BARTOLO DI FREDI
(b. ca. 1330, Siena, d. ca. 1410, Siena)
The Adoration of the Magi1385-88
Tempera on panel, 195 x 163 cm
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena
This altarpiece was commissioned for the cathedral of Siena.
Bartolo di Fredi was one of the most popular masters in Siena in the second half of the fourteenth century. He maintained a large workshop. He was influenced by both Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti, and following late Gothic inspirations he developed his style on this basis.
The Adoration of the Magi is characterized by a lively dynamism like in Lorenzetti's paintings. The only tranquil detail is Mary sitting with the Child on the right side. The three kings arrive with a big accompaniment from the left. The big striped hats in the hands of the members of the accompaniment is well known from the St Martin fresco cycle of Simone Martini in Assisi. The background scene is a reference to the long journey of the kings between cities and mountains. The walled city is Siena with the black and white striped Cathedral and the bell-tower. No organic connection can be observed between the foreground and background.