Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/68

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
53
SIENA

marshal of France. Meanwhile Siena was vigorously besieged, and its inhabitants, sacrificing everything for their beloved city, maintained a most heroic defence. A glorious record of their sufferings is to be found in the Diary of Sozzini, the Sienese historian, and in the Commentaries of Blaise de Monluc, the French representative in Siena. But in April 1555 the town was reduced to extremity and was forced to capitulate to the emperor and the duke. On 21st April the Spanish troops entered the gates; thereupon many patriots abandoned the city and, taking refuge at Montalcino, maintained there a shadowy form of republic until 1559.

Cosimo I. de' Medici being granted the investiture of the Sienese state by the patent of Philip II. of Spain, dated 3rd July 1557, took formal possession of the city on the 19th of the same month. A lieutenant-general was appointed as representative of his authority; the council of the balia was reconstituted with twenty members chosen by the duke; the consistory and the general council were left in existence but deprived of their political autonomy. Thus Siena was annexed to the Florentine state under the same ruler and became an integral part of the grand-duchy of Tuscany. Nevertheless it retained a separate administration for more than two centuries, until the general reforms of the grand-duke Pietro Leopoldo, the French domination, and finally the restoration swept away all differences between the Sienese and Florentine systems of government. In 1859. Siena was the first Tuscan city that voted for annexation to Piedmont and the monarchy of Victor Emmanuel II., this decision (voted 26th June) being the initial step towards the unity of Italy.

Literary History.—The literary history of Siena, while recording no gifts to the world equal to those bequeathed by Florence, and without the power and originality by which the latter became the centre of Italian culture, can nevertheless boast of some illustrious names. Of these a brief summary, beginning with the department of general literature and passing on to history and science, is subjoined. Many of them are also dealt with in separate articles, to which the reader is referred.

As early as the 13th century the vulgar tongue was already well established at Siena, being used in public documents, commercial records and private correspondence. The poets flourishing at that period were Folcacchiero, Secco Angiolieri—a humorist of a very high order—and Bindo Bonichi, who belonged also to the following century. The chief glory of the 14th century was St Catherine Benincasa. The year of her death (1380) was that of the birth of St Bernardino Albizzeschi (S Bernardino of Siena), a popular preacher whose sermons in the vulgar tongue are models of style and diction. To the 15th century belongs Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius II.), humanist, historian and political writer. In the 16th century we find another Piccolomini (Alexander), bishop of Patras, author of a curious dialogue, Della bella creanza delle donne; another bishop, Claudio Tolomei, diplomatist, poet and philologist, who revived the use of ancient Latin metres ; and Luca Contile, a writer of narratives, plays and poems. Prose fiction had two representatives in this century—Scipione Bargagli, a writer of some merit, and Pietro Fortini, whose productions were trivial and indecent. In the 17th century we find Ludovico Sergardi (Quinto Settano), a Latinist and satirical writer of much talent and culture; but the most original and brilliant figure in Sienese literature is that of Girolamo Gigli (1660–1722), author of the Gazzettino, La Sorellina di Don Pilone, Il Vocabolario cateriniano and the Diario ecclesiastico. As humorist, scholar and philologist, Gigli would take a high place in the literature of any land. His resolute opposition to all hypocrisy—whether religious or literary—exposed him to merciless persecution from the Jesuits and the Delia Cruscan Academy.

In the domain of history we have first the old Sienese chronicles, which down to the 14th century are so confused that it is almost impossible to disentangle truth from fiction or even to decide the personality of the various authors. Three 14th-century chronicles, attributed to Andrea Dei, Agnolo di Tura, called Il Grasso, and Neri di Donati, are published in Muratori (vol.xv.). To the 15th century belongs the chronicle of Allegretto Allegretti, also in Muratori (vol. xxiii.) ; and during the same period flourished Sigismondo Tizio (a priest of Siena, though born at Castiglione Aretino), whose voluminous history written in Latin and never printed (now among the MSS. of the Chigi Library in Rome), though devoid of literary merit, contains much valuable material. The best Sienese historians belong to the 16th century. They are Orlando Malavolti (1515–1596) , a man of noble birth, the most trustworthy of all; Antonio Bellarmati; Alessandro Sozzini di Girolamo, the sympathetic author of the Diario dell' ultima guerra senese; and Giugurta Tommasi, of whose tedious history ten books, down to 1354, have been published, the rest being still in manuscript. Together with these historians we must mention the learned scholars Celso Cittadini (d. 1627), Ulberto Benvoglienti (d. 1733), one of Muratori's correspondents, and Gio. Antonio Picci (d. 1768), author of histories of Pandolfo Petrucci and the bishopric of Siena. In the same category may be classed the librarian C. F. Carpellini (d. 1872), author of several monographs on the origin of Siena and the constitution of the republic, and Scipione Borghesi (d. 1877), who has left a precious store of historical, biographical and bibliographical studies and documents.

In theology and philosophy the most distinguished names are: Bernardino Ochino and Lelio and Fausto Soccini (16th century) ; in jurisprudence, three Soccini: Mariano senior, Bartolommeo and Mariano junior (15th and 16th centuries); and in political economy, Sallustio Bandini (1677–1760), author of the Discorso sulla Ma- remma. In physical science the names most worthy of mention are those of the botanist Pier Antonio Mattioli (1501-1572), of Pirro Maria Gabrielli (1643-1705), founder of the academy of the Physio- critics, and of the anatomist Paolo Mascagni (d. 1825).

Art.—Lanzi happily designates Sienese painting as " Lieta scuola fra lieto popolo " (" the blithe school of a blithe people "). The special characteristics of its masters are freshness of colour, vivacity of expression and distinct originality. The Sienese school of painting owes its origin to the influence of Byzantine art; but it improved that art, impressed it with a special stamp and was for long independent of all other influences. Consequently Sienese art seemed almost stationary amid the general progress and development of the other Italian schools, and preserved its medieval character down to the end of the 15th century, when the influence of the Umbrian and—to a slighter degree—of the Florentine schools began to penetrate into Siena, followed a little later by that of the Lombard. In the 13th century we find Guido (da Siena), painter of the well- known Madonna in the church of S Domenico in Siena. The 14th century gives us Ugolino, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone di Martino (or Memmi), Lippo Memmi, Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Andrea di Vanni (painter and statesman), Bartolo di Fredi and Taddeo di Bartolo. In the 15th century we have Domenico di Bartolo, Sano di Pietro, Giovanni di Paolo, Stefano di Giovanni (Il Sassetta) and Matteo and Benvenuto di Giovanni Bartoli, who fell, however, behind their contemporaries elsewhere, and made indeed but little progress. The 16th century boasts the names of Bernardino Fungai, Guidoccio Cossarelli, Giacomo Pacchiarotto, Girolamo del Pacchia and especially Baldassare Peruzzi (1481–1537), who while especially celebrated for his frescoes and studies in perspective and chiaroscuro was also an architect of considerable attainments (see Rome) ; Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, otherwise known as Il Sodoma (1477–1549), who, born at Vercelli in Piedmont, and trained at Milan in the school of Leonardo da Vinci, came to Siena in 1504 and there produced some of his finest works, while his influence on the art of the place was considerable; Domenico Beccafumi, otherwise known as Micharino (1486–1550), noted for the Michelangelesque daring of his designs; and Francesco Vanni.

There may also be mentioned many sculptors and architects, such as Lorenzo Maitani, architect of Orvieto cathedral (end of 13th century); Camaino di Crescentino; Tino di Camaino, sculptor of the monument to Henry VII. in the Campo Santo of Pisa; Agostino and Agnolo, who in 1330 carved the fine tomb of Bishop Guido Tarlati in the cathedral of Arezzo; Lando di Pietro (14th century), architect, entrusted by the Sienese commune with the proposed enlargement of the cathedral (1339), and perhaps author of the famous Gothic reliquary containing the head of S Galgano in the Chiesa del Santuccio, which, however, is more usually attributed to Ugolino di Vieri, author of the tabernacle in the cathedral at Orvieto; Giacopo (or Jacopo) della Querela, whose lovely fountain, the Fonte Gaia, in the Piazza del Campo has been recently restored; Lorenzo di Pietro (Il Vecchietta), a pupil of Della Quercia and an excellent artist in marble and bronze; Francesco d'Antonio, a skilful goldsmith of the 16th century; Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439–1502), painter, sculptor, military engineer and writer on art; Giacomo Cozzarelli (15th century); and Lorenzo Mariano, surnamed Il Marrina (16th century). Wood-carving also flourished here in the 15th and 16th centuries, and so also did the ceramic art, though few of its products are preserved. According to the well-known law, however, the Renaissance, made for the people of the plains, never fully took root in Siena, as in other parts of Tuscany, and the loss of its independence and power in 1555 led to a suspension of building activity, which to the taste of the present day is most fortunate, inasmuch as the baroque of the 17th and the false classicism of the 18th centuries have had hardly any effect here ; and few towns of Italy are so unspoilt by restoration or the addition of incongruous modern buildings, or preserve so many characteristics and so much of the real spirit (manifested to-day in the grave and pleasing courtesy of the inhabitants) of the middle ages, which its narrow and picturesque streets seem to retain. Siena is indeed unsurpassed for its examples of 13th and 14th century Italian Gothic, whether in stone or in brick.

See W. Heywood, Our Lady of August and the Palio (Siena, 1899) and other works ; R. H. Hobart Cust, The Pavement Masters of Siena (London, 1901) ; Langton Douglas, History of Siena (London, 1902); E. G. Gardner, The Story of Siena (London, 1902); St Catherine of Siena (London, 1908) ; W. Heywood and L. Olcott, Guide to Siena (Siena, 1603) ; A. Jahn Rusconi, Siena (Bergamo, 1904).  (C. Pa.; T. As.)