By Christian Franzen
Bartolo di Fredi was born in the year 1330 in the city of Siena, Italy. Growing up he learned to draw and paint under the apprenticeship of several masters throughout the area in which he lived. In 1355, after he had completed his training, he joined the Guild of the painters in his city of Sienna. The following year of 1356 was commissioned to paint the entire left aisle of the Principle Church of San Gimignano, which is located roughly 30 kilometers from Sienna. Along the aisle he painted frescoes that depicted various scenes of the Old Testament. This commission was completed in 1367 and was very well liked by the church that he received many more commissions from them throughout his life time.
Bartolo di Fredi was commissioned to decorate the Cathedral of Sienna in 1367 and worked on it for several years with fellow artist Giacomo di Mino before competing it. While he was working on the Cathedral he became a rising force in city politics and found himself in a position of city government in 1372, and by 1381 he had been made a member of the cities governing council. His final commission came in 1389. Bartolo di Fredi was asked to paint and furnish an altar piece for the Cathedral of Siena. He was not able to finish the altar piece before his death in 1410. Since then the his altar piece has mysteriously disappeared never to be found.
Sadly, in his life time di Fredi's style wasn't in line with what was the popular gothic style of decorative pieces with an out of this work feel. Rather, Bartolo di Fredi focused on depicting multiple figures in concrete believable environments. Today some of his paintings can be viewed in American public collections such as the Los Angeles County Art Musuem.