By Staff Reporter 9:05 pm PST
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Taddeo di Bartolo (1362 or 1363 – August 26, 1422), also known as Taddeo Bartoli, was an Italian painter of the Sienese School during the early Renaissance. He was active in Pisa, Perugia, San Gimignano, and Volterra, his native city. He is among the artists profiled in Vasari’s Le Vite delle più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori (in English, Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects).

Taddeo, son of the barber Bartolo di Mino, was under 25 in 1386 when he was first recorded, painting statuettes of angels for the new choir-stalls in Siena Cathedral. His earliest dated work is the polyptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints, painted for the chapel of S Paolo at Collegarli, near San Miniato al Tedesco.

The thin, elegant figures and curvilinear drapery patterns show aspects of Taddeo’s early style to be linked with the works of the preceding generation of Sienese painters, and, like his contemporaries, he looked back to earlier models by Simone Martini and the Lorenzetti. He is noteworthy for his series of frescos on Roman Republican heroes and civic Virtues (1406-14) in the Palazzo Pubblico, in Siena. His style was conservative, but these frescos in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena are forward-looking in subject—early examples of the type of famous men cycle that became popular in the Renaissance.

Taddeo di Bartolo was born in Siena. Much of his early work was in Pisa, where he was responsible for the frescoes of Paradise and Hell in the Cathedral there, and for paintings in the Palazzo Pubblico and the church of San Francesco.

Taddeo di Bartolo, Self portrait as St Thaddeus, detail of the altar panel Assumption of the Virgin, Montepulciano, Duomo

At the Collegiata di San Gimignano, Taddeo painted a fresco depicting the Last Judgment. A painting by Taddeo of Saint Gimignano holding the town in his lap (c. 1391) may be seen at the Museo Civico there.

A triptcyh of the Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist and St Andrew, painted around 1395, is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. A massive triptych, Assumption of the Virgin, painted in 1401, is situated in the 16th century Duomo of Santa Maria dell’Assunta at Montepulciano.

Taddeo’s Madonna with Child, Four Angels and Saint John the Baptist and Saint Andrew may be seen in the Oratory of the Company of Saint Catherine of the Night, at Santa Maria della Scala, Siena. He also painted allegories and figures from Roman history (1413–14), and the Funeral of the Virgin (1409) at the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.

A Madonna and Child (c. 1400), painted with tempera and oil on a panel, is located in the Wadsworth Atheneum. Another Madonna and Child is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California, and yet another Madonna and Child is housed in the Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon, France. Taddeo di Bartolo died at Siena at about age 60.

The Pallazzo Publicco in Siena

Restoration of the republic after 1404 enabled the Priors towards an extensive embellishment of the Pallazzo Publico. (…) Among the first of the commissions for the building was the redecoration of the chapel holding a Maesta from 1302 by Duccio and located next to the room in which Simone Martini had painted his Maesta.

Cesar and Pompey, 1414, fresco Palazzo Publico, Antechapel, Siena

In 1406-07 Taddeo di Bartolo (1362/63 Siena-1422 Siena), perhaps a student of Bartolo di Fredi (see Fig. 5.17), decorated its walls with frescoes and scenes from the life of the Virgin, the city’s patron saint. (…) In 1413-14 the Priors again turned to Taddeo di Bartolo to paint a cycle of paintings for the antechapel of the Palazzo Publico, a space that functioned as an important passage between other rooms of the palace. On one wall, shown in the picture benearth, Taddeo painted allegories of Justice and Magnanimity under the two arches. Beneath each he placed a figure from Roman history exemplifying the concept.

Madonna with child & goldfinch, Siena, Night Oratory of Santa Caterina (Image: Peter/.flickr)
Madonna with child & goldfinch, Siena, Night Oratory of Santa Caterina (Image: Peter/.flickr)

Below Justice (at left) there are Cicero, M. Porcius Cato, and P. Scipio Nasica; below Magnanimity (at right) Curius Dentatus, Furius Camillus, and Scipio Africanus. Each group of Roman heroes is labeled with an inscription in Latin, and each figure bears a further Latin Inscription below his feet. The inscriptions between M. Curius Dentatus and F. Furius Camillus claim them as founders of Siena, while others under Cicero and Cato speak of their fight for liberty and justice.

Madonna and Child, with Four Angels, St. John the Baptist, St. Andrew, dated 1400, by Taddeo di Bartolo, Oratory of the Company of Saint Catherine of the Night, Santa Maria della Scala, Siena.

Oratory of the Company of Saint Catherine of the Night

Besides the numerous paintings, carvings, reliquaries and decorations, the company conserves a beautiful table by Taddeo di Bartolo portraying the Madonna with Child, Four Angels and Saint John the Baptist and Saint Andrew, dated 1400

Taddeo Di Bartolo, Allegories and figures from Roman History, detail of the adulterers and The Lustful, 1413-14, fresco, 270 x 320 cm (each lunette) Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

 

Taddeo Di Bartolo, Allegories from Roman History, Justice and Magnanimity

The Allegories of Justice and Magnanimity (1413-14), Justice with Cicero, M. Porcius Cato, and P. Scipio Nasica and Magnanimity with Curius Dentatus, Furius Camillus, and Scipio Africanuswere commissioned by the Priors from Taddeo di Bartolo for the Antechapel in Palazzo Publico in Siena. On one wall, shown in this picture, Taddeo painted allegories of Justice and Magnanimity under the two arches; beneath each he placed a figure from Roman history exemplifying the concept. Each group of Roman heroes is labeled with an inscription in Latin, and each figure bears a further Latin Inscription below his feet. The inscriptions between M. Curius Dentatus and F. Furius Camillus claim them as founders of Siena, while others under Cicero and Cato speak of their fight for liberty and justice.

At the Collegiata di San Gimignano

St. Geminianus Enthroned, life and miracles. Polyptych, Civic Museums, San Gimignano

At the Collegiata di San Gimignano, Taddeo painted a fresco depicting the Last Judgment. A painting by Taddeo of Saint Gimignano holding the town in his lap may be seen at the Museo Civico there.The Duomo or Collegiate Church of San Gimignano (Santa Maria Assunta) is situated on the west side of the Piazza del Duomo. The Collegiata is the main church of San Gimignano. It was once the Duomo (cathedral), but since San Gimignano no longer has a bishop it has reverted to the status of a collegiate church.

Taddeo Di Bartolo, The Last Judgement, detail of the adulterers and The Lustful, c.1394, San Gimignano, Collegiata

The Romanesque interior is famous for its lavish frescoes, which almost entirely cover the walls. The arcades are of black and white striped marble. In the centre is a large fresco of St Sebastian by Benozzo Gozzoli (1465), commissioned after the plague had hit the town in 1464. A fresco cycle by Taddeo di Bartolo depicts the Last Judgement in gruesome detail. There are also cycles of the Old Testament by Bartolo di Fredi (1356–1367) and the New Testament, traditionally attributed to Barna da Siena (who supposedly died in a fall from the scaffolding while painting them), but possibly by Lippo Memmi.