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Allegory of Good Government

Ambrogio Lorenzetti's frescoes on three walls of the room known as either the Sala della Pace (Hall of Peace, after one of the allegorical figures in the frescoes) or the Sala dei Nove (Hall of the Nine, the elected rulers of the city) in Siena's Palazzo Pubblico are often called the first large-scale secular murals since antiquity. They both project an ideal political landscape and document aspects of contemporary daily life.

Before the Palazzo Pubblico became the home of Siena's elected officials and councils, town meetings had been taking place everywhere from the private palaces of influential citizens to the cathedral. Having a dedicated, imposing public building on a well-organized public space staked out Siena's claim to prominence as a powerful, wealthy commune (i.e., a town ...

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