Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4931
  • Author(s)/Creator(s):
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: A Spectacular Celebration of the Assumption in Siena
  • Source: Renaissance Quarterly 58, 2 (Summer 2005): Pages 435 - 463.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Art History- Painting Feastdays- Mary, Virgin, Saint- Assumption (August 15) Iconography Literature- Drama Mary, Virgin, Saint- Assumption Patron Saints Siena, Siena, Italy- Baptistery- Vecchietta, Painter- Assumption of the Virgin Staging of Drama
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Ten figures. Figure One View of the altar and font (Siena, Baptistery). Figure Two Vecchietta, "Assumption of the Virgin" and botola (trapdoor or tunnel), 1450-1453 (Siena, Baptistery). Figure Three Drawing of the longitudinal section of Siena Cathedral and Baptistery. Figure Four Bronze grate covering the "botola" opening in a cathedral presbytery step, 1490 (Siena, Cathedral). Figure Five Agostino di Duccio, "San Bernardino in Glory," 1457-1461 (Perugia, Oratorio di S. Bernardino). Figure Six Vecchietta, "Twelfth Article of the Apostles' Creed," 1450-1453 (Siena, Baptistery). Figure Seven Vecchietta, "Botola" interior with painted figure, 1450-1453 (Siena, Baptistery). Figure Eight Vecchietta, "Fifth- Eighth Articles of the Apostles' Creed," 1450-1453 (Siena, Baptistery). Figure Nine Vecchietta, "Assumption of the Virgin," 1462 (Pienza, Cathedral). Figure Ten Vecchietta, "Assumption of the Virgin," 1455-1465 (Montemerano, S. Giorgio).
  • Table:
  • Abstract: This essay addresses the significance of the Assumption of the Virgin fresco in the Baptistery of Siena and the existence of an adjacent tunnel that connects the Baptistery to the Cathedral above. The traditional celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin in Siena is described; previously unpublished documents stating that a play of the Assumption was performed add new details to the picture. Other contemporary Sienese religious dramas, some little-known to modern scholars, are discussed to illustrate what the play of the Assumption could have entailed. It is proposed that the tunnel, or trapdoor, was used to conceal ropes that raised an effigy of the Assunta during the feast-day Mass.
  • Author's Affiliation:
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2005.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00344338
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: