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Sassetta

(c. 1400—1450)


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(b ?Siena or Cortona, c.1400; d Siena, 1 Apr. 1450).

Sienese painter; the name Sassetta was evidently first used in the 18th century and is of unknown origin, but it is now the accepted designation. His work continues Sienese tradition in its beautiful colouring and elegant line, but he was also influenced by the International Gothic style and by contemporary Florentine developments, combining them into a highly personal manner expressive of his mystical imagination. With Giovanni di Paolo he ranks as the outstanding Sienese painter of the 15th century. His most important work was the St Francis altarpiece (1437–44) painted for the church of S. Francesco at Borgo San Sepolcro and now dispersed. The central panel, St Francis in Ecstasy (Berenson Coll., Florence), has a monumental dignity that must have impressed Piero della Francesca (a native of San Sepolcro), and some of the other panels (seven are in the National Gallery, London) show him at his most lyrical. Sassetta's reputation did not long survive his death and he was not rediscovered until the early 20th century.

Subjects: Art — History by Period.


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