Duccio di Buoninsegna

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Duccio di Buoninsegna

(do͞ot`chō dē bwōnēnsā`nyä), fl. 1278–1319, early Italian artist, first great painter of Siena. Infusing new life into the stylized Byzantine tradition, he initiated a style intrinsic to the development of the Sienese school—the expressive use of outline. The use of line varied from a vigorous quality in his rendering of narrative scenes to a lyrical and majestic tone in his portrayal of the Madonna and angels. In Siena he is recorded as having decorated some official chests in 1278 and as having painted a book cover in 1285. Also in 1285 he was commissioned to paint a Madonna for Santa Maria Novella, Florence, today identified with the Rucellai Madonna (Uffizi). His most celebrated and only authenticated work is a large altar called the Maestà in the Siena cathedral. It was finished in 1311 and was carried to its place by a rejoicing populace. While the main panel of the altar remains in the cathedral, the scattered predelle are now in the galleries of London and Berlin; the Frick Collection, New York City; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and several private collections. Several other works are attributed to Duccio on stylistic grounds, including the design of stained-glass windows in the cathedral at Siena.

Buoninsegna, Duccio di:

see Duccio di BuoninsegnaDuccio di Buoninsegna
, fl. 1278–1319, early Italian artist, first great painter of Siena. Infusing new life into the stylized Byzantine tradition, he initiated a style intrinsic to the development of the Sienese school—the expressive use of outline.
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Duccio Di Buoninsegna


Born circa 1255; died circa 1319. Italian painter. Founder of the 14th-century Sienese school of painting.

Duccio di Buoninsegna did not join the masters of the Roman and Florentine schools in their quest for the innovative. Although primarily influenced by Italo-Byzantine painting and French Gothic miniature painting, Duccio’s works do re-veal some characteristics of pre-Renaissance art. His altar-pieces, distinguished by gold ornamental backgrounds and vivid, refined color schemes, are lyrical and possess an emotionally expressive and refined linear rhythm (for example, the Madonna With Saints, National Pinocoteca, Siena, and the Rucellai Madonna, 1285, Ufizzi Gallery, Florence). In his main work, the Maestà altarpiece for the Cathedral of Siena (a double-sided polyptych, 1308-11, main part now in the Cathedral Museum, Siena), Duccio represented the Madonna enthroned with angels and saints on the obverse side and scenes of the passion of Christ on the reverse side. Without totally breaking away from medieval canons, Duccio sought to endow traditional compositional schemes with a more convincing lifelike quality and to convey a sense of volume and space. There are several reconstructions suggesting the original form of the polyptych.


Alpatov, M. V. Ital’ianskoe iskusstvo epokhi Dante i Dzhotto. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939. Pages 110-17.
Lazarev, V. N. Proiskhozhdenie ital’ianskogo Vozrozhdeniia, vol. 2. Moscow, 1959. Pages 157-65.
Brandi, C. Duccio. Florence, 1951.
Carli, E. Duccio. Milan, 1962.


Duccio di Buoninsegna

?1255--?1318, Italian painter; founder of the Sienese school
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Its fame is owed chiefly to its school of painting, of which Duccio di Buoninsegna, Simone Martini and the two Lorenzettis were the greatest representatives.
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The artists covered in this discussion--Giotto, Duccio, Simone Martini, and the Lorenzetti brothers--are familiar ones and the sites include Assisi, Rome, Florence, Siena, and Padua.
Then at school at Marlborough, Tom first encountered art history through a particular teacher ('He would stick postcards of works by Duccio or Giotto on a board on the Monday, and on Saturday we would write an essay about them').
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