The Basilica of San Domenico

The Basilica’s Masterpieces

In addition to the works dedicated to Saint Catherine the basilica houses a number of paintings, some of which are genuine masterpieces of the Sienese art world. Along the nave’s right wall, just before the transept, there is the beautiful painting on board with The Nativity of Jesus in the centre (1495-1500) ascribed to Francesco di Giorgio Martini, but partly made by Bernardino Fungai and by an almost unknown painter called Lodovico Scotti. In the forefront, on the ground against a piece of marble, lies the newborn baby, who gazes at the viewer; next to the Infant Christ are the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph in adoration, while behind them there are two shepherds and two angels. The scene is built so that the Infant Christ  is the hub of the painting, towards whom converge the two diagonal directrices along which the characters have been placed; that naked baby, humbly placed on the ground, epitomizes the Word of God to mankind, the light of the world that rises from the darkness of paganism. It is by no coincidence that a majestic ancient arch stands out on the background: completely in ruins, adorned by adorned clypei portraying Quinto Curzio and Muzio Scevola, two ancient Roman dignitaries. The stateliness of the arch is more than a mere landscape element: it symbolises the renovation of the ancient world through the birth of Christ. The work is completed by a . . .
  • Francesco di Giorgio Martini-Bernardino Fungai, Nativity of Jesus, 1495-1500.
  • Guido da Siena, Maestà, 1265-70.
  • Benvenuto di Giovanni, Virgin with Child with Saints, 1483.


  • Matteo di Giovanni, Saint Barbara on the Throne, 1479.