Home Research Books Siena and the Virgin: Art and Politics in a Late-Medieval City State

Siena and the Virgin: Art and Politics in a Late-Medieval City State

Celebrating the Virgin Mary as both an object of religious devotion and a focus of civic pride, fourteenth-century artists established within their city a vibrant pictorial tradition that continued into the early decades of the next century. Such celebratory images of the Virgin were also common in Siena’s extensive subject territories, the contado . This richly illustrated book explores late medieval Marian art – how it was commissioned, created and understood by the Sienese. Examining political, economic and cultural relations between Siena and the contado, Diana Norman offers a new understanding of Marian art and its political function as an expression of Sienese civic ideology. ‘Highly informative, well argued ... this is a volume which ought to be read not merely by art historians, but by anyone interested in manifestations of late medieval religion, or with an interest in the construction and functioning of civic mentalities in late medieval Italy’ (R.N. Swanson, University of Birmingham, The Heythrop Journal, October, 2000, p. 494) ‘The particular merit of the book is to broaden the scope of general inquiry by encouraging the study of Sienese art in a fuller context, and by concentrating on material beyond the confines of Siena, and the time limit of the Black Death. This volume will surely draw more enthusiasts into the study and enjoyment of the art not only of Siena itself, but also of its contado’. (J. Cannon, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, The Burlington Magazine, vol. 142, August 2000, p. 507).