MEANWHILE Siena, even on the verge of the Early Renaissance, had been conserving her Mediæval ideals. Sassetta was the last great painter of the earlier period, the period between Giotto and Leonardo, when the rest of Italy was largely Giottesque or was awakening to the scientific study of nature. Yet Sienese art proceeded on its uninterrupted course, throwing out influences upon Umbria, North Italy, even upon Florence, but accepting little in return. Siena could not indeed be wholly untouched. An example is the illuminator GIOVANNI DI PAOLO ( 1403?- 1482).2 Beginning as a pupil of Sassetta, he later went to Florence, and is constantly found imitating someone--as Sassetta or Taddeo, Gentile da Fabriano or Fra Angelico. He is sometimes Duccesque or bizarre, but his best pictures exhibit a rare individual note, as the Predella of the Saracini collection.3 Compared, however, to the great doings elsewhere, the artists of Siena, though often travelled and sometimes imitating, more than ever give an impression of a lovely decorative school rather than of individual achievement.4 While there are able painters and much distinction in style and even a certain naturalism, their work in general presents the effect of an inbred school drawing toward its close.
Sassetta had two leading pupils -- Sano di Pietro and Vecchietta.5
Sano di Pietro ( 1406-1481), the maker of pious altarpieces,____________________