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Three Frescoes from Palazzo del Magnifico, Siena

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These three paintings in fresco (painted directly on to wet plaster) once decorated the walls of a room in the Petrucci family palace in Siena. Each wall was painted with two frescoes, positioned on either side of a doorway or window. The ceiling, which can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, contained 20 frescoes of mythological scenes, divided by carved, painted and gilded stucco (plaster), produced by Pintoricchio and his workshop. At the centre was the Petrucci coat of arms, surrounded by flying putti (cherubs).

The frescoes were commissioned by Pandolfo Petrucci to celebrate the marriage of his son to the niece of Pope Pius III. The occasion provided an opportunity to show off his fashionable interest in classical history – through scenes from ancient Greek and Roman literature and history, the frescoes illustrate family values and the virtues important to marriage.

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