Barna da Siena

(c. 1330—1350)

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(active c.1350).

Sienese painter. The source material on him is vague and confusing, and although he has been described as the leading Sienese painter of his period, some scholars think that he is a fictitious character and prefer to assign the works attributed to him to other hands. In his Commentarii, Ghiberti said that Barna worked in the Collegiata at S. Gimignano, and the fresco series on the life of Christ there is the core around which attempts have been made to reconstruct his oeuvre (among the works that have been given to him is Christ Carrying the Cross in the Frick Collection, New York). As with Simone Martini (traditionally Barna's master), drawing plays a dominant part in this oeuvre, but whereas Simone's line is a graceful arabesque, Barna's is direct and thrusting, his figures having a more dramatic vigour than any in previous Sienese painting. According to Vasari, Barna died in a fall from scaffolding.

Subjects: Art.

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