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Ambroggio Lorenzetti Essays

The Allegory of Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti is one of the very few secular pieces of artwork from the 14th century Italy. It’s secular nature makes for a compelling analysis alone; however, it also reveals great political, cultural and social progressions of 14th century Siena. I argue that Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good Government was a profound, and perhaps even revolutionary, piece considering the time and the subject matter of his fresco. I will begin by providing a detailed description and analysis of the fresco in its entirety and an examination of Ambrogio’s artistic style used in the fresco.
The Allegory of Good Government is located in Palazzo Pubblica in Siena and is one piece of a series frescoes depicting the good and bad government in the city and country of Siena. The foreground of the painting depicts the citizens of Siena and above them on a stage you can see figures that each represent aspects of good government. This fresco in particular is strategically placed on the wall that catches the most light in the Palazzo Pubblica personifying the concept of good government. It consists of three panels depicting modern Siena under good government in both urban and rural settings.
I will elaborate on specific characters in the painting, as well as heavy symbolism that reflect justice, power, wisdom and features of good government. Ambrogio employs a very naturalistic style to his work. The Allegory of Good Government is obviously set in Ambrogio’s modern Siena, portraying things as they were at the time conveying naturalism. Ambrogio had worked in Florence and was also a part of the Siena School of painters. Therefore, I will describe his influences from some of his fellow painters in the school, especially his brother Pietro.
There is an overwhelming sense of space and movement throughout the fresco. The movement is evident throughout the piece portrayed particularly by the citizens who are depicted with a sense of gesture and purpose. Perhaps the most intriguing aspects of this fresco is its implications about Siena in the 14th century, and how Ambrogio captures some of these political and social developments. I will focus on the secular nature of the painting seeing as this was a rare occurrence in the 14th century. I will also elaborate on how the painting reveals aspects of Sienese life at the time of the painting.
For instance, by contrasting the painting to the Allegory of Bad Government, Ambrogio stresses the necessity of strong social order and good government to the city of Siena. Lorenzetti captures the progression of Siena in these areas in the 14th century as the city begins to experience modern transformations. Most importantly, the fresco entertains political ideas and concepts when the majority of work during this time was overwhelmingly religious. This is revealing of Ambrogio as an artist in the 14th century and why this fresco in particular is so significant. Preliminary Bibliography Frugoni, C. Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
Florence, 1988. This book contains works by both Lorenzetti brothers and also insight on their relationship together. I will find this book very useful for my research on the influences of Pietro on Ambrogio’s art. It also is an excellent source for understanding Ambrogio’s stylistic approach, and contains information specifically about the Allegory of Good Government. Starn, R. Ambrogio Lorenzetti: The Palazzo Pubblico Siena. New York, 1994. This book is going to be integral to my research for my paper. It contains a plethora of information about all of Ambrogio’s work in the Pallazzo Pubblico in Siena.
It will help me in so many aspects of my paper, but especially to provide an accurate description of the fresco and insight on Ambrogio’s process and inspirations for his work. Steinhoff, J. Sienese Painting After the Black Death: Artistic Pluralism, Politics and the New Art Market. Cambridge, 2007. This book focuses on the political, economic and artistic climate of Siena in the 14th century. This will be extremely useful for my research on Siena during the time of Ambrogio’s fresco. I will help me provide a comparison and analysis on Ambrogio’s work, and whether it accurately depicts Siena in the 14th century.
Southard, E. The Frescoes in Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico, 1289-1539: Studies in Imagery and Relations to other Communal Palaces in Tuscany. Michigan, 1982. This book will greatly benefit my research on the Palazzo Pubblico and Siena. It contains extensive details about Ambrogio’s work inside the Palazzo Pubblico and will help me answer why this work is so revolutionary compared to the other art of his time, and how it separates itself from the other art in the 14th century. Essay Proposal Essay Topic #9 – Ambrogio Lorenzetti and the Allegory of Good Government Jaklynn Nimec 0947148 Art History 3S03 January 25, 2012

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