as a practising artist, Timothy Hyman brings breadth of knowledge and experience to this extensively illustrated book, brilliantly conveying his personal enthusiasm for Sienese art.

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'An unimprovable union of exceptionally acute looking, magical prose and authoritative scholarship … a wonderfully balanced account of a woefully neglected school'
David Ekserdjian, The Times Literary Supplement

'Required reading for anyone visiting the city'
The Spectator

'A work of enthralled advocacy'
Evening Standard

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Edition Type: New Edition

Size: 21.0 x 15.0 cm

Extent: 248 pp

Publication date: 13 October 2022

ISBN: 9780500204870

Contents List

Introduction: ’An Art Born Amidst City Streets’: The Image of the City

1. Duccio and the Religion of the Commune
The Expanded Icon
Pisans and Parisians
The Maestà
Narrative and Predella
'From Greek, Back into Latin’

2. Simone Martini: ‘The Sweet New Style’
In the French High Fashion
The Montefiore Chapel and Franciscan Narrative
Simone in Siena 1328–33
The Guidoriccio and Barna Controversies
With Petrarch in Avignon: ‘il mio Simon’

3. Pietro Lorenzetti: Towards a Franciscan Art
The Passion Cycle at Assisi
'A Sweetly Passionate Abandonment to Feeling’
New Majesties
Imagery of the Journey: Dante and Blessed Umiltà
A New Birth

4. Ambrogio Lorenzetti: The Golden Age Returns
In the Service of Ben Comun
The Image of a Just Society
'The Space of Vernacular Style’
The Winter Wall
The Cosmographer

5. After the Black Death (1348–1420)
Bartolo and Taddeo: ‘Patent Mediocrities’?
The Fountain and the Font: Jacopo della Quercia
'Lowliness’: Bernardino and the Sienese Saints

6. Second Flowering: Sassetta
An Alternative Renaissance
Francis, Jester of God
An Agglomeration of Glimpses

7. Giovanni di Paolo: The Chessboard Journey
Death and the Dante Illuminations
The John the Baptist Cycles
The Storyteller

8. The Lost Cause: From the Master of the Osservanza to Francesco di Giorgio
Asciano and the Shared Idiom
Towards Pienza
Francesco di Giorgio and ‘Mathematical Humanism’
Discarding the ‘Humble Style’

Epilogue: The Rediscovery