Bio: Duccio di Buoningegna
(approx. 1255-1319)

Special thanks to the Microsoft Corporation for permission to use following biographical information from Microsoft® Encarta '97:

Duccio di Buoninsegna was an Italian painter, a precursor of the Renaissance style, who brought to perfection the art of medieval Italy in the Byzantine tradition.

Born in Siena, Duccio was the founder of the Sienese school of painting. His work, all of it religious, is characterized by sensitive drawing, skillful composition, a decorative quality akin to that of mosaic, and a more intense emotional tone than that of the Byzantine models he followed. Duccio's most famous and only signed work is the Maestą (1308-1311), a huge altarpiece painted on both sides, made for the cathedral of Siena; now most of it is displayed in the cathedral's museum. The front shows the Madonna enthroned and surrounded by a host of slightly naturalistic angels, saints, and apostles. The reverse side of the altarpiece (which was split in 1795) contains 26 scenes from the teaching and passion of Christ. Some of them show a new use of realistic perspective. Scenes from the predella (a painting that frames the bottom of an altarpiece) below the panel are scattered in various museums. Duccio's other major work is the Rucellai Madonna (commissioned in 1285), an altarpiece showing the Madonna seated on a throne with the infant Christ against a Byzantine gold background and flanked by kneeling angels. Painted for Santa Maria Novella in Florence, it is now in the Uffizi Gallery there. Some small panels and polyptychs of the Madonna and child are attributed to Duccio.

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