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Il Museo Civico - top city museum

  • Il Museo Civico - top city museum

    This magnificent city museum (currently closed for restoration) houses some of the city’s greatest treasures. Siena’s city council once met in the vast Sala del Mappamondo, although the huge globe that then graced the walls has disappeared. The Museo Civico showcases medieval city art with a moral message for all masters. Here, too, is Simone Martini’s Maestà, a dreamy Madonna seated on a filigree throne.  Bringing us down to earth is a portrait of a medieval mercenary, the haughty Guidoriccio. Siena has always hedged her bets. This ¬diamond-spangled condottiero (mercenary) is reproduced on cal¬en¬dars and panforte boxes. But in recent years, despite Sienese denials, doubts have been cast on the authenticity of the fresco. Art historians maintain that a smaller painting uncovered below the huge panel is Martini’s original, and that the work we see was executed long after the artist’s death. Instead, Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government, painted in 1338, shows prosperity as a patchwork of neat fields and busy hoers. Bad Government is a desolate place, razed to the ground by a diabolical tyrant, the Sienese she-wolf at his feet. The realism and vivid facial expressions give the allegory emotional resonance.

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