LORENZETTI, Italian family of painters

Two members of this Sienese family, the brothers Pietro Lorenzetti and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, were artists. While Ghiberti regarded Ambrogio as the greatest of Sienese 14th-century painters, he was apparently unaware of Pietro's existence. Vasari, who misread the inscription on a panel of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Angels (Florence, Uffizi) as Petrus Laurati de Senis, did not recognize Pietro's connection with Ambrogio. The fraternal relationship was specified, however, in a lost inscription below frescoes on the façade of the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, Siena: HOC OPUS FECIT PETRUS LAURENTII ET AMBROSIUS EIUS FRATER M.CCC.XXX.V. There is also evidence that the brothers borrowed tools from each other, although it is unlikely that they collaborated regularly or that they maintained a joint workshop over any lengthy period. There is no doubt that they shared artistic ideas and ambitions, not so much as a result of their family connection, but because they were both major masters and exponents of naturalism. Both painters' innovations were too radical to be assimilated by their immediate followers, but they foreshadow developments in the 15th century.