By Anne Leader
Lorenzo di Pietro di Giovanni – known as Il Vecchietta (little old woman) – died on 6 June 1480 in his native Siena. He was 70 years old. His training as an artist remains murky, but most art historians associate his formation with the painters Sassetta and Masolino. Vecchietta worked as a painter and a sculptor on both large and small scales. He participated in many of Siena’s major 15th-century commissions, including frescoes for the Ospedale della Scala, Cathedral (sacristy), Baptistery, and Palazzo Pubblico. He also excelled at three dimensional works, creating sculptures in silver, bronze, and painted wood. Rather extraordinary for an artist, but attesting to his success, Vecchietta designed a funerary chapel for himself and his wife in Santa Maria della Scala, for which he created a bronze Risen Christ that was later moved to the church’s high altar (against the artist’s testamentary wishes).
Reference: James David Draper. “Vecchietta.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.
The Resurrection, 1472, bronze, Henry Clay Frick Bequest, 1916.2.02
Risen Christ, c. 1476, bronze, Chiesa dell’Ospedale della Scala, Siena
The Vision of St Sorore, 1441, fresco, Pellegrinaio, Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala, Siena
Arliquiera (outer shutters), 1445, tempera on panel, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena
Pietà, 1445-50, painted wood, formerly S. Michele al Monte di San Donato, Museo diocesano, Siena
The Virgin of the Assumption with Saints, 1462-63, tempera on panel, Cathedral, Pienza