Frescoes in the Piccolomini Library of the Duomo in Siena
by PINTURICCHIO

In the recently restored Piccolomini Library Pinturicchio's fresco cycle is a rare example of a unified decoration of the early sixteenth century. Well-suited to Pinturicchio's skills and to a somewhat provincial Siena, his lyric style fits comfortably into the medieval setting of the Cathedral. The subject matter concerns incidents in the life of Pius II, the Sienese pope and humanist, an unusually complete program for someone neither a saint nor a ruler.

The donor of the library and its furnishings was Francesco Todeschini (1439-1503) who wished to create a monument to his family and a memorial to his mother's brother Enea Silvio Piccolomini who had served as Pope Pius II from 1458 to 1464. In 1460 Pius II elevated Todeschini to the rank of cardinal and permitted him to assume the Piccolomini name and the family's coat of arms. In 1503 Francesco succeeded Pope Alexander VI as Pius III but his reign was brief, he died twenty-six days later.

The contract for the decoration of the library was signed in the presence of Francesco Todeschini-Piccolomini on June 19, 1502 and the painting was finished in April 1508.

The source for the ten episodes from the life of Pius II was Pius II's autobiography, the famous Commentarii, written between 1462 and 1464. In addition to being the official life story of a pope, it is a fascinating political and historical chronicle. The narratives are illustrated with descriptive clarity, the figures precisely drawn, the unatmospheric landscape bright and sharply defined.

Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Entrance to the Piccolomini Library
1502-08
Fresco
Duomo, Siena

850*1103
True Color
204 Kb



The Coronation of Pope Pius III
1509
Fresco
Duomo, Siena

900*1089
True Color
239 Kb



View of the Piccolomini Library
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1101
True Color
247 Kb



View of the Piccolomini Library
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

800*1009
True Color
190 Kb



Ceiling decoration
1502-03
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

800*1045
True Color
249 Kb



Ceiling decoration (detail)
1502-03
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1016
True Color
220 Kb



Ceiling decoration (detail)
1502-03
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

1034*900
True Color
213 Kb



No. 1: Enea Piccolomini Leaves for the Council of Basel
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1283
True Color
274 Kb



No. 1: Enea Piccolomini Leaves for the Council of Basel
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

800*1479
True Color
220 Kb



No. 1: Enea Piccolomini Leaves for the Council of Basel (detail)
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1203
True Color
216 Kb



No. 2: Enea Piccolomini as an Ambassador to the Court of James I of Scotland
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1259
True Color
271 Kb



No. 3: Frederick III Crowning Enea Silvio Piccolomini with a Laurel Wreath
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

846*1325
True Color
266 Kb



No. 3: Frederick III Crowning Enea Silvio Piccolomini with a Laurel Wreath (detail)
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1187
True Color
213 Kb



No. 4: Homage to Pope Eugenius IV in the Name of Emperor Frederick III
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1153
True Color
240 Kb



Homage to Pope Eugenius IV in the Name of Emperor Frederick III
1502-08
Pen and brown ink with brown wash, 650 x 405 mm
Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth

750*1167
True Color
172 Kb



No. 5: Enea Silvio Piccolomini Presents Frederick III to Eleonora of Portugal
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1152
True Color
256 Kb



No. 5: Enea Silvio Piccolomini Presents Frederick III to Eleonora of Portugal (detail)
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1092
True Color
225 Kb



No. 5: Enea Silvio Piccolomini Presents Frederick III to Eleonora of Portugal (detail)
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

779*950
True Color
178 Kb



The Encounter between Frederick III and Eleonora of Portugal
-
Pen and brown ink with brown wash, 660 x 533 mm
The Morgan Library and Museum, New York

800*1049
True Color
160 Kb



No. 6: Enea Silvio is Elevated to Cardinal
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1259
True Color
261 Kb



No. 7: The Coronation of Enea Silvio Piccolomini as Pope Pius II
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1289
True Color
259 Kb



No. 7: The Coronation of Enea Silvio Piccolomini as Pope Pius II (detail)
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

840*1151
True Color
184 Kb



No. 8: Pope Pius II at the Congress of Mantua
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1065
True Color
237 Kb



No. 8: Pope Pius II at the Congress of Mantua
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1151
True Color
222 Kb



No. 9: The Canonization of Catherine of Siena by Pope Pius II
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1157
True Color
231 Kb



No. 9: The Canonization of Catherine of Siena by Pope Pius II (detail)
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

916*628
True Color
148 Kb



No. 10: Pope Pius II Arrives in Ancona
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1154
True Color
230 Kb



No. 10: Pope Pius II Arrives in Ancona (detail)
1502-08
Fresco
Piccolomini Library, Duomo, Siena

900*1090
True Color
208 Kb




Summary of paintings by PINTURICCHIO
Baglioni Chapel in Spello
Piccolomini Library in Siena
Borgia Appartments in the Vatican
Various frescoes and panels