Medieval Italian City Inspirations

The Medieval cityscapes painted by extraordinary Italian artists have always been a great inspiration to Jean's architectural paintings. Here’s a detail of Giotto’s fresco of “St Francis Renounces His Inheritance”.

Giotto Fresco of St Francis renounces inheritance
Giotto Fresco of St Francis renounces inheritance

Inspired by the complex Medieval cities, Jean combined her architectural designs with very different cultural subjects such as this painting representing the Year of the Rat. An East meets West juxtaposition. We later renamed this painting “Percy the Mouse at the Castle” as it became part of our children’s book “Leo’s Birthday Adventure".

Percy the Mouse at the Castle Jean Tori 2010
Percy the Mouse at the Castle Jean Tori 2010

Many Medieval artists painted their surroundings as a way of grounding their paintings in reality even when the subject matter was symbolic. Here is a landscape detail from Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s fresco “A Scene from Good Government” in the Public Palazzo in Siena.

Detail from Scene Good Government Ambrogio Lorenzetti
Detail from Scene Good Government Ambrogio Lorenzetti

This portrayal of architecture observed in the distance inspired Jean to paint what she saw in her own environment. Here are castles perched on top of hilltops inspired by neighbouring Citta’ di Castello and Monte Santa Maria Tiberina. It too is part of another of our children’s books “The Wizards and the Whale”.

Detail of Castles, Hills and Suns by Jean Tori 2022
Detail of Castles, Hills and Suns by Jean Tori 2022

The Medieval artists were beginning to paint Italian cities with a certain amount of perspective, but they still had to evoke the busy life and complexity of the buildings constructed. The end result often looked like a collage of different levels of architecture. Here’s another part of Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s fresco “A Scene from Good Government”.

City Scene from Good Government Ambrogio Lorenzetti
City Scene from Good Government Ambrogio Lorenzetti

After several strong earthquakes in Umbria, Jean began painting buildings in a way that reflected this upheaval. This interpretation became a recurring element in Jean’s architectural design. It’s a unique combination of traditional architectural drawings, contemporary graphic design and evocative perspective. Here’s Jean’s painting “View from the Bottom of My Garden” 2007.

View From the Bottom of My Garden Diptych 1 2007 Jean Tori
View From the Bottom of My Garden Diptych 1 2007 Jean Tori

Here’s another painting by Jean “Wild Boar Among the Castles”.

'Hilltop Umbrian Village' by Jean Tori 2006 ©
'Hilltop Umbrian Village' by Jean Tori 2006 ©

For more about Jean's artwork visit www.jeantoriartwork.com