Duccio di Buoninsegna

Duccio di Buoninsegna (Siena, circa 1255 – 1318 or 1319) was an Italian painter, traditionally referred to as the first master of the Sienese school

Duccio’s art originally had a solid Byzantine component, linked in particular to the latest culture of the Paleologist period, and a remarkable knowledge of Cimabue (almost certainly his master in the early years of activity), to which he added a personal re-elaboration in Gothic sense, understood as linearism and transalpine elegance, a soft line and a refined chromatic range

Over time, Duccio’s style came to fruition with ever greater naturalness and softness, and he also knew how to upgrade to the innovations introduced by Giotto, such as the rendering of chiaroscuro according to one or few light sources, the volume of the figures and the drapery, the prospective yield. Masterpiece, that is, the Majesty of the Duomo of Siena, is an emblematic work of art of the fourteenth century

Duccio, son of Buoninsegna, was probably born just over the middle of the 13th century, around 1255. The first papers about him date back to 1278 and refer to payments for book books and twelve painted cases intended to contain documents from the Municipality of Siena Such works are now lost

The first work by Duccio, which has come to this day, is the so-called Madonna Gualino, now found at the Galleria Sabauda in Turin (the original origin is unknown). Painted around 1280-1283, it shows a style very similar to that of Cimabue , To such an extent that it was attributed to Florentine master rather than Duccio for a long time. The table actually remembers the Majesty of Cimabue, in the general setting, in the strong Byzantine derivation and the absence of Gothic features in the somatic features of the Madonna as a child And in the use of chiaroscuro This strong derivation of Cimabuesca, which will remain evident even in later work, though gradually gradient, has meant that there was a relationship between master Cimabue and younger Duccio. However, even in this first work Youthful of Duccio there are new elements compared to Cimabue: a color richness that brings in colors that do not belong to the fio repertory (Such as the rose of the robe of the little one, the venerable red of the Madonna’s robe and the blue of the supper), the small potato nose making her face sweeter and more childish, the woolly mug of Byzantine chrysographs of Mary’s robe But they are still details The table is definitely chubby

In the later Madonna of Crevole of 1283-1284, which comes from the Pieve di Santa Cecilia in Crevole and is today exposed to the Museum of the Opera of the Siena Metro, there is a greater divergence than the Cimabue style. Our Lady has a more face Sweet and refined, though not betraying an expression that is still serious and deep. It keeps the nose to the chest of the little one, but it also leaves a gesture affectionate towards the mother

In the same years there are also some dry paintings, unfortunately very ruined, that are found in the Chapel Bardi (once called St. Gregory the Great) of the Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence These are two dry paintings in the lunettes at the top left And to the right of the chapel, depicting San Gregorio Magno between two fables and Christ throne between two angels. In this case too, one can not see the strong derivation from Cimabue, but it is precisely the elegance of the angel’s faces and the Wrapping the garment of Christ on the throne to make us appreciate, again, the detachment from the Florentine master

On April 15, 1285 Duccio was commissioned the so-called Madonna Rucellai, from the Compagnia dei Laudesi The table was made for the Bardi Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, the same chapel where the remains of the dry paintings of Duccio Described above The table was called “Rucellai” because since 1591 it was placed in the contiguous Cappella Rucellai, before reaching the Uffizi. In this work is depicted the Madonna and Child in majesty, flanked by six angels The work is inspired by the Majesty of Cimabue Louvre, painted about five years earlier, so long that a work of Cimabue was believed and such erroneous attribution was sustained for a long time, even after the finding of the settlement document (1790). This “majesty” is a key work In the path of the artist, where the solid majesty and human representation of Cimabue is crossed with greater aristocracy and sophistication with a human content Or even sweeter In addition, the work is characterized by decorative motifs of Gothic origin, such as the whimsical golden rim of Maria’s dress that draws a complex line from chest to toe, gothic bifore and trifore of the wooden throne and the mantle of the Virgin No longer “intruded” by Byzantine chrysographs, but softened by soft and falling crevices These are especially Gothic elements that mark a further detachment from Master Cimabue, which will still be anchored to the Byzantine tradition

About 1285 is also dated the Madonna and Child and three Franciscans in adoration, small table of unknown origin and today exposed at the National Picture Gallery of Siena

After the Madonna Rucellai of 1285, the only work attributed to Duccio until the end of the century for which we have written documentation for his dating is the stained glass window of the Siena Cathedral, whose original is now preserved at the Museum of the Opera of the Subway (The one in the Duomo is a copy) Although the glass was made by glass masters, today it is believed that the design was the patriarch of Sienese painting, who worked there in 1287-1288 The throne of the Virgin Crowning scene Those of the four evangelists are architectural marble trunks, no longer as woody as the Madonna Rucellai or the previous Cimabue thrones. This is the first known example of a marble architectural throne, a prototype that Duccio will continue to use and which will become very popular now Then, even in the nearby Florence of Cimabue and Giotto

Little behind (1290-1295) is believed to be the Madonna on the throne between angels ignoring the origin and which is now preserved at the Kunstmuseum in Bern in Switzerland. And we can admire this work in order to appreciate the evolution of Duccio’s style in These years What is immediately evident in this small Majesty is the best spatial depth in the arrangement of angels, not one over the other as in Our Lady Rucellai, but now behind one another as in the Majesty of the Louvre of Cimabue The angels of the The same couple are not even perfectly symmetrical as is shown by the different positions of their arms This is also a new element that overcomes the repetitive symmetry of the angels of Madonna Rucellai, favoring their differentiation Even the throne, while having a similar pattern to that of the Madonna Rucellai, according to the canons of the inverse perspective, has a better assonometry and appears to be more adequately inserted in Space These variations show that Duccio was still inspired by Master Cimabue, very attentive to space consistency and volumes of things and characters. Ma Duccio also shows that he continues his path to a figurative elegance all along, a path that had already begun, We have seen, with the Madonna of Crevole Although the types of cimabues faces still can be seen with heads and broad faces, the somatic tracts appear more delicate (for example, note the nuances of the pincers at the base of the nose, the lips that are still and upright and the Small balloon nose) More natural and soft also appears the course of the folds of the garments

Other works generally attributed to Duccio are dated between 1285 and 1300, but there is no unanimous consensus among experts about dating. Among them is the Madonna and Child coming from the Church of Saints Peter and Paul of Buonconvento, and preserved Today in the Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d’Arbia, always in Buonconvento Datata traditionally shortly after 1280, recent archive research that would witness the passage of Duccio to Buonconvento after 1290 and careful studies on the arrangement of the folds of the mantle of the virgin and on The loss of angular tracts of the Virgin and Child’s face would move the dating to 1290-1295

After the Madonna Rucellai of 1285, according to some experts, the Crucifix from the Orsini-Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, already in the Odescalchi Collection in Rome, and today in Salini Collection in Siena, was composed, where Christ with his eyes opened and still Alive resembles a Romanesque iconography (the Christus Triumphans), very rare at the end of the twentieth century Always of the same period is, according to some, the Crucifix of the Church of St. Francis in Grosseto It should also be noted that for these two crucifixes there is no consensus Unanimously even about the attribution to Duccio More unanimous consensus seems to be around the three tablets depicting the Flagellation, Crucifixion and Burial of Christ, of unknown origin and now deposited in the Museum of the Society of Executors of Pious Provisions in Siena

With the works of the early years of the new century Duccio di Buoninsegna arrives to its mature and autonomous style, now dissociated from that of Cimabue The faces of the figures become longer, the facial features become softer, with a more fused brushstroke that allows To bend the bumps of the face In the many tables with the child painted in these years the Madonna and the little have their own physiognomies, very distinct from those of Madonna Rucellai or even of the Madonna di Crevole who were still imprinted with the cimabuesca Even the drapery is enriched with Natural folds and softness Above an unprecedented figurative realism that allows Duccio to acquire the reputation of the best artist in the city of Siena The polyptych no. 28, possibly from the Church of San Domenico in Siena and kept today at the National Picture Gallery in Siena provides an example of This mature style The table also has the primacy of being the first architectural polyptych to sc Independent seams, a prototype that will become more and more used

At this time there are also the Triptych with branches owned by the Royal English Dynasty and the Triptych with branches representing the Virgin and Child between Saint Dominic and St. Augustine of Ostia, kept at the National Gallery in London (both unknown and dating back to 1300 Circa), Madonna and Child preserved at the Umbria National Gallery in Perugia (coming from the Church of San Domenico in Perugia) and Madonna Stoclet, so because they belonged to Adolphe Stoclet in Brussels before landing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Original Unknown Origin) At the end of this period (1304-1307), and shortly before commencing the grandiose Majesty of the Siena Cathedral described below, the Triptych would appear in counters with the Crucifixion between the Saints Nicola of Bari and Clement (origin unknown)

In all these paintings you can appreciate the figurative realism and the aristocraticity of the faces, unlike the art of Duccio and unmatched at the beginning of the 14th century in Italy. You can also admire the rich volumes of the clothes, now entirely acquired by the Florentine school, Which was the first source of learning and inspiration for Duccio Fu so that Duccio became the most acclaimed artist in Siena, the only one to which the city government could think of entrusting the task of making such a great and expedient work as Majesty to be placed on the main altar of the Duomo of Siena, without doubt the masterpiece of the artist

The Majesty realized for the main altar of the Duomo of Siena dates back to 1308-1311, as evidenced by the written documentation that allowed the contract (1308) and a local chronicle that testifies the passage of the work from the master’s shop to the Cathedral (1311) La Maestà is Duccio’s masterpiece as well as one of the most emblematic works of Italian art. It remained exposed in the Duomo, although between various movements, until 1878, while today it is preserved at the Museum of the Opera of the Metropolitan

After finishing in June of 1311, his reputation was so great before the completion, which on the 9th day, from Duccio’s workshop in the district of Stalloreggi, was brought to Duomo with a popular festival with a procession: at the head of this, the bishop and The highest city authorities, while the people, carrying candles lit, sang and gave alms

This is a large, two-faceted (425×212 cm) board, though today it is cut along the thickness according to a controversial nineteenth-century intervention that did not fail to create some damage. The main side, originally addressed to the faithful, was painted with a monumental Virgin with Child on Throne, surrounded by a Crowd of Saints and Angels on Gold Background Our Lady is sitting on a large and gorgeous throne, which mentions a three-dimensional spatiality according to the novelties already practiced by Cimabue and Giotto, and is painted with A soft chrome, which gives naturalness to the sweet incarnate Even the child expresses a deep tenderness, but his body does not seem to create weight and the hands of the mother who hold it are rather innocent At the base of the throne is the prayer-sign in Latin verses : “MATER S (AN) CTA DEI / SIS CAUSE SENIS REQUIES / SIS DUCIO LIFE / YOU PINXIT ITA” (trad: “Mother of God, be a cause of peace for Siena, be life for Duccio, So so “)

The reverse was instead devoted to the vision of the clergy, and there are represented 26 Stories of the Passion of Christ, divided into smaller forms, one of the most extensive cycles dedicated to this theme in Italy. The place of honor in the center is given by the Crucifixion , Of greater width and double height, as well as the double form in the lower left corner with the entrance to Jerusalem In various scenes Duccio proved to be updated with respect to the “prospects” of Giotto’s architectural backdrops, but in other exemptions Voluntarily to spatial representation to put particular emphasis on them, such as the table set up in the Last Supper scene (too inclined to the ceiling) or the gesture of Pontius Pilate in the Flagellation, which is in the foreground of a column despite His feet resting on a pedestal that is placed behind Duccio does not seem to be interested in overly complicating scenes with absolute spatial rules Sometimes, narration is more effective in those scenes where a generic traditional rock landscape frees it from the constraint of the three-dimensional representation

The blade also had a predella painted on all sides (the first known in Italian art) and the crowning of the panels cuspidated with Scenes of Mary’s Life (front) and post-mortem Episodes of Christ (retro): these parts are no longer In Siena and some of them are in foreign collections and museums

In the Majesty, the realism of the faces of the characters Duccio was capable of, as well as the acquired ability to draw things and characters according to Giotto’s canons of direct perspective (no longer the old-fashioned reverse perspective of Cimabue resumed by Duccio until Late twentieth century) The dresses have a massive drapery, the chiaroscuros are made with attention to the source of light sources, also inherited by Giotto The work also stands out for the profusion of details and decorations: from the marble inlays of the Throne to the fancy end of the drape on the back of the throne, from the hair of the angels to the ornaments of the saints The cohesion of Florentine matrix elements with the figurative realism of Duccio, all embellished by extreme care for the detail, Operates one of the 14th century Italian masterpieces

There are only two works that can be attributed with certainty to the duchess catalog after the majesty of the Duomo of Siena, both in a state of conservation unfortunately not optimal: Polittico n 47, originally destined to the lost Church of the Spedale of Santa Maria della Scala and today exposed At the Pinacoteca Nazionale of Siena (1315-1319), and the Majesty of the Cathedral of Massa Marittima (circa 1316)

According to some, it is also Duccio’s fresco with the delivery of the castle of Giuncarico, in the Sala del Mappamondo of the Public Palace of Siena (1314). However, there remain many perplexities about the paternity of Duccio

Duccio died on an unknown date between 1318 and 1319 In 1319 his children refused the inheritance, burdened with heavy debts. Many of the pupils who were inspired to him, often using an almost indistinguishable style. Among them were Ugolino di Nerio, Signs of Bonaventura, Niccolò di Segna, Francesco di Segna and many other artists remained anonymous

Duccio had many students throughout his life, even though they did not know whether these were real artistically grown students within his shop or painters who simply imitated the style Many of these are anonymous and are only identified by a Corpus of works of common stylistic features The first students, who collectively call us first generation followers, were active between 1290 and 1320 and included the Master of Badia at Isola, the Master of Castle Town, the Master of the Herring, The Master of the Columns of the Holy Fathers and the Master of St. Paul in Red Another group of second-generation followers were active between 1300 and 1335 and included Sign of Bonaventure, Ugolino di Nerio, Master of Majesty Gondi, Master of Monte Oliveto and the Master of Monterotondo It must however be noted that the sign of Bonaventura was active already before 1300, placing it therefore temporally between the pri Mo and the second group of artists A third group followed Duccio only several years after his death, witnessing the impact that his painting had in Siena and throughout Tuscany These artists, who were active between 1330 and 1350 , Include the sons of Segna di Bonaventura, namely Niccolò di Segna and Francesco di Segna, and a pupil of Ugolino di Nerio, that is, the Master of Chianciano

Some of these artists suffered the influence of Duccio alone, to make their works very similar to those of the master (such as Maestro di Badia a Isola, Ugolino di Nerio, Sign of Bonaventura and their children) Other artists also underwent Influences of other schools, such as the Master of Aringhieri, sensitive to the massive volumes of Giotto, and the Master of Majesty Gondi, influenced by Simone Martini

A separate discourse must be made for Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti These two painters painted works similar to those of Duccio, starting from 1305 and 1310 respectively. However, their production had original features since its inception, as witnessed by Madonna and Child N. 583 by Simone (1305-1310) and by the Triptych Orsini painted in Assisi by Lorenzetti (circa 1310-1315). Later the two artists matured completely autonomous styles, which they knew to give them an artistic dignity far beyond the label of “follower Of Duccio “