Barna (or Berna) da Siena, Italian painter. According to I commentari, written by Lorenzo Ghiberti
towards the end of his life, a Sienese painter named Barna painted several works in Tuscany, including many stories from the Old Testament in San Gimignano. Giorgio Vasari,
in the first edition of his Vite (1550), listed a number of works by the Sienese painter Berna , including frescoed Old Testament scenes in the Pieve of San Gimignano, but in the second edition (1568) he referred only to New Testament scenes in that church, dating them to the very end of Barna s life, apparently to 1381. According to Vasari s brief but vivid life of Berna, painter of Siena , the artist was killed in a fall from the scaffolding while painting them.
On the basis of Vasari s second text a fresco cycle
of the Infancy and Passion of Christ in the Collegiata of San Gimignano has been traditionally attributed to Barna da Siena, and it has been used as a departure point for attributing panel paintings to the artist. However, according to recent studies, Barna probably never existed, and the San Gimignano frescoes are probably from the 1330s. The pictures formerly attributed to Barna are now scattered among several unidentified masters. It is assumed that some of the San Gimignano frescoes were executed by Simone Martini
s associates under the leadership of Lippo Memmi.
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