In 1308, Duccio di Buoninsegna, one of the foremost European artists and the founder of the Sienese school, signed a contract to paint a panel for the high altar of Siena's cathedral. Three years later, the richest and most complex altarpiece ever created in Italy--the Maestê--was carried amid general jubilation from the artist's workshop to be installed in the cathedral. It was the greatest achievement of Duccio's career and remains one of the most beautiful works in Italian art. Centuries later, the altarpiece was removed from the cathedral and several panels were separated from it. While most of the Maestê--forty-six panels--survives in Siena's Cathedral Museum, parts of it can be found in museum collections around the world, including the National Gallery and the Frick Collection. This book brings together the known fragments and unites them with the two-sided altarpiece, illustrating the work in 150 sumptuous color plates, many of which reproduce details in actual size. The central panel on the front of the altarpiece shows the Virgin Enthroned with Angels and Saints, while the back contains mainly scenes from the Passion. Other panels depict the Apostles and scenes from the Life of Christ and the Gospel story. The authoritative text, by a noted Italian art historian, discusses the social and historical context of Duccio's commission, the artist's relationship with Cimabue and Giotto, and the influence of the work on Sienese and Italian painting.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian
Painted between 1308 and 1311 for the high altar of the cathedral of Siena, Duccio di Buoninsegna's "Maest?" is not only a key monument in the genesis of European painting but also a work of supernal beauty. It is this beauty that is so lavishly documented in this superb gathering of 258 color plates. These superior reproductions permit a comprehensive appreciation of virtually every aspect of Duccio's complex and multifaceted work. The quality of the illustrations permit a kind of intimacy hardly possible even when viewing the painting in situ. Less satisfying, and certainly less significant, is Bellosi's (Cimabue, Giotto) introductory essay. In his too-abbreviated discussion, he sketches the origins of the "Maest?," elucidates its place within the artist's oeuvre, and provides a minimally functional description of its style and stylistic connections. What it lacks is adequate consideration of its condition, iconographic nuances, sense of function, and an account of its impact in its own epoch. On the basis of the illustrations alone, however, this lavish tome is recommended for collections concerned with trecento art.ARobert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Thames & Hudson, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110500237719