(b. ca. 1280, Siena, d. 1348, Siena)


c. 1320
Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi

The picture shows one of the scenes from the life of Christ painted by Pietro Lorenzetti on the vault of the south arm of the western transept of the Lower Church. This scene is much larger than the others of the series, it occupies the east wall.

On this wall Pietro created an epic staging of Golgotha. The crosses are set against an enormous void of deep blue, with Christ, more than life-size, arching over our heads. This is the most ambitious of all pre-Renaissance crowd scenes; it comprises some fifty figures, each strongly differentiated. The hill presents a vast, crowded panorama: the familiar cast of the disciples and followers are grouped around the swooning Madonna, but they are all in turn encircled by mounted soldiery. The soldiers, raised up, dominate the crowd, embodying a whole spectrum of responses - ranging from the two smiling friends on the left, their horses engaged in animated flirtation, to the dramatically silhouetted centurion, Longinus, already haloed in the moment of his conversion.