DOMENICO DI BARTOLO
(b. ca. 1400, Asciano, d. ca. 1447, Siena)
Rearing and Marrying of Female Foundlings1442
Fresco, height c. 450 cm
Pellegrinaio, Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala, Siena
This fresco is located in the 3rd bay on the west wall of the Pellegrinaio in the Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala. The Pellegrinaio, situated on the ground floor of the hospital, is a fourteenth-century room which took the form of a long vaulted hall.
In the four scenes on the west wall, painted by Domenico di Bartolo, we find large numbers of figures gathered in a stagelike foreground and engaged in the various good works assigned to the hospital by statute in 1305. The settings for these depictions of everyday work of the hospital may reproduce actual spaces within the complex. For all their realism, the scenes are highly idealised.
The present scene records some of the hospital's main activities, which are clearly set out in the surviving fourteenth-century statutes.