1.3.1.1 – Sienese School 1250-1650

Forward to 1.3.1.2 Early Renaissance
Back to 1.3.1 Renaissance Index – Back to 1.3 Renaissance to Romanticism

QUICK LINKS
Madonna and Child, Duccio
Maestà, Duccio
Annunciation, Martini/Memmi

Effects of Good Government, Lorenzetti
Presentation, Lorenzetti

Siena was originally an Etruscan hill-town that legend suggests was founded by the sons of Remus. After their father was murdered by Romulus, they had fled and established Siena, taking with them the Capotiline Wolf statue, representing the she-wolf that legend said had suckled their father and uncle.


Siena, did not fare well under the Romans, though it became prosperous from the pilgrims travelling to and from Rome. In 1125 it became a Republic that grew it into the major cultural, economic and political centre for Tuscany by the 13th/14th centuries. It was run at this time by an oligarchy of magistrates, and allied with the Angevins of France and Naples.

Founded by Duccio di Buoninsegna, the Sienese School began with a Byzantine influence, for example regularly using gold in their works. Duccio is considered as a strong narrative artist who was one of the founders of Western Art. The figures in Sienese paintings display a grace and harmony, more romantic than detailed. The School featured Duccio’s works and those of his pupils, notably Simone Martini and brothers Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti, Domenico and Taddeo de Bartolo, Sassetta and Matteo di Giovanni. The Lorenzetti brothers were responsible for moving the School towards a more Gothic style. The School was gradually overtaken by the styles, anatomical and perspective, developed in Florence.

[1311-10]


Image source: wikimedia commons
 Duccio’s Madonna and Child was produced in tempera and gold on wood in 1290-1300. The dating to some extent based on its Byzantinesque features.

The Christ child is raising his hand to his mother’s austere gaze, her sorrow suggested as based upon a foreknowledge of his crucifixion. It’s small size suggests it was a devotional piece, borne out by the burnt edges along the bottom of the original frame caused by burning candles, that would have been set just beneath.

This work was early in the Renaissance and later artists would evolve the composition of this subject, which became something of a standard.

It was acquired by the Met in 2004 for $45m. That value in part because there are only thirteen known extant Duccio paintings.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Madonna and Child1290-1300Tempera/Gold/Wood PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
di Buoninsegna, Duccio c1255-1319, aged 64Italian painter SienaSiennese School
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1311-11]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA28 x 21  
Duccio’s Maestà, is his most famous work. It is an altarpiece composed of many individual paintings commissioned by the city of Siena in 1308 from the artist.

The front panels include a large enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded by saints and angels. A predella (shelf above the altar) shows the Childhood of Christ and a series of prophets. The reverse has cycle of the Life of the Virgin and the Life of Christ in a total of forty-three small scenes, though many are now lost.

The panel base bears an inscription, ‘Holy Mother of God, be thou the cause of peace for Siena and life to Duccio because he painted thee thus.’

It is considered to be ‘one of the landmarks of European painting’ by the Metropolitan Museum of Art NY USA.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Duccio_Maesta_2-1024x984.jpg
Front

Rear
Image source: wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Maestà 1308-11Tempera/Gold/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
di Buoninsegna, Duccio c1255-1319, aged 64Italian painter SienaSiennese School
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1311-12]

Museo dell’ Opera del Duomo, Siena Italy213 x 396  
Image source: travellingintuscany.comThe Annunciation with St. Margaret and St. Ansanus is a painting by the Italian Gothic artists Simone Martini and his brother-in-law Lippo Memmi. It is a wooden triptych painted in tempera and gold, with a double size central panel.

It is considered to be Martini’s masterwork and one of the most outstanding works of Gothic painting. It shows the archangel Gabriel to tell the Virgin Mary she would give birth to Jesus. The patron saints of the cathedral are in attendance.

Originally painted for the side altar of St Ansanusin at the Siena Cathedral, it is now housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
The Annunciation with St Margaret and St Ansanus1335TemperaHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Martini, Simone and Lippo Memmi Italian painters SienaSiennese School
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1311-13]

Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy305 x 265  

Image source: travellingintuscany.com
This is one of a series of six fresco paintings by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. The series, ‘Allegory of Good and Bad Government’, is located in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. The frescos circulate the walls of the room and span the height of the wall. They are designed as a political warning as well as a model or goal for the government in Siena. They contrast the peace and prosperity of honest rule with the decay and ruin caused by tyranny.

This scene uses bright colours and vignettes of 14th c life in Siena to show the benefits of good government.

The artist, and his brother, are believed to have died of the bubonic plague in 1348.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
The Effects of Good Government on the City Life1338FrescoGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Lorenzetti, Ambrogioc1290-1348, aged 58Italian painter SienaSiennese School
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1311-14]

Palazzo Pubblico, Piazza del Campo, Siena Italy770 x 1440 Part of series

Image source: Gallerie degli Uffizi
This painting originally decorated the altar of St. Crescentius in the Cathedral of Siena. It was commissioned as part of a cycle of four altarpieces dedicated to the city’s patrons saints. It was referenced as a triptych by some early accounts.

The painting depicts the Presentation at the Temple, an event which should occur forty days after a child is born, as part of the purification of the mother.

It became part of the Uffizi collection in 1913.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Presentation at the Temple1342Tempera/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Lorenzetti, Ambrogioc1290-1348, aged 58Italian painter SienaSiennese School
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy267 x 168  

Forward to 1.3.1.2 Early Renaissance
Back to 1.3.1 Renaissance Index – Back to 1.3 Renaissance to Romanticism

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *