The House of Duccio: discovering the workshop where the “Maestà” was painted

12 Aug 14

 

Maestà by Duccio

Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1318-19), painted the ‘Maestà’ for the Cathedral of Siena (a detail above).

 

 

The great altarpiece, “the largest painted table of the Italian school we received” (cit. Torriti), was commissioned to the artist on 9 October 1308. Completed in 1311, the work came out of the artist’s house on 9 June of the same year, and solemnly carried in procession to the Cathedral, with the presence of the city authorities and the Sienese people.

The table was placed on the main altar of the Cathedral and remained there until 1505, when it was moved to the altar of San Sebastiano (still in the Cathedral).

In 1771 it was unfortunately dismembered and divided into several parts, in order to separate the part painted on the façade from the one painted on the back: Duccio’s masterpiece was, in fact, a painted altarpiece on both sides.

The artist signed the work on the basis of the throne with an inscription which is also a beautiful dedication to the Virgin:

Particolare dell'Iscrizione sul muro della casa di Duccio

 

MATER SANCTA DEI / SIS CAUSE SENIS REQUIEI – SIS DUCIO VITA TE QUIA / PINXIT ITA

 

An anecdote speaks of the particular system used to bring the large painting out of Duccio’s house which, once finished, was much higher than the door.

This and the significance of Duccio’s signature / dedication in the Majesty will be discussed on the evening of Thursday 21 August, on the occasion of an urban trek that will lead you to discover the vicissitudes of the Sienese artists.

The itinerary will depart at 21:30 from the Piazza del Campo (meeting point Fonte Gaia) to cross the streets of the center and reach the houses of the great protagonists of Sienese art.


 

Michele Busillo

Tour guide of Florence and Siena

 

Bibliography
P.Torriti; Tutta Siena, contrada per contrada; Bonechi-Edizioni «Il Turismo» Firenze;  p.134 (Italian edition)

 

This post was written by Michele Busillo