The transition from the Byzantine period to

The passage from the Byzantine period to the early Renaissance as seen through the plants of Duccio


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The undermentioned thesis purposes to chart the development of European art from the Byzantine period through to the early Renaissance period from the position of the famed Italian painter Duccio di Buoninsegna. The thesis proposes to fixate in peculiar on the period between 1270 to 1311 in which clip Duccio was commissioned to paint a figure of important and high profile plants, includingMadonna of the Grey friars,The Rucellai Madonna, Madonna and ChildandMaesta. We propose to utilize these four world-renowned chef-d’oeuvres as the anchor of the text so that we are better positioned to analyze the Italian painter’s celebrated usage of signifier and composing thereby foregrounding the passage to the discernibly more realistic and humanistic quality that characterises early Renaissance art. Before we begin, though, we need to offer a brief overview and definition of both ‘Byzantine’ art and ‘early Renaissance’ art so as to set up a conceptual model for the balance of the treatment.

Byzantine Art versus Early Renaissance Art

Byzantine art was most popular during the flower of the Byzantine Era, which can by and large be traced back to the era in between the death of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th century AD and the drawn-out prostration of the Eastern Roman Empire ( the Byzantine Empire ) in 1453. The main determining factor behind the preparation of Byzantine art and Byzantine civilization in general was Orthodox readings of the Christian religion. As a consequence, Byzantine art and architecture contained a overplus of iconic spiritual imagination painted and sculpted in a discernibly ‘Eastern’ manner.

The early Renaissance art was likewise influenced by spiritual iconography with the earliest Italian art of the mediaeval period centering its focal point upon the figures of Christ and the Virgin Mary in a similar manner to Byzantine art. However, whereas, Byzantine art displayed unquestionably Eastern artistic influences ( arising from the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in modern twenty-four hours Turkey ) , early Renaissance art displayed much more of a Western European artistic manner, which focused less upon the intangible nature of spiritual icons and more upon the artistic pragmatism inherent in the human figures of Jesus, his female parent and his adherents. It is this passage from the iconographic to the humanistic from the position of Duccio that is the cardinal focal point of the proposed thesis.

Duccio’sMadonna of the Franciscans and The Rucellai Madonna

Duccio was born in Sienna around 1255. He was, hence, one of the earliest advocates of Renaissance art in Italy during the Middle Ages and, as such, his work contains strong Byzantine influences. For case, his first major work,Madonna with the Three Grey friarscontains clear and identifiable spiritual and iconographic imagination associating to the Virgin Mary. However, while this work appears to demo a sense of continuity with the yesteryear, Duccio’s inherently adept composing and cosmetic quality display a much more affectional undertone than that of the traditional Byzantine theoretical account. Therefore, we can see how Duccio represented the vehicle through which the traditional art of the Eastern Roman Empire was transported to the wholly more progressive art of the former Western Roman Empire. It is, in the concluding analysis, no happenstance that the finest and most famed art of the early Renaissance period emanated from Italy: the historical place of the Classical Roman Empire ; because it was merely in Italy that an artistic could efficaciously capture the mixture between faith and humanitarianism that was a cardinal constituent of the early Renaissance motion.

The Rucellai Madonna, in contrast, remains a basically Byzantine piece of art, doing an iconic image of the Virgin Mary in a discernibly Eastern manner. However, exposing the alone genius for manner that was his trademark, Duccio moves beyond the confines of the late 13th century so as to decorate The Rucellai Madonna with a bolder deployment of coloring material than many of his coevalss would hold dared to utilize. Furthermore, whereas the Byzantines adhered to a rigorous subject refering signifier and, particularly, symmetricalness, Duccio wholly abandons the former slavish attachment to symmetry, therefore willing a discernibly more humanistic virtuousness upon the Madonna.

Madonna and Child and Maesta

Duccio’s Madonna of the Child is one of the most celebrated pieces of Renaissance art. Indeed, it is one of the most celebrated pieces of art throughout the annals of European history. Not merely did it put a benchmark for all subsequent pictures of the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus ( which was to be one of the most consistent images throughout the undermentioned two centuries of Italian art ) , it – yet once more – high spots the extent to which the Renaissance implied a far greater grade of humanity in art than was the instance under the Byzantines. For case, whereas the Byzantine representation of the Madonna and the Child would hold separated female parent and boy, Duccio can be seen to do a point of holding the two cardinal characters within his painting touch one another: the babe touching his mother’s face ; the female parent touching her baby’s pess. This represented a clearly Renaissance work of art.

The building of Measta followed a likewise progressive way with the celebrated, iconic Siena reredos stand foring the morning of a new stage of European and Renaissance art, which farther demonstrated the displacement in manner from lauding the Godhead, which was depicted in Byzantine work, to art which represented human concerns, which was the trademark of Renaissance art. Therefore, instead than simply depict the distant nature of the Godhead Jesus and the virginal Mary, Duccio represents these same images surrounded by persons painted in a assortment of little, single scenes. Whereas the Byzantines restricted the free look of infinite and signifier, Duccio begins the modernistic move towards a more realistic manner where signifier and manner are topics to the caprices of humanity and non entirely the dominant spiritual political orientation of the twenty-four hours.


The sweeping deficiency of biographical information associating to Duccio the adult male can non take away from the unconditioned illustriousness of Duccio the creative person. Though he was punctually celebrated in his ain clip, his greatest gif to descendants has arguably been the manner in which he acts a prism through which to chart the development of European art from the antediluvian Byzantine epoch to the beginnings of enlightenment portrayed in the chef-d’oeuvres of the early Renaissance.

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