UNKNOWN MASTER, Italian
(active in 1500s in Siena)
Tempera on panel. 77 x 45 cm
Collezione Chigi Saracini, Siena
There was a particularly popular form of art in Renaissance Siena which was used as a means of representing approved norms of contemporary female behaviour. It characteristically took the form of a series of panel paintings, usually three in number, each showing a single full-length figure of a woman. An example is the three paintings in the Chigi Saraceni collection depicting three famous exemplary women - one from the Old Testament and two from classical history: the Jewish heroine Judith, the Carthaginian heroine Sophonisba, and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Each woman is represented with objects relating to the cause of her fame.
The unknown artist who painted these panels is referred to as the Master of the Chigi Saraceni Heroines.