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Fidelity, c. 1485

Francesco di Giorgio Martini

Italian, 1439-1501/02
Fresco transferred to canvas, mounted on wood panel
49-1/2 x 29-3/4 in. (125.7 x 75.6 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1965.1.022.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

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A painter, sculptor, architect and military engineer, Francesco di Giorgio typified the ideal of the Renaissance man. As the outstanding artistic personality in Siena during the first half of the fifteenth century, he chose a style that combined the refined elegance of the Sienese tradition with the most forward-looking innovations of the Florentine school.

This fresco, transferred to canvas, exemplifies a popular interior decoration of the Renaissance: the cycle of famous persons and the allegorical personifications of the virtues. Here, Faith is identified by the collared dog ("fidelitas") on which she stands, a symbol of fidelity. The pair exchange a devoted glance as Faith points heavenward with her right hand and to the dog with her left. This image implies that the trust and loyalty shared between a master and servant also exists between God and the devout.

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