Siena Cathedral

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Siena Cathedral

 

If the Palazzo Pubblico is the masterpiece of Siena's civil architecture, the Duomo is the masterpiece of religious architecture. Both of them are admired with astonishing admiration by the most illustrious visitors to the city: for the Duomo, it is enough to remember, among the many prestigious names, those of Taine, Ruskin (the most extraordinary church he had ever seen in Italy), of Wagner. The Duomo or Cathedral of Siena is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and was built in Roman-Gothic style.

We do not know exactly when this church was built, but what is certain is that in 1226 there was a record of the expenses for its construction.

History of the construction of the Siena Cathedral

Cosa vedere a SienaIt is very likely that, in the place where the Duomo stands today, there was previously a pagan temple, dedicated to the goddess Minerva. Tradition has it that the consecration of the cathedral took place on 18 November 1179 and was consecrated by Pope Alexander III himself. Even today, on 18 November, the papal banner is still displayed. What is certain is that here, since the 11th century, there has already been a small church that serves as a cathedral. Towards the middle of the following century, at the dawn of the communal age, the construction of a larger temple began, and whose essential structures were already built in the second decade of 1200. Great impulse to the continuation of the work gave, from 1238 to 1285, the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of San Galgano (it will make the first Italian Gothic churches of which still remain, near Siena, imposing ruins) with which the dome was planted between 1259 and 1264 and the apse and the peribolo (sacred enclosure) were built in 1267 both then demolished. It was always the Cistercian monks who commissioned Nicola Pisano to carry out the pulpit, and his son Giovanni Pisano, to sculpt the lower part of the facade. In the second decade of 1300, during the Government of the Nine, Siena wanted to announce its prosperity with the enlargement of a cathedral in honor of Maria Assunta: for this reason the apse and the head of the cross were demolished and the temple was extended, under the direction of Camaino di Crescentino 1317. Then not even this seemed enough and one imagined a Church that, for vastness and magnificence, won the confrontation with the Duomo of Florence Cathedral, eternal rival city.

Pianta a Croce latina del Duomo di SienaThis project of "Duomo Nuovo", substantially modified the plan of the previous church: the whole part built, in fact, had to be only the transept to which the longitudinal naves with the facade had to be added ("the Facciatone"). The cyclopean enterprise was begun in 1339, by Lando Di Pietro, followed by Giovanni di Agostino and Domenico di Agostino. Work proceeded exceptionally quickly and at a very high cost. The plague of 1348 imposed an interruption during which serious deficiencies emerged in the statics of the building, too hastily carried out on the ground not prepared and firmed properly. The economic crisis following the plague, the futility of attempts to remedy the errors made, led to the decision to stop the ambitious project.
In the following decades the dangerous structures were arranged while those left standing were destined to offices of the Opera del Duomo (where Jacopo della Quercia sculpted the Fonte Gaia). The only thing that remained, therefore, was to complete the old Duomo: the new apse was completed in 1382, then the vaults of the central nave were rebuilt higher and, from 1376, Giovanni di Cecco completed the upper part of the facade.

In the following decades the dangerous structures were arranged while those left standing were destined to offices of the Opera del Duomo (where Jacopo della Quercia sculpted the Fonte Gaia). The only thing that remained, therefore, was to complete the old Duomo: the new apse was completed in 1382, then the vaults of the central nave were rebuilt higher and, from 1376, Giovanni di Cecco completed the upper part of the facade.

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External part of the Siena Cathedral

Facciata Duomo di SienaStylistically, the façade of the Cathedral of Siena has Romanesque structural motifs in the lower part and Gothic in the upper part, but the soul of the monument, so to speak, is typically Gothic. Only the arches of the centre are, in fact, still a Romanesque motif but they fit into one with the complex and peculiar complexity of Gothic architecture. The lower part is a wonderful creation of Giovanni Pisano and his helpers carried out between 1284 and 1296, but it was finished only in 1333. It is divided into three parts by the portals surmounted by round arches (the lateral ones slightly pointed arches), the latter included within triangular cusps. Corner pillars (on a marble base) join not only the lower part but the entire elevation. Bundles of small columns finely decorated with plant motifs precede the portal: the middle one bears, in the architrave, a bas-relief of Tino di Camaino evoking a story of Anna and Joachim (the parents of the Madonna).

Dettagli Facciata Duomo di SienaThe statues and busts, by Giovanni Pisano and his collaborators, refer to figures of the Old Testament: here they are in copy (the originals can be seen in the Museum of the Opera del Duomo) the sculptural decoration followed a criterion not only decorative but also didactic: the lower part of the facade is in fact dedicated to the preparation of the Advent of Mary, the one above her presence on earth until the assumption in heaven. But the modification in the order of the statues makes this thematic succession less readable today. The central door in bronze and modern work of Enrico Manfrini of 1958, glorifying the Madonna through the memory of his life as well as biblical characters, popes, saints and artists who promoted devotion to the Virgin.

Parte Alta facciata Duomo di SienaThe upper part of the façade, an expression of the extreme evolution of the Gothic style, is a flourishing of decorative motifs: late fourteenth-century statues (the originals are also in the museum of the Opera del Duomo), friezes, inlay, etc., around the fundamental structures. The large central rose window is located inside a very neat square frame (adorned with patriarchs, prophets, evangelists and, above, of the Madonna). The two side tunnels are separated by two pillars from the frame, as well as the three end cusps, with the central much higher than the others, on which stands an angel, Tomaso Redi of 1639. The surface of these cusps is animated by mosaics made by Parte Alta facciata Duomo di Sienathe Murano school on cartoons by Luigi Mussini and Alessandro Franchi in the late nineteenth century, illustrating, on the left, the Presentation of the Virgin at the temple, in the center the Coronation of Mary, on the right, the Nativity of Jesus.

The designer of the upper part of the facade, the Sienese Giovanni di Cecco in 1376 was inspired, with all evidence, the almost contemporary facade of the Cathedral of Orvieto, a masterpiece of another Sienese, Lorenzo Maitani. The implementation of this design gave rise to the symmetry of the side pillars to the frame of the rose window with respect to the underlying pillars of the median portal: a symmetry that does not, however, affect the aesthetic validity of the entire architectural organism.

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Right side and Bell Tower

Fianco destro e campananile Duomo di SienaOn the right side of the Duomo (the left side, with a closed single-light, and joined with the archiepiscopal palace), divided by pillars crowned by copies of fourteenth-century statues (the originals are in an underground part of the Duomo) is out of the way by redoing cuspided ogival. The facing is horizontally crossed by strips of dark marble alternating with wide bands of white marble: this decoration continues in the right transept, opened by the end of the Gothic layer, in the head of the cross that forms a single body with a baptistery, as well as in the Bell Tower, erected in 1313 above the pre-existing structure of the Tower of Bisdomini, designed by Agostino di Giovanni and Agnolo di Ventura.

Retro del Duomo di SienaAccording to Lombard prototypes, the openings in the roof are wider, proceeding from the bottom (single-hatted) upwards (it evaporates) and the roof in the form of a cusp surrounded by four pinnacles. The bell tower of the Cathedral of Siena in Romanesque style, almost 77 meters high, was built in 1313. Together with the 88-metre high Torre del Mangia, it is one of the city's landmarks. The walls visible in the internal cell of the previous bell tower remain. The bell tower has six bells, which almost form a correct diatonic scale, of different epochs and fusions. Their sound from the acoustic point of view is certainly not the best but they are very interesting from the historical point of view.

Lupa che allatta i Gemelli su colonna destra esterno Duomo di SienaMoving now on to the platform that precedes the front entrance of the Duomo, on the floor we find three restored graffiti (copies of originals by Nastagio di Gaspare, 1450) include the Ceremony of the restrictions of the ecclesiastical hierarchies. On the sides of the staircase two columns bear the symbolic Lupa che breastfeeding i twin, copies of Giovanni Pisano and Urbano da Cortona (the originals can be found in the museum of the Opera del Duomo). Walking along the left side of the Duomo of Siena, you will reach the superb structures of the "New Cathedral" built between 1339 and 1355. They include part of the main facade, the so-called Facciatone; the right nave, attached to the Duomo is marked by five huge arches (and open into the wall); part of the left side with three arches and Czech monolights are embedded in the walls of the prefecture building. What we see lets us imagine the incomparable grandeur of the work if it had been completed and gives us some essays of its high quality of art: look at the decorations of Giovanni D'Agostino who also designed the beautiful side door in 1345. In the first three closed arcades of the right nave is located the Museum of the Opera del Duomo.

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Internal

Navata Centrale Duomo di SienaThe plan of the church is Romanesque plant to Latin cross, divided into three naves wide transept, apse and choir, cross vault with arches in the center and the dome above. The eye is immediately attracted by the forest of powerful polystyrene pillars that divide the naves and continue in the two arms of the transept (the pillars are 26 in all): in them returns to that of the marble color we have already seen outside. A variation of colours that, if they slow down the vertical momentum a little, at the same time give warmth and pictorial sensations to the whole church, to which the polychromy of the walls contribute, the blue painted stars of the vaults is, more than anything, the wonderful flooring. Entering the cathedral, what is most striking is its wonderful central nave, from which you can admire 171 busts depicting as many Popes, among whom there is also St. Peter. Under the Popes there are thirty-six busts of emperors, but since there are no captions, it is not known exactly who they are.

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Floor

Pavimento Duomo di SienaThe floor is one of the boasts of the Cathedral of Siena, divided as it is into 56 panels, the oldest of which from 1369 onwards, graffito, the most recent, those until 1547, committed with marble (a type of mosaic with marble). The historied floor is part of a transalpine Gothic conception of the temple, according to which each element must contribute organically to the ultimate goal of exalting the divinity, preparing for the road to heaven. The subjects of the panels are dedicated, for the most part, to facts of the Old Testament (Stories of Moses, Joshua, Abraham, Elijah) but, with them, are mixed mythical figures (the Sibyls, considered, however, anticipatory of Christ) and allegorical (Virtue) and, the only episode of the new will, the representation of the Slaughter of the Innocents. About forty artists, mostly Sienese, dedicated themselves to this artistic effort that lasted two centuries. Some panels, which have been damaged by time, have been partially reworked or replaced by copies. Others, the oldest of these, are protected by tables and are visible every year from August 15 to September 15. Here we remember some of the most famous authors of cartons for the execution of the floor: Domenico di Nicolò, Matteo di Giovanni, Domenico di Bartolo, Benvenuto di Giovanni, Urbano da Cortona, Antonio Federighi, Neroccio di Bartolomeo, il Pinturicchio, and the greatest of all for his new inventions and industriousness, Domenico Beccafumi, who, in 1547, made the drawings of 35 panels.

Pavimento Duomo di Siena - BeccafumiTo him we owe the most beautiful biblical stories among which are excellent Moses springs from the waters from the cliff Horeb, the Sacrifice of Abraham, both in the presbytery, the Sacrifice of Ahab, under the dome. Particular attention should be paid to the Allegory of Fortune by Paolo Mannucci on cartoons by Pinturicchio in the nave, the Sibilla Eritrea, Antonio Federighi in the right nave; The Emperor Sigismund on the throne, Domenico di Bartolo in the right transept, the Allegory of Justice, Marchese d'Adamo from Como in the left apse, the Slaughter of the Innocents, Matteo di Giovanni and Herod driven from the throne, Benvenuto di Giovanni. Both in the left transept.

In addition to the floor, another artistic peculiarity of the Cathedral of Siena, are the series of 172 imaginary busts of popes (including the bust of Christ, at the end of the apse) that serve as shelves to the conrbicione that runs on the top of the nave and the presbytery. Under these busts are placed, at intervals, another 36 imaginary busts of emperors, from Constantine to Theodosius: they are all sculptures of the four and the sixteenth. At the entrance there are two stoves finely worked by Antonio Federighi in 1463.

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Back facade

Pavimento Duomo di SienaThe middle portal is adorned with columns decorated by Giovanni Di Stefano, with pedestals of bas-reliefs (Stories of Mary) of Urbano of Cortona; above the portal, the architrave contains other reliefs dedicated to the Life of St. Ansano of the fifteenth century. The stained-glass window of the Rosone shows an Last Supper) by Pastorino de' Pastorini who made it in 1549, perhaps on cardboard by Perin del Vaga (from the workshop of Ghirlandaio and collaborator of Raffaello). On the sides, always in counter-fronted, In a niche, there is the statue of Paul V (bourgeois Camillo of Siena), Fulvio Signorini in 1605 and Marcello II Domenico Cafaggi at the behest of the rector of the Opera del Duono Giugurta Tommasi to represent the first two Sienese popes Alexander III (1591) and Pius II (1592). Later they were converted into other popes by adding beards, by the workshop of the Mazzuoli family (eighties of the seventeenth century). It is presumable that this was done so as not to obscure the program of representation of all the Sienese popes with new memorials that was being made in those years.
 

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Right nave

tomba del vescovo Tommaso Piccolomini del Testa, di Neroccio di Bartolo - Duomo di SienaFour altars follow, decorated with seventeenth-century paintings; the side door opens, the one that gives access to the bell tower. Above this door stands the tomb of Bishop Tommaso Piccolomini del Testa, Neroccio di Bartolo performed between 1484 to 1485, the sides of the tomb, reliefs of Urbano of Cortona with six episodes of the life of the Madonna of which is remarkable the Annunciation. From here there is a beautiful view of the dome that rises in the middle of the cruise. Set on six pylons (on both sides of the middle nave are placed the antennas hoisted on the Carroccio di Siena during the Battle of Montaperti).

At the corners of the hexagon of the dome, six columns support as many golden statues of saints (the four patrons of Siena, as well as St. Bernardine and St. Catherine) modeled by Ventura Turapilli and Bastiano di Francesco between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Above these columns, niches bend over the hexagon of the dome and transform it into the dodecagon of the drum. The latter is adorned with a fake loggia divided by 42 columns and in whose small arches appear the figures of 42 prophet patriarchs, painted in chiaroscuro by various Sienese artists of 1400. Further up the top, the end cap of the dome, decorated with fake lagoons and finished by the lantern at the top, curves.
 

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Ghigi Chapel and Transetto Sinistro

Cappella Chigi - Duomo di SienaThe right transept, like the opposite, is distinguished in two naves by pillars. On the right is the Chigi Chapel (or the Madonna del voto) built in 1661 on a project by the famous baroque school leader Gianlorenzo Bernini, for the will of the Sienese Pope Alexander VII Chigi. In a circular environment surmounted by a golden dome, it is a triumph of decorations. Eight columns divide it into eight sectors, everywhere there have been marble, bronze, friezes, paintings. On the altar, designed by Bernini himself, is the painting of the Madonna del voto, by a late thirteenth-century imitator of Guido da Siena. Bernini is considered the gilded bronze angels that surround the Madonna del voto while his hand are certainly the splendid statues of St. Jerome and Mary Magdalene placed in a niche at the entrance. The other statues in the niches on the sides of the altar are due to Lombard sculptors of the seventeenth century (Ercole Ferrara and Antonio Raggi) while the four bas-reliefs above, the stories of Mary, were made in Rome in 1748. On the left wall, there is the Visitation of Our Lady to Elizabeth, a painting by Carlo Maratta from the late 17th century, from whom Maratta also drew inspiration for the mosaic on the opposite wall evoking his flight to Egypt.

Papa Alessandro III di Antonio RaggiExit the Chapel of the Vow you notice: to the right of the first altar, the 1663 statue of Pope Alexander III, Antonio Raggi; left, that of Pope Alexander VII, by Ercole Ferrara, of 1668, in front of which is the tombstone of the Sienese bishop Carlo Bartoli (who died in 1444), decorated with graffiti by Antonio Federighi and Giuliano da Como, probably designed by Pietro del Minella in the late fifteenth century. The altar in front of the tombstone bears a valuable painting by Mattia Preti from Calabria in about 1650, celebrating a Preaching of San Bernardino. In the corner chapel, called the Sacrament, on the right wall, are five fifteenth-century bas-reliefs made by Giovanni Francesco da Imola (the Evangelists) and Giovanni di Turino (Saint Paul); the altar is adorned with an Adoration of the Shepherds, by Alessandro Casolani in 1594.

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Presbytery and High Altar

Altare Maggiore, Duomo di SienaFor a tradition that dates back to early Christian times, the presbytery and raised above the aisles. The marble High Altar stands out here, an admirable invention by Baldassarre Peruzzi in 1532, put together by Pellegrino Di Pietro. On the altar rests a rich bronze ciborium by Lorenzo di Pietro, called the Vecchietta built between 1467 and 1472, here moved in 1506 by the Hospital of Santa Maria alla Scala, in place of the Majesty of Duccio da Buoninsegna (located in the Museum of the Opera del Duomo). On the sides, two exquisite candleholder angels, by Giovanni Di Stefano; the other lower angels are masterful sculptures by Francesco di Giorgio Martini executed three 1497 1499. Another eight beautiful angels, Domenico Beccafumi executed three 1548 and 1550, embellish the pillars. Next to the altar is the "Chair", the episcopal residence designed by Bertolomeo Nerori, called Riccio, to which also belong the lectern behind the altar and, above, the left choir in 1550 (as the name says, the area intended for singers), while the opposite choir is a work by Antonio Barilli in 1510.

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Apse

Altare Maggiore e Abside - Duomo di SienaThe frescoes by Domenico Beccafumi that enliven the apse basin, due to progressive deterioration, have unfortunately been extensively retouched and repainted (Apostles of 1544; Trinity in Glory of 1812); below is the Assumption of Mary by Bartolomeo Cesi in 1594, flanked by two frescoes by Ventura Salimbeni (Ester and Assuerus on the right and the Jews in the desert on the left), to whom we owe the figures of the saints executed between 1608 and 1611. The glass window of the apse, dedicated to the Glorification of the Madonna, is one of the oldest painted in Italy: it gave the cartoons Duccio da Buoninsegna and was made by Sienese masters in 1288 and resumed almost a century after Giacomo di Castello. The apse is dominated by the maximum monument of the apse and the wooden choir that occupies the whole lower part of the apse basin. It comprises 51 stalls and consists of two joint parts: the middle one, of Renaissance imprint, always designed by Riccio and executed by Teseo of Bartolino and Benedetto di Giovanni three 1567 1570, and the side ones, the most beautiful, of Gothic taste, The work of Francesco Giacomo del Tonghio between 1362 and 1397, later on inlaid with fine masterpieces by Giovanni da Verona from 1503, coming from the former Monastery of San Benedetto Fuori Porta.

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Sacristy

Altare Maggiore e Abside - Duomo di SienaTo the left of the entrance door is a small hanging stack in gilded bronze, white marble and enamel, the prodigy of the goldsmith's art by Giovanni di Turino in 1437. Among the many works of art you can admire: the remains of frescoes by Domenico di Bartolo and others in the three chapels, perhaps Nicola di Naldo (chapel on the right), Gualtiero di Giovanni (central chapel) and probably Benedetto di Bindo (left chapel), all of the early fifteenth century. From the left chapel you pass to the vestibule (antechamber of the sacristy) where you will find a bust of Alexander VII, Melchiorre Caffà, a valid epigone of Lorenzo Bernini. In the next chapter room, some paintings by Sano di Pietro that in the Preaching of San Bernardino in Piazza del Campo, pleasantly characterizes vows, costumes and places of the time. San Bernardino was a great communicator and preacher and it is no coincidence that he was the patron saint of advertisers. As you can see, a curious thing about time is the strict separation of men and women in public places.

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Left Transit

Pulpito di Nicola Pisano - Duomo di SienaNext to the pillars of the dome is offered to our admiration the famous Pulpit by Nicola Pisano, in marble, octagonal in shape, with aid to the realization of his son Giovanni Pisano and Arnolfo di Cambio, Duccio di Donato and other Sienese masters, performed three 1266 1268. It is an absolute masterpiece of Romanesque Gothic sculpture or, better, of all time. In it the serene and classic composure of Nicola Pisano, still present in the first two panels, gives way to the palpitating pathos of Giovanni Pisano. In the parapet panels of the pulpit, events and evangelical stories are carved in bas-relief in the following order: 1) Nativity and Visitation; 2) Arrival of the Magi and adoration of the Magi; 3) Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Dream of Joseph and Escape to Egypt; 4) Slaughter of the Innocents; 5) Crucifixion; 6) Final Judgement of the Disobedient; 7) Final Judgement of the Elect. These stories are separated by statues of Prophets and Angels. The eighth side of the octagon is occupied by the access staircase, which has been remade on the design of the Curly. The sides of the parapet rest on trilobi arches (in the plumes, other Statues of Prophets) separated in turn by Statues of virtue. Under the trilobi arches rise the marble columns supporting the Corinthian capitals. The bases of the columns are, alternately, stilobate (the stilobate is the plane on which the colonnade rests) and lions and lionesses crumbling animals (ancient symbol, this one of the Church triumphant over paganism). The base of the central column is replaced by a group of bas-reliefs with allegories of the seven liberal highs and music.

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Chapel of Sant'Ansano

Cappella di Sant'Ansano - Duomo di SienaThe side chapel of Sant'Ansano is located opposite the Sacramento chapel. In the altar we find a painting by Francesco Vanni, Sant'Ansano, who baptized the Sienese in 1596. On the left wall there is the Sepulchral Monument of Cardinal Riccardo Petroni, executed in 1317 by Tino da Caimaino, the greatest Sienese sculptor after Jacopo della Quercia. Above the base supported by shelves, four caryatids support the sarcophagus adorned with reliefs inspired by the Gospel. On the sarcophagus there is a small catalogue with a statue of the bishop protected by a veil supported by angels. The solemn monument ends with a cusped tabernacle containing statues of the Madonna with Child and Saints Peter and Paul. Another famous bronze tombstone slab is the one dedicated to Bishop Pecci, of Donatello and 1426, embedded in the floor and usually covered.

Once out of the Chapel, in a symmetrical position with respect to the statues of the arm opposite the transept, there are the statues of Pius II, Joseph Mazzuoli of 1698, and Pius III of Pietro Balestra in 1706. On the floor, graffiti tombstone of 1468. Two altars follow: in the second is a wooden crucifix that is believed, only by tradition belonged to the Carroccio Senese.
 

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Chapel of St. John the Baptist

Cappella di San Giovanni Battista - Duomo di SienaContinuing on, there is the Chapel of San Giovanni Battista, which is used as a Baptistery, this chapel was built in 1482 to preserve the arm of San Giovanni Battista, the relic that Pope Pius II gave to Siena. The chapel is in a typical Renaissance style, with a circle plan and a dome above it. Designed by Giovanni di Stefano in 1482, preceded by a marble portal carved with the prodigious finesse of Lorenzo Marrina and flanked by two orders of superimposed columns (the bases, once believed to be of Roman age, are perhaps, instead of Antonio Federighi). The wrought iron gate is by Sallustio di Francesco Barili. The chapel is decorated with stuccoes by Alberto Caponeri and Cosimo Lucchi in 1596 and has a baptismal font with reliefs in the centre, probably also by Antonio Federighi. The lower ornamentation of the chapel is particularly valuable. On the left is a beautiful Portrait of Alberto Aringhieri il Giovane, rector of the Opera del Duomo, Pinturicchio; Sant'Ansano, statue of Giovanni Di Stefano in 1487; The Baptist of Donatello wonderful statue of the last way of the artist; Take-off of the Baptist, of Pinturicchio, remade by Francesco Rustici called Rustichino in 1608; Saint Catherine of Alexandria, very delicate sculpture of Neroccio di Bartolomeo in 1487; Portrait of Alberto Aringhieri elderly by Pinturicchio. Outside the Chapel, on the right, in a niche, is the Statue of Marcantonio Zonzadari, of Giuseppe and Bartolomeo Mazzuoli of 1725.

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Left nave and Piccolomini Library

The left nave immediately shows the magnificent elevation of the Piccolomini Library, consisting of two marble arches elegantly worked by Lorenzo di Mariano Fucci called the Marrina in 1497. In the right arch, there is an altar with a bas-relief configuration of St. John the Evangelist by Giovanni di Stefano. On the left, which is the entrance to the Library, there is the double bronze gate by Antonio Ormanni, also dating back to 1497. In the lunette above the entrance, we find the Coronation of Pius III by Pinturicchio.

 Libreria Piccolomini  Duomo di SienaThe Piccolomini Library was built at the behest of Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, who later became Pope Pius III in 1495, to house the precious library of his uncle Pope Pius II. To embellish it, Pinturicchio was called to Siena, leading to the school of Perugino, Raphael, who, according to the tradition of Vasari, would give Pinturicchio cartoons and sketches of various compositions.

The work carried out between 1505 and 1507 by the master, now over fifty years old (with many aids), confirms its peculiar qualities: richness and vivacity of colors, taste for decorative elegance, pleasantness of narration. In the rectangular room, paved in magnolia with the coat of arms of the Piccolomini of 1507, the 10 frescoes by Pinturicchio, are divided by pilasters decorated "grotesque" (The grotesques are a particular type of wall painting decoration that has its roots in Roman painting of the Augustan era and was rediscovered and popular since the late fifteenth century.

In this case they are decoration that weaves disfigured patterns and many geometers and that continues in the plumes) they represent, starting from the window at the bottom right: 1) The young Aeneas Silvio Piccolomini leaves for the Council of Basel; 2) He is ambassador of the Council to the court of King James of Scotland; 3) He receives the laurel crown of poet from the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Frederick III; 4) He was sent as ambassador of Frederick III to Pope Eugene IV; 5) As bishop of Siena present, at Porta Camogli a, Frederick III to his girlfriend Eleonora of Portugal; 6) He was nominated cardinal of Pope Callistus III; 7) He was elected pontiff with the name of Pius II; 8) In Mantua he exhorted the congress to undertake a crusade against the Turks; 9) He decreed the canonization of Saint Catherine of Siena; 10) In Ancona he exhorted the congress to hasten the departure for the crusade (which was never to be done).

Soffitto Libreria Piccolomini  Duomo di SienaSome of Pinturicchio's collaborators have created the mythological and allegorical paintings of the vault, in the centre of which is the coat of arms of the Piccolomini. In the centre of the bookcase, on a marble pedestal attributed to Federighi, the statues of the Three Graces, from an original Hellenistic, wonderful for the soft elegance of the figures harmoniously intertwined. On the carved benches under the frescoes are precious choral finely illuminated by famous fifteenth-century artists such as Liberale da Verona, Girolamo da Cremona, Sano di Pietro, Guidoccio Cozzarelli, Benvenuto di Giovanni. Above the entrance of the library, the Cacciata di Adamo and Eva dal Paradiso, an excellent pair of reliefs from one of the Fonte Gaia. Among the windows, bronze statues of the Risen Christ, by Fulvio Signorini in 1595.

Leaving the library, we continue into the left nave, where the monument to Bandino Bandini surmounted by a sculpture (Jesus risen and two angels) of a master in the orbit of Michelangelo of about 1570 and, further on, the altar Piccolomini, work of extreme maturity of the master Andrea Bregno of 1580 of exquisite elegance: was in the niche (Saints Gregory, Paul, Peter and Pius) are of the debutant Michelangelo executed three 1501 to 1504, which perhaps also led to the completion of the St. Francis begun by Pietro Torrigiani. The statue of the niche at the top is attributed to the young Jacopo della Quercia; the table framed by the marble ancona, the Madonna del Latte, is the work of Paolo di Giovanni Fei from 1381. Three altars follow, with paintings by Pietro Sorri from the late 16th century and Francesco Trevisani from the late 17th century inside. Against the internal facade I know is the Statue of Pope Marcello II by Domenico Cafaggi.

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