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Rethinking the Petrucci Pavement

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Abstract

This paper presents an important new piece of research on the layout and sources of the maiolica Petrucci Pavement (c.1509; V&A: 4915–5386–1857) commissioned by Pandolfo Petrucci, ruler of Siena, for his palace in that city.

It proposes a new layout for the pavement that exhibits a coherence and underlying logic absent in previous reconstructions. This layout is not only believed to come close to the original configuration of the floor, thus providing a more authentic view of the object, it also demonstrates the hitherto concealed impact of Islamic design on the Petrucci pavement. This then reveals its relationship to important works by Pinturicchio dating from the 1490s. The pavement can now also be seen to exemplify a type of cultural exchange taking place across Europe and the Middle East dating back until at least the twelfth century. This challenges traditional binary oppositions such as East/West and medieval/Renaissance.

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