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One of the Greatest Painters Of All Time

1394 - 1450

Italian International GothicByzantine Style,  Architect and Painter of the Sienese School

Artistically and stylistically influenced by the following painters; Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Pietro Lorenzetti, Duccio di Buoninsegna  and  Coppo di Marcovaldo

Medium - Tempera on wood


Sassetta, born Stefano di Giovanni, was perhaps the greatest of the early 15th century Sienese painters. He dabbled in the St. Francis's cult of poverty and occasionally cast off all his worldly possessions and took to the road, creating small portraits for a bowel of porridge or a crust of moldy bread. Like St. Francis,  Sassetta believed that in order to free the spirit he must shed his earthly possessions. Fortunately his enormous talent and love of painting always returned him to the studio after just a few weeks of deprivation. When he was not consumed with religious fervor he was known as a bit of a mischief maker, with a lurid sense of humor and a tolerable eccentricity.

 Sassetta had a fantastic and lively imagination, which in some of his works expresses itself in all manner of bizarre Biblical scenarios and divine visions. His paintings combine a lyrical narrative quality with awe-inspiring fanatical obsession.  It is Sassetta' s zeal for holy figures and the passion he expresses that makes his paintings still to appear so stunningly effective.  Sassetta possessed the wonderful ability to convey atmosphere and mood. His devotion to St. Francis,  St. Anthony and other divine figurers show clearly in his art. He is now considered to be one of the most brilliant artistic geniuses of all time.

His repertoire included emotionally charged representations of  the holy figures of the Christian faith--ChristSaints, The CrossVirgin Mary Chalice, Keys, The Anchor, Wheat The Good Shepherd, The Apostles, Animals, Fish, Angels, Birds, Insects  and Satan.

Sienese Painting

While Byzantine art is strict and aloof, Sienese painting possesses a mystic sincerity.  It seems as if the stone vaults of the churches had suddenly become transparent, and the eyes gazed upwards towards heaven, where tender ethereal beings, singing and praising the Highest, lived in eternal youth and lovingly gazed down upon mankind. In his great Madonna of the Cathedral, Duccio gave first impulse. This Mary is no linger sever and dignified, but mild and gracious, as if she has had pity upon the longing soul of the believer; for a soft dreamy melancholy transfigures her features. Her relation to the Child also is changed; she is no longer the involuntary mother of God, but a tender mother. Duccio explored in his own art a new world of emotion and passion, but with a lyricism and sensitivity to color that became the foundation of Sienese painting.

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists,  sfumato, chiaroscuro, Savonarola, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscript,  idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, illuminator,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and  light,  Bonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.


Key Italian Sienese Artists Listed Alphabetically

Taddeo di Bartolo (1362-1422) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (1477-1548) Italian, Sienese, High Renaissance

Domenico di Pace Beccafumi 1486-1551) Italian, Sienese, Renaissance

Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia (1403-1483) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Sano di Pietro (1406-1481) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1290-1348) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Pietro Lorenzetti (1280-1348) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Coppo di Marcovaldo (1225-1274) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Simone Martini (1280-1344) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Lippo Memmi (1285 -1361) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Giovanni di Paolo (1399-1482) Italian, Sienese, Renaissance

Sassetta (1394-1450) Italian, Sienese, Early Renaissance

Sodoma (1477-1548) Italian, Sienese, High Renaissance


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