(b. ca. 1400, Asciano, d. ca. 1447, Siena)

Reception of Pilgrims and Distribution of Alms

Fresco, height c. 450 cm
Pellegrinaio, Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala, Siena

This fresco is located in the 4th 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 scene of the Reception of Pilgrims is set in the interior of the hospital-church, which is reproduced with great realism. Pilgrims are streaming into the church through the right-hand door, whereas the open centre door allows us to see the portal of the cathedral just across the street.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.