The Maestà in the Sala del Mappamondo, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena (1315)
by SIMONE MARTINI

The imposing fourteenth-century Sienese painting of the Maestà by Simone Martini is on the east wall of the Sala del Mappamondo (formerly known as Sala del Consiglio), the principal council hall of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.

The Sala del Consiglio was constructed between 1304 and 1310, as part of the upper story of the central wing of the building. The first frescoes were executed soon after it was completed. The first version of the Virgin with Child Enthroned between Saints and Angels was completed in June 1315. Six years later the heads and in some cases the hands of eight figures were entirely redone. The reasons behind this intervention are not known.

The end wall of the hall is entirely covered by this fresco. Surrounded by a frame decorated with twenty medallions depicting the Blessing Christ, the Prophets and the Evangelists and with smaller shields containing the coat-of-arms of Siena, the fresco shows a host of angels, Saints and Apostles, with the Madonna and Child in the centre. The whole scene, set against a deep blue background, is surmounted by an imposing canopy of red silk.

Damage to the fresco over time was caused by the storage of salt in basement rooms beneath the fresco. Moisture carried the salt up through the inner walls of the building and caused crystals to form beneath the surface of the paint. These pushed the pigment forward and damaged the structural integrity of the plaster.

Preview Picture Data Info
Maestà (Madonna with Angels and Saints)
1315
Fresco, 763 x 970 cm
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco, 99 x 85 cm (size of detail)
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco, 79 x 65 cm (size of detail)
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco, 79 x 65 cm (size of detail)
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail of the medallions)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail of the medallions)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail of the medallions)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (detail of the medallions)
1315
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


View of the Sala del Mappamondo (east wall)
-
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


View of the Sala del Mappamondo (east wall)
-
Fresco
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (Virgin with Child Enthroned between Saints and Angels)
1315
Fresco, 763 x 970 cm
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena


Maestà (Virgin with Child Enthroned between Saints and Angels)
1315
Fresco, 763 x 970 cm
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena



Summary of paintings by Simone Martini
Early works | The Maestà | Frescoes in the Lower Church, Assisi
Guidoriccio da Fogliano | The Annunciations | Last works
Altarpieces
Altar of St Louis of Toulouse | Cambridge Altarpiece | Pisa Polyptych
Orvieto Polyptych | Agostino Novello Altarpiece | Orsini Polyptych
Altarpiece of the Cappella dei Signori



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