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Mattia Di Nanni

Curius Dentatus, Pompey and Marcus Curtius

Artist

Mattia Di Nanni
Siena 1403 – Siena 1433

Title

Curius Dentatus, Pompey and Marcus Curtius

Date

1425-1430

Materials

Intarsia of walnut, oak, bog oak, various fruitwoods, bone

Dimensions

105.4 x 212 x 3 cm (3 panels)

Credits

Gift of the John Main Prayer Association, by prior gift of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, inv. 1994.Df.2a-c

Collection

Decorative Arts and Design

These stunning intarsie (inlaid wood patterns set into a wood ground) panels have an interesting history. They were commissioned in 1424 for the council chamber of the Palazzo Pubblico, the City Hall, of the prosperous Tuscan city of Siena, a leading cultural centre in which this art form was particularly admired. These works are part of a series of ten such panels. They depict ancient Roman republican statesmen, who, at personal sacrifice, acted for the public good and out of love of country. From the eleventh century until 1555, when it was absorbed by the Medici Dukes of Tuscany (Florence), the Sienese government was organized as a republic, and the figures on these panels are reminders to the council members of their responsibility. Nanni was the pupil of the most famous Sienese intarsia specialist, Niccolò, and his remarkable virtuosity in varying intricate wood arrangements is breathtaking. The designs could have been provided by other artists.

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