Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Piccolomini Library

Name: The Piccolomini Library

Posted by: Clinton Riddle

Location: Duomo di Siena, Siena, Italy

Any visitor to the Duomo of Siena should do himself or herself a favor and be sure to investigate the Piccolomini Library, which is reached via a portal on the left side of the cathedral's nave. The library houses beautifully
illuminated hymnbook and frescoes dating from 1502-1507 and painted by the Umbrian artist Bernardino di Betto, who was called Pinturicchio. These frescoes, however, were likely designed by Raphael. They tell the story of the life of Cardinal Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who eventually became Pope Pius II. At the center of the library stands a Roman statue of the Three Graces, a copy of the famous Greek original.

More intriguing than the frescoes, however, are the illuminations rendered upon the many choir books in the library. Some show instantly recognizable Biblical subjects, and some show more bizarre motifs. However, all are painted with a remarkable level of detail and craft, and most are in amazing condition.

Clinton Riddle

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