Siena and "our" Simone Martini

I am a very selective art book reader. To be honest after many years I prefer to get back to only one but very special book: Waldemar Lysiak "White Man Painting" ( 8 volumes, first published 1997 ). I read and then I travel to see the paintings with my own eyes.


This time we first went to Siena, Tuscany, Italy. Palazzo Pubblico. Two giant Simone Martini frescos: Guidoriccio da Fogliano and Maestà.


Siena - XIVth century. The dusk of Renaissance. First secular ( non-religious ) painting of modern era. Guigoricco was a Condottiere - an Italian soldier of fortune. Rich, bold and beautifully dressed, he marches through the Tuscany landscape after the seize of the city of Montemassi.

The painting has yet still a very primitive, post-Gothic perspective. But the whole beauty of the fresco is hidden in its dynamic but proud pose of Guigoricco on his horse. He really seems to be "Clint Eastwood of the XIVth century" ( W.Lysiak ).



Guidoriccio da Fogliano. c. 1328. Fresco. Palazzo Pubblico, Sala del Mappamondo, Siena, Italy

Maestà means ‘majesty’. It is used to describe a representation of the Virgin and Child enthroned as the Queen of Heaven, surrounded by a court of saints. Maestà by Martini is one of his early paintings. Very much Gothic in style. No perspective, no landscape, all the saints and the altar are painted in Byzantium style. But look at the saints faces: they are so non-Gothic and so much different from the Giotto saints. These faces come from Renaissance: full of human feelings of adornment and compassion.



Maestà. 1317. Fresco. Palazzo Pubblico, Sala del Mappamondo, Siena, Italy.










Camera: NIKON D80. ISO 1200. Neat Image post-processing.
BTW. No photos allowed at Palazzo Pubbilco ;)


Maciek. 24.04.2009