LORENZETTI, Pietro
(b. ca. 1280, Siena, d. 1348, Siena)

The Birth of Mary

1342
Tempera on wood, 188 x 183 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

Formally a triptych, in fact it is a single scene. In the centre St. Anne in a position similar to the Etruscan sarcophags. The composition is Byzantine but the painting as a whole is Italian showing the influence of Giotto.

The framework structure of the panel shows the walls and supporting uprights of a house with the front wall removed. The rooms are shown in convincing perspective, with the anteroom on the left giving access to a tall, Gothic inner courtyard. In the main room St Anne, who has just given birth, is lying in bed while midservants wash the newborn Mary. The child's aged father Joachim is receiving the happy news from a boy in the anteroom.

It is signed and dated, the inscription on the frame below the central panel is: PETRUS LAURENTII DE SENIS ME PINXIT MCCCXLII.