(bapt. Siena, 11 Aug. 1410; d Siena, 6 June 1480). One of the outstanding Sienese artists of the 15th century, a painter, sculptor, goldsmith, architect, and military engineer. His nickname, meaning ‘little old one’, first appears in 1442 and repeatedly thereafter in documents relating to him, but its origin is unknown. On stylistic grounds he is assumed to have been a pupil of Sassetta, but he also came under the influence of Florentine art and his large-scale paintings have a monumentality rare in Siena in the quattrocento.
As a sculptor he worked in wood and marble and late in his career in bronze, this change in medium probably reflecting the influence of Donatello, who was in Siena 1457–9. The Risen Christ (1476, S. Maria della Scala, Siena) has something of Donatello's sinewy expressiveness. Donatello's influence may also account for the strength and plasticity of Vecchietta's later paintings, such as the fresco of St Catherine (1461) in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena (1461) and the triptych of the Assumption of the Virgin (c.1462) in Pienza Cathedral. Several of the leading Sienese artists of the next generation were taught by him, notably Francesco di Giorgio and probably Neroccio de' Landi.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)