Paradoxplace Artist Galleries

Artists of the Italian Renaissance

2003 and Siena Celebrates Duccio

(Duccio di Buoninsegna 1260 - 1319)






Above and below - four sublime soft eyed and Etruscan nosed Madonnas by Duccio, and another magnificent catalogue for Dom Paradox's library from this huge exhibition



Early named Italian Painters


Giovanni Cimabue (Florence) 1240 - 1302

Duccio di Buoninsegna (Siena) 1260 - 1319

Giotto del Bondone (Florence) 1266 - 1337

Ambrogio Lorenzetti (Siena) 1278 - 1348

Simone Martini (Siena) 1284 - 1344




Artists of the Italian Renaissance



A different approach from Ambrogio Lorenzetti Whilst Simone Martini sticks with the Duccio style
Other members of the cast by Duccio - you know who and Mary Magdalene
A contribution from Florence - Cimabue and Giotto Mother and Son by Duccio



The large main panel of the front side of Duccio's groundbreaking and famous painting - the Maestą (Virgin in Majesty) - painted between 1308 and 1311 for the high altar of the Siena Duomo.  Above the main panel were a series of panels depicting the later life of the virgin.  Under the main panel was a predella containing 13 panels depicting scenes from the early life of Jesus.


The main back panel had 26 frames depicting the life and death of Jesus.  Again, above the main array were 8 other Jesus scenes, and at the bottom a further 9 scenes in the predella.


Thus there were over 60 panels of narrative about the lives of Mary and Jesus - nothing like it had ever been done before in paint, though there were several narrative stained glass windows further north in France and England.


The ensemble was ineptly dismantled in the early 1700s so it could be reassembled into two separate altarpieces.  In the process there was quite a bit of damage and also 12 panels disappeared, only to resurface later in private then public collections like the National Gallery of London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and other US and European galleries.  Three panels have been lost altogether.


The reassembled Maestą ensemble can now be seen in the Siena Museo dell'Opera - the cathedral museum located in the east aisle of the "Duomo Nuovo", along with the restored  six meter diameter oculus window (below) which Duccio designed for the apse of the 1200s Duomo.  There are (for us) sad empty areas where the missing 15 panels should be.




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photo from the book shown above

The Nativity - this front predella panel from Duccio's Maestą is now sadly in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC rather than Siena



Also to be seen in the Siena Museo dell'Opera is the recently restored  six meter diameter oculus window (above) which Duccio designed for the apse of the 1200s Duomo.  It is all about the Virgin, and also incorporates the evangelistic tetramorph symbols in the four diagonal panels.


Amongst the other exhibits were these pieces of San Galgano memorabilia - on the left a silver and enamel crozier, and on the right a reliquary for his head.


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