Siena -- Allegory of Good & Bad Government
Trip Start Jul 15, 2007
197Trip End Jul 16, 2008
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Today we visited Siena. It was a cloudy, rainy day. We spent quite a bit of time navigating the narrow, twisting stone streets before we found the street market we were looking for. Afterwards we had lunch and then stopped in at the Museo Civico.
They say of Siena's art collections that they are "second-rate works by first-rate artists." The conspicuous exception, and the finest work in the Museo Civico is Lorenzetti's Allegory of Good and Bad Government, painted in 1348. This monumental piece shows wise rulers and the resulting prosperity and peace, and bad rulers and the resulting war, poverty and disorder.
When studied closely, this work remains astonishingly vibrant. The faces of the good and bad rulers show clearly the characters of both the virtuous and the wicked. Indeed, it is not too much to say that this work, painted a century before Columbus reached the New World, remains relevant to our political choices today.