Meeting of Emperor Frederick III and Eleanora

Meeting of Emperor Frederick II and Eleanora Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral

Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, as bishop of Siena, arranged the meeting of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III and his future bride Eleonora of Portugal that took place by the city’s Porta Camollia gate on 24 February 1452. People, clothing, and jewels are painted in exquisite detail while the Siena cathedral is clearly recognizable in the background.

The Piccolomini Library (Libreria Piccolomini) inside Siena Cathedral is a colorful Renaissance highlight in the otherwise predominantly Romanesque-Gothic Duomo. It was commission by Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini (1439-1503), archbishop of Siena, and later (for less than a month) Pope Pius III to honor his uncle Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (1405-1464) who was Pope Pius II (1458-1464).

The early 16th-century frescoes by Pinturicchio, with some help from Raphael, show ten scenes from the life of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini. They are further elaborated by painted architectural details and especially on the ceiling by mythological figures. Biblical symbols were rarely used.