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Lorenzo di Pietro Vecchietta
Painter, sculptor, goldsmith, and architect, b. at Castiglione di Val d'Orcia, 1412; d. there, 1480. He is said to have been the pupil of Taddeo Bartoli and Giacomo della Quercia. In sculpture he was influenced largely by Donatello, with whom he came into personal contact; in painting he adhered to the traditions of Siena. His noblest work is at the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, Siena, to which he gave a chapel dedicated to Our Lady and decorated with painting and sculpture by his own hand. The frescoes include an Annunciation, a Nativity, a Last Judgment, all badly damaged, and an allegory of the Ladder with children ascending to heaven, which records the tradition of a local foundation and gives its name to the institution. Over the high altar is the striking bronze figure of the Risen Christ keyed to Donatello's harsher manner, also two angels bearing candles. The fine bronze tabernacle was removed by Pandelfo Petrucci and is upon the high altar of the cathedral. A series of frescoes in the Baptistery of S. Giovanni were executed with the assistance of pupils, but much is identified as Vecchietta's own; the Evangelists, the Four Articles of the Creed, the Assumption, containing some lovely angels' heads, and symbolical figures of Virtues. In the Galleria di belle Arti are a Madonna and some minor works; a St. Martin in the Palazzo Saracini; two panels in the Palazzo Publico, a sermon and miracle of St. Bernardino (sometime attributed to di Giorgio), and a beautiful Our Lady of Pity. The ascetic and rather formal figures of Sts. Peter and Paul in the old Mercanzia, Loggie de' Nobili, date about 1458 to 1460. A silver bust or statute of St. Catherine of Siena, known to have been made by Vecchietta at the time of the saint's canonization, disappeared after the siege of Siena (1555). Outside Siena the artist's chief painting, an Assumption, of (1451), is in the church at Pienza; in Florence a Madonna panel and the bronze tomb statute of Marianus Soccinus the Elder (removed from S. Domenico, Siena), a noted Sienese jurisconsult, are in the Uffizi. Vecchietta was the master of Francesco di Giorgio and Neroccio.
PERKINS, Tuscan Sculptors (London, 1864); LUBKE, History of Sculpture, tr. BUNNETT (London, 1872); DOUGLAS, History of Siena (London, 1902); HEYWOOD and OLCOTT, Guide to Siena (Siena, 1904); SEYMOUR, Siena and her Artists (Philadelphia, 1907).
M. L. Handley.