videos + essays

Donatello, <em>Feast of Herod</em>
Donatello, Feast of Herod

City-states vied for the best artists. After Ghiberti dragged his feet, Siena invited Donatello to finish the job.

Duccio, <em>Maestà</em>
Duccio, Maestà

Many, many panels made up this massive altarpiece. Dedicated to Mary, it stood in the crossing of Siena Cathedral.

Simone Martini, <i>Maestà</i>
Simone Martini, Maestà

The Queen of Heaven presides over the space where government officials in Siena met to make decisions

Pietro Lorenzetti, <em>Birth of the Virgin</em>
Pietro Lorenzetti, Birth of the Virgin

Take a peek into a 14th-century household! This painting transplants a biblical story into a busy Sienese bedroom.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, <em>Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government</em>
Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government

Things get ugly when tyrants take over! But with peace, fortitude, and prudence, Siena prospers—an urban paradise.