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Everyone shall
go forth freely
without fear.

Lorenzetti’s​ ​​The​ ​Allegory​ ​of​ ​Good​ ​Government

In the allegorical representation of Good Government, the prosperous townspeople are trading and dancing in the streets. Beyond the city walls is a lush countryside in which crops are harvested.

In the allegory of Bad Government, crime is rampant and diseased citizens roam a crumbling city. The countryside suffers from drought.

1290 – 1348 CE

Ambrogio Lorenzetti was an Italian painter of the Sienese school. He was active between approximately from 1317 to 1348. Although having done work in Florence, Ambrogio Lorenzetti was known within the Sienese School of painters. This school of painting from Siena, Italy, was an elegant style that was said to rival, at time, even the Florentine painters throughout the 13th and 15th centuries.

The aim of the Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government is to exalt the political creed of the government of the Nove, who were Guelphs and retained power in Siena until 1355. It elaborates on two themes already foreshadowed in the inscriptions on the Maestà of Simone Martini: that of Justice on the one hand, and on the other the subordination of private interests to those of the common good, according to a concept of Aristotelian origin that was expressed in the work of St. Thomas Aquinas and popularized in the early 14th century by the Dominican friar Remigio de’ Girolami. The painting works essentially on two levels, one allegorical and symbolic and other concerned with description and exemplification, while whole cycle covers three walls of the great hall. On the wall opposite the window, 7.7 metres long, is Allegory of Good Government. This is personified by the Commune, represented by a venerabie old dressed in the colours of the Balzana, the black and white Sienese coat-of-arms, seated on a throne and surrounded by the four Cardinal Virtues and by Magnanimity and Peace. Homage is being paid to these figures by twenty-four citizens (in memory of the government of the Twenty-Four, which between 1236 and 1270 marked the entry of the common people into the government of the Commune, though they are also symbolic representations of the various civic officers and magistrates), and these are linked by two woven cords (“concordes”) which Conrord gathers up from under the scales of Justice at the instigation of Wisdom. Above Good Government are the three Theological Virtues, and at bis feet is the she-wolf with the twins Romulus and Remus, an allusion to the Roman origins of Siena. On the right are fully-armoured knights and foot-soldiers symbolizing the Flanking the Allegory are two other paintings on perpendicular walls: Effects of Good Government and Effects of Bad Government. Both these frescoes depict a recognizable view of Siena and its countryside.

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Palazzo Pubblico | Siena, Italy

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2020 | Present