Memmi, Simon

Memmi, Simon an eminent Siennese painter, was born in 1285. Vasari says he was a pupil of Giotto; Lanzi, however, claims him as a scholar of the Siennese maestro Mino. He was a close imitator of the style of Giotto, whom he accompanied to Rome. After his master's death he painted a Virgin in the portico of St. Peter, also two figures of St. Paul and St. Peter upon the wall between the arches of the portico on the outer side. He then' returned to Sienna, where he was appointed by the Signoria to paint one of the halls of their palace in fresco, the subject being a Virgin, with many figures around her. He painted three other pictures in the same palace, one of which, an Annunciation, was afterwards removed to the gallery -of the Uffizi. The other represented the Virgin holding the Child in her arms, and was destroyed by the earthquake of 1798. He was invited to Florence by the general of the Augustines, where he painted a very remarkable Crucifixion. Vasari says, "In this painting the thieves on the cross are seen expiring, the soul of the repentant thief being joyfully borne to heaven by angels, while that of the impenitent departs, accompanied by devils; and roughly dragged by these daemons to the torments of hell" (Lives of the Painters, 1:184). He also painted three of the walls of the chapter-house of Santa Maria Novella. On the first wall, over the entrance, is the Life of San Domenico; on that which is nearest the church he represented the Brethren of the Dominican Order contending against the Heretics; on the third, which is where the altar stands, was depicted the Crucifixion of Christ. Many other works are attributed to him jointly with his brother Lippo Memmi, who also practiced the art of painting with great success. About 1342 the two brothers returned to Sienna, where Simon commenced a work of vast extent, being a Coronation of the Virgin, with an extraordinary number of figures. He died before its completion at Avignon, in July, 1344. See Vasari, Lives of the Painters, transl. by Foster. (Lond. 1850, 5 vols. 8vo), 1:181; Lanzi's History of Painting, transl. by Roscoe (Lond. 1847, 3 vols. 8vo), 1:278; Mrs. Jameson, Legends of the Madonna (Lond. 1857, 8vo), p. 172, 273.

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