(b. 1410, Siena, d. 1480, Siena)


Vecchietta (Lorenzo di Pietro di Giovanni), one of the outstanding Sienese artists of the 15th century, a painter, sculptor, architect, and military engineer. He was formerly believed to have been born c. 1412 in the Tuscan town of Castiglione d'Orcia, but in 1970 he was identified with the Lorenzo di Pietro di Giovanni who was baptized in Siena in 1410. He was probably trained by Sassetta, but he also came under the influence of Florentine art and his large-scale paintings have a monumentality rare in Siena in the quattrocento. As a sculptor he worked in wood and marble and late in his career in bronze, this change in medium reflecting the influence of Donatello, who was in Siena 1457-59. The Risen Christ (Sta Maria della Scala, Siena, 1476) has something of Donatello's sinewy expressiveness. Donatello's influence may also account for the strength and plasticity of Vecchietta's later paintings, such as the St Catherine in the Town Hall, Siena, and the Assumption in Pienza Cathedral, both dating from 1461/2. Another side to Vecchietta's talent is seen in his delightful illuminations in a manuscript of Dante's Divine Comedy (British Library, London, c.1440).