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Spinello di Luca Spinelli (Spinello Aretino) was born in Arezzo to a family of Florentine exiles.  He was first documented as an artist in Arezzo in 1373.   Arezzo was sacked by the army of the schismatic Pope Clement VII in 1384 and subsequently sold to Florence.  Spinello probably moved to Florence at about this time, and enrolled in the Arte dei Medici e Speziali there in 1386.  His frescoes (ca. 1387) of scenes from the life of St. Benedict in the sacristy of San Miniato al Monte there are among his best-known works.  

However, Spinello maintained his links with Arezzo and worked in many other Tuscan cities.  Sadly, his frescoes (1391) in the Campo Santo, Pisa no longer survive.  He worked mostly in Siena and in Arezzo from ca. 1404, and was in his native city when he died.

Città di Castello

Madonna and Child (ca. 1400)

This panel in the Pinacoteca Comunale, which seems to have been the central panel of a triptych, is attributed to Spinello Aretino.  Its provenance is unclear: for claims made alternatively for San Francesco (where it might have formed part of a hypothetical altarpiece on the high altar) and for San Domenico, see the references given in the respective pages.


Crucifix (ca. 1400)

This small altarpiece in the Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo, which is attributed to Spinello Aretino, came from the Cappella di Santa Lucia, Palazzo Comunale.  It depicts the dead Christ on the cross with the Virgin, St John the Evangelist and St Mary Magdalen.  The last of these kneels with her arms around the lower part of the cross. 

The frame, which seems to be largely original, nevertheless has an inscription that is more appropriate for an Annunciation: "Ave Maria Gratia Plena".  The devices of an eagle and a lion to the sides symbolise the Commune.

Read more:

S. Weppelman, “Spinello Aretino e la Pittura del Trecento in Toscana”, (2011) Florence

D. Cooper, “Spinello Aretino in Città di Castello: the Lost Model for Sassetta's Sansepolcro Polyptych”, Apollo 154: 474 (2001) 22-29

Return to Art inCittà di Castello   Orvieto.

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Spinello Aretino (died 1410)  

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