Pinacoteca Nazionale

Top choice in Siena

Siena's recently renovated art gallery, housed in 14th-century Palazzo Buonsignori since 1932, is home to an extraordinary collection of Gothic masterpieces from the Sienese school. These include works by Guido da Siena, Duccio (di Buoninsegna), Simone Martini, Niccolò di Segna, Lippo Memmi, Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti, Bartolo di Fredi, Taddeo di Bartolo and Sano di Pietro. The museum's re-opening date is yet to be announced.

The collection demonstrates the gulf cleaved between artistic life in Siena and Florence in the 15th century. While the Renaissance flourished 70km to the north, Siena's masters and their patrons remained firmly rooted in the Byzantine and Gothic precepts born of the early 13th century. Religious images and episodes predominate, typically pasted lavishly with gold and partially lacking the advances in painting (perspective, emotion, movement) that artists in Florence were exploring. That's not to say that the works here are second-rate – many are among the most beautiful and important creations of their time.

Artworks to hunt out include Duccio's Madonna and Child and Madonna with Child and Four Saints; Simone Martini's Madonna della misericordia and Madonna with Child, Madonna and Child and Blessed Agostino altarpiece; Bartolo di Fredi's huge and utterly magnificent Adoration of the Magi; Lippo Memmi's Madonnna col Bambino; Ambrogio Lorenzetti's luminous Annunciation and Madonna with Child; Pietro Lorenzetti's Madonna Enthroned with Saint Nicholas and the Prophet Elijah; Taddeo di Bartolo's The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary; and Jacopo della Quercia's Angelo annunciante.

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