(b. 1280/85, Siena, d. 1344, Avignon)

View of the Sala del Mappamondo (east wall)

Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

The picture shows a view of the Sala del Mappamondo (formerly known as Sala del Consiglio) with the imposing fourteenth-century Sienese painting of the Maestà by Simone Martini on the east wall of the principal council hall of the Palazzo Pubblico.

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.

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.

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