Gothic Art








 

 

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PAINTING
 



Simone Martini
 

 


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Simone Martini
 


  

PETRARCH AND SIMONE MARTINI


Petrarch

The Italian poet and scholar Francesco Petrarca, known as Petrarch (1304-1374;, is seen as the first critic of modern art. A personal friend of Simone Martini, he commissioned a portrait of his beloved Laura from the Sienese master (this is now-lost, but is mentioned in one of his sonnets). A great collector of classical manuscripts, he also commissioned the artist to illuminate the frontispiece of a priceless Virgilian manuscript. While being a great judge of Gothic painting, Petrarch seems to have preferred Martini's elegant works, with their refined patterns of colour, such as those in the San Martino Chapel in the Lower Church of Assisi (c.1320). A narrative account in decorative shades, it was an intensely lyrical work, like the poetry of Petrarch's own masterpiece, Canzoniere, At this time, classical manuscripts were being recovered and Petrarch was the first to propose new standards of realism for paintings and sculptures based on criteria drawn from these classical texts. The great architect and humanist Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72) was the successor to this style, which was later seen as a critical moment in the history of art.




 







 

 





Simone Martini. Apotheosis of Virgil,
frontispiece of the Commento a
Virgilio di Servio, 1340-44.
Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.

 



 

See also COLLECTION: Simone Martini


 

Simone Martini

born c. 1284, , Siena, Republic ofSiena
died 1344, Avignon, Provence



 important exponent of Gothic painting who did more than any other artist to spread the influence of Sienesepainting.

Martini was very possibly a pupil of Duccio di Buoninsegna, from whom he probably inherited his love of harmonious, pure colours and most of his early figure types. To these he added a gracefulness of line and delicacy of interpretation that were inspired by French Gothic works that the young artist studiedin Italy. He carried to perfection the decorative line of the Gothic style and subordinated volume to the rhythm of this line.

Simone's earliest documented painting is the large fresco of the “Maesta” in the Sala del Mappamondo of the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena. The fresco depicts the enthroned Madonna and Child with angels and saints. This painting, which is signed and dated 1315 but was retouched by Simone himself in 1321, is a free version of Duccio's “Maestą” of 1308–11. But the hierarchic structure of Duccio's work has been replaced by a growing interest in illusionary perspective, and the abstract character and lack of setting ofthe earlier work has given way to concrete concepts: Simone's Virgin, crowned and splendidly attired, is a Gothic queen who holds court beneath a Gothic canopy.

About 1317 the artist painted, in Naples, the highly spiritual altarpiece “St. Louis of Toulouse Crowning His Brother, King Robert of Anjou.” Two years later he composed for the Church of Santa Caterina, Pisa, a colouristically magnificent Madonna polyptych. Perhaps in the middle of the 1320s he began the 10 scenes, full of chivalrous ideals, from the life of St. Martin of Tours in this saint's chapel in the lower Church of San Francesco, Assisi. His equestrian portrait (1328) representing Guidoriccio da Fogliano, general of the Sienese republic, was perhaps the first Sienese work of art that did not serve a religious purpose. It was also an important precedent for the numerous equestrian portraits of the Renaissance. On the other hand, the “Annunciation” triptych, painted for the Siena Cathedral, but now in the Uffizi, Florence, is deliberately unreal. Simone signed this work in 1333 with his brother-in-law, the Sienese painter Lippo Memmi, an associate for many years. The exquisite rhythm of the lines and dematerialized forms of Gabriel and Mary in the central portion of the “Annunciation” led a number of artists to imitation, but none of them achieved such vibrant contours and such spirited forms as did Simone in this greatmasterpiece.

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)
          

 

 

Simone Martini
Stained glass window
1312
St Louis Chapel, Lower Church,
San Francesco




Simone Martini.
Death of St Martin, Lower Church, Assisi. c. 1326.

 
 

Simone Martini
Stained glass window
1312
St Louis Chapel, Lower Church,
San Francesco

Simone Martini
Stained glass window
1312
St Louis Chapel, Lower Church, San Francesco


 
See also COLLECTION: Simone Martini

 

 

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