(b. 1290, Siena, d. 1348, Siena)


Lorenzetti, two 14th-century Italian painters who were brothers. Pietro and Ambrogio, born in Siena, belonged to the Sienese school dominated by the stylized Byzantine tradition developed by Duccio di Buoninsegna and Simone Martini. They were the first Sienese to adopt the dramatic quality of the Tuscan sculptor Giovanni Pisano and the naturalistic approach of the Florentine painter Giotto. In their experiments with three-dimensional, spatial arrangements, the brothers, particularly Ambrogio, foreshadowed the art of the Renaissance.

Pietro (circa 1280-1348) was the more traditional of the two brothers, showing harmony, refinement, and detail but also dramatic emotion. his work includes the altarpiece Madonna and Child with Saints (1320, Santa Maria Della Pieve, Arezzo), dramatic frescoes in the lower Church of San Francisco in Assisi, and the calmer, later masterpiece the Birth of the Virgin (c. 1342, Opera del Duomo, Siena).

Ambrogio (1290-1348), more realistic, inventive, and influential than Pietro, is best known for the fresco cycles Good Government and Bad Government (1338-39, Palazzo Publico, Siena), remarkable for their depiction of character and of the Sienese scene. He also painted Presentation in the Temple (1342, Uffizi, Florence) and Annunciation (1344, Pinacoteca, Siena).