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Duccio Di Buoninsegna's Madonna And Child

2099 words - 8 pages

“The Met’s very own Mona Lisa” (Tomkins 9). That is what Duccio di Buoninsegna’s Madonna and Child painting is known as today. “The Metropolitan Museum of Art bought the Madonna and Child for forty-five to fifty million dollars” (Tomkins 1). However, the painting was not always in public hands; in fact, the Met purchased the last known work of Duccio in private hands. Originally, the painting was held in the private hands of Adolphe Stoclet and his wife. When the couple died, their house and their collection went to their son, Jacques who held onto the painting, and passed it down to his daughters who lent it to an exhibition in Siena of Duccio and his school. The painting was eventually withdrawn from the exhibition and sold (Tomkins 2). Madonna and Child painting dated 1300 and was painted by Duccio di Buoninsegna a Sienese painter, who is considered the founder of modern Italian painting. I chose to research this painting because the subject matter of religious imagery and symbols interests me. Also because when I looked at the painting the emotion on the Madonna’s face almost jumped out at me. It is as if, she is looking at her newborn child with this deep sadness, which almost makes you think that the painting is foreshadowing the death of Jesus Christ. In addition, the burns of the side of the frame peaked my interest, as to why they were there. Art critics were also interested in this work they even consider Madonna and Child one of Duccio’s perfect works, and it said to be worth all the other paintings exhibited under the name of Duccio (Christiansen 14). The Madonna and Child painting’s iconography, imagery, emotional appeal to the viewers, and meaning all make this painting still a great work of art today.
The Madonna and Child painting was economically, and socially significant. The painting’s iconography/significance is that Sienese painters like Duccio were rooted in thirteenth century pictorial traditions, but this tradition changed when Duccio recognized his rival (Giotto) and his innovations. Duccio used Giotto’s innovations as an inspiration for his paintings in particular this painting, making Madonna and Child a turning point in Duccio’s artistic career and creating a move away from pictorial traditions to a more pathos Byzantine style. “Centuries of Byzantine rigidity and impersonal, hieratic forms are brushed aside in the intimate gesture of the Christ’s child marking the beginning of what we think of as Western Art” (Tomkins 2). Madonna and Child is a radical reinterpretation of an old iconic subject switching the iconography of love to that of religious motifs (Stokstad 259). The economic significance is that the artist was supported by students in his Sienese school of painting, and was probably also somewhat supported by the church because most of his paintings were for the church (Stubblebine). This is a good thing because at the time, the church was powerful, and had just pushed back the crusaders,...

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