Simone Martini


Simone Martini's Training Pictorial Production Maestà The Iconography of the Maestà The Maestà and the Dolce Stil Novo


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The Iconography of the Maestà

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In the centre of the Maestà painted by Simone Martini in Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall), under the canopy decorated with the Republic of Siena’s coat of arms, the Madonna and Child is sitting on a sumptuous gothic throne, surrounded by a vast number of saints, apostles and angels. The characters are arranged in three concentric semi ellipses.
To the right of the throne are St. Paul, archangel Gabriel, Mary Magdalene, John the Evangelist and Catherine of Alexandria. To the left are St. Peter, archangel Michael, St. Agnes, John the Baptist and St. Barbara.
Sienna’s four patron saints are found kneeling at the bottom of the altar: St. Crescentius, St. Victor, St. Sabinus and St. Ansanus. In the foreground two angels offer the Madonna lilies and roses in a golden tray.

The great canopy, lively coloured, accommodates the characters and creates a convincing space effect. The undulated forms suggest the lightness of the fabric blown by a light breeze, and the supports, tall and thin, scan the space according to a musical rhythm.

The composition is framed on a red background decorated with classical gold racemes, where two different sized alternated medallions stand out. In the bigger medallion the busts of saints and fathers of the Church are represented in the top and bottom strips. The prophets are on the sides and four evangelists are in the angles. At the top, in the centre, a medallion with the Benedictory Christ can be seen and at the bottom, in correspondence to the top, the allegory of the Old and New Law (Lex Vetus, Lex Nova), is represented by a bust of a woman with two heads, one old and one young. This medallion is sided by two scrolls that bring the Decalogue and the Seven Sacraments and the two sides of Siena’s coin. In the smaller circles the coat of arms of Siena is represented: the black and white blazon, symbol of the Republic of Siena, and the rampant lion, symbol of the Sienese people in the seal of the Captain of the People(1).

A. Cocchi

Trad.:A. Sturmer


Notes

1) Administrative title used in Italy during the Middle Ages


Bibliografia

P. Torriti. Simone Martini. Dossier Art  n. 56, Giunti, Firenze, 1991
La Nuova Enciclopedia dell'Arte, Garzanti, 1986
E. Bernini. R. Rota. Figura 1. Profili di storia dell'Arte. Editori Laterza. Roma-Bari 2002
G. Cricco, F. Di Teodoro, Itinerario nell’arte, vol. 1, Zanichelli Bologna 2004
G. Contini, M.C. Gozzoli. L'opera completa di Simone Martini. Classici dell'Arte Rizzoli, Milano, 1966
E. Castelnuovo. Pittori girovaghi nell'Avignone dei papi. in: Il romanzo della pittura. Giotto e i maestri del Trecento. Supplemento a La Repubblica, Arnoldo Mondadori, Verona, 1988
P.L.L. de Castris. La Napoli cortese del saggio Roberto.in: Il romanzo della pittura. Giotto e i maestri del Trecento. Supplemento a La Repubblica, Arnoldo Mondadori, Verona, 1988
G. Bonsanti. Simone Martini. Associazione per le Casse di Risparmio italiane, Roma 1994



 

Tags:Simone Martini, painting, iconography, Madonna, saints, Alessandra Cocchi, A. Sturmer, .

Stile:Gotico.

Per saperne di più sulla città di: Siena

 



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Great Council Hall, Siena’s Town Hall. View of the fresco of the Maestà from SImone Martini.


Simone Martini. Maestà. Detail of the frame with a prophet. 1315. Fresco with inserts of glass, metal leaf with perforation, stucco and paper. 763X970cm. Siena, Town Hall.


Simone Martini. Maestà. Detail of St. Ansanus, Siena’s Part. con Sant'Ansano, Patron of Siena. 1315. Fresco with inserts of glass, metal leaf with perforation, stucco and paper. Siena, Town Hall.


Simone Martini- La Maestà: detail depicting the seal of the City of Siena. Siena, Town Hall



 

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