The Early Modern World, C. 1300–1600


Who were the Lorenzetti brothers?

The Lorenzetti brothers were Sienese painters who were influenced by the work of Duccio, the “father of Sienese painting.” Pietro (c.1280–c.1348) and Ambrogio (d. c. 1348) are known for their simple, yet noble paintings and innovations in creating a sense of real space in their work. Ambrogio painted monumental frescoes depicting an allegory of both good and bad government in Siena’s main civic building, the Palazzo Publico, in 1338. The Allegory of Good Government in the City visually describes the benefits of a just government on its people by depicting an idealized Siena. The complex fresco, filled with beautiful, multicolored buildings and allegorical figures, achieves a natural sense of scale between the figures and the environment. On a nearby wall in the Palazzo, the Allegory of Bad Government in the City shows what can happen when a city loses its way; the personified figures of Avarice, Pride, and Glory lurk above the head of a brutish ruler while the people of the city suffer.


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