Sassetta was the pioneering artist in Siena at the beginning of the fifteenth century and the Madonna della Neve altarpiece (1430-1432) stands out as his most innovative work. It adorned an altar in Siena Cathedral, for which it had been commisioned by Ludovica Bertini, the widow of a former head of the cathedral-works.
Stemming from a wealth of new archival discoveries, this book explores the personal motivation of the patroness, her family and her social network, and subsequent implications of such for Sassetta’s altarpiece and his career. Sassetta’s Madonna della Neve is the most potent example of a series of altarpieces that would topple the traditional civic and episcopal monopoly of patronage in Siena Cathedral, making way for an individual stake by private patrons and heralding a spiritual and artistic renaissance in the city.
Paperback, 2003, 248 pp., 76 ill., 16 ill. in kleur