Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian: [ˈduttʃo di ˌbwɔninˈseɲɲa]; c. 1255–1260 – c. 1318–1319) was an Italian painter active in Siena, Tuscany, in the late 13th and early 14th century. He was hired throughout his life to complete many important works in government and religious buildings around Italy. Duccio is credited with creating the painting styles of Trecento and the Sienese school, and also contributed significantly to the Sienese Gothic style.

Maesta 021
Bornc. 1255–1260
Diedc. 1318–1319
Siena, Republic of Siena
Known forPainting
Notable work
Rucellai Madonna (1285), Maestà with Twenty Angels and Nineteen Saints (1308–1311)
MovementSienese school, Gothic Style


Although much is still unconfirmed about Duccio and his life, there is more documentation of him and his life than of other Italian painters of his time. It is known that he was born and died in the city of Siena, and was also mostly active in the surrounding region of Tuscany. Other details of his early life and family are as uncertain, as much else in his history.

One avenue to reconstructing Duccio's biography are the traces of him in archives that list when he ran up debts or incurred fines. Some records say he was married with 7 children. The relative abundance of archival mentions has led historians to believe that he had difficulties managing his life and his money.

Another route to filling in Duccio's biography are by analyzing the works that can be attributed to him with certainty. Information can be obtained by analyzing his style, the date and location of the works, and more. Due to gaps where Duccio's name goes unmentioned in the Sienese records for years at a time, scholars speculate he may have traveled to Paris, Assisi and Rome.[1]

Nevertheless, his artistic talents were enough to overshadow his lack of organization as a citizen, and he became famous in his own lifetime. In the 14th century Duccio became one of the most favored and radical painters in Siena.

Artistic career

Duccio di Buoninsegna 036
The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew (from the Maestà), c. 1308–1311.

Where Duccio studied, and with whom, is still a matter of great debate, but by analyzing his style and technique art historians have been able to limit the field.[2] Many believe that he studied under Cimabue, while others think that maybe he had actually traveled to Constantinople himself and learned directly from a Byzantine master.

Little is known of his painting career prior to 1278, when at the age of 23 he is recorded as having painted twelve account book cases.[3] Although Duccio was active from 1268 to about 1311 only approximately 13 of his works survive today.[4]

Of Duccio's surviving works, only two can be definitively dated. Both were major public commissions:[5] the "Rucellai Madonna" (Galleria degli Uffizi), commissioned in April 1285 by the Compagnia del Laudesi di Maria Vergine for a chapel in Santa Maria Novella in Florence; and the Maestà commissioned for the high altar of Siena Cathedral in 1308, which Duccio completed by June 1311.[6]


Duccio di buoninsegna, madonna col bambino, 1300 ca.
Madonna with child, the child touching the virgin's veil
Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Nativity with the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, 1308-1311, NGA 10
The Nativity with the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, 1308-1311, National Gallery of Art

Duccio's known works are on wood panel, painted in egg tempera and embellished with gold leaf. Differently from his contemporaries and artists before him, Duccio was a master of tempera and managed to conquer the medium with delicacy and precision. There is no clear evidence that Duccio painted frescoes.[2]

Duccio's style was similar to Byzantine art in some ways, with its gold backgrounds and familiar religious scenes, however it was also different and more experimental. Duccio began to break down the sharp lines of Byzantine art, and soften the figures. He used modeling (playing with light and dark colors) to reveal the figures underneath the heavy drapery; hands, faces, and feet became more rounded and three-dimensional. Duccio's paintings are inviting and warm with color. His pieces consisted of many delicate details and were sometimes inlaid with jewels or ornamental fabrics. Duccio was also noted for his complex organization of space. He organized his characters specifically and purposefully. In his "Rucellai Madonna" (c. 1285) the viewer can see all of these qualities at play.[7]

Duccio was also one of the first painters to put figures in architectural settings, as he began to explore and investigate depth and space. He also had a refined attention to emotion not seen in other painters at this time. The characters interact tenderly with each other; it is no longer Christ and the Virgin, it is mother and child. He flirts with naturalism, but his paintings are still awe inspiring. Duccio's figures seem to be otherworldly or heavenly, consisting of beautiful colors, soft hair, gracefulness and fabrics not available to mere humans.

He influenced many other painters, most notably Simone Martini, and the brothers Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti.

Followers of Duccio

In the course of his life, Duccio had many pupils, even if it is not known if these were true pupils, formed and matured artistically within his workshop, or simply painters who imitated his style. Many of these artists are anonymous, and their connection to Duccio has emerged only from analysis of a body of work with common stylistic traits. The first pupils, whom we can refer to as a group as first-generation followers, were active between about 1290 and 1320 and include the Master of Badia a Isola, the Master of Città di Castello, the Aringhieri Master, the Master of the Collazioni dei Santi Padri and the Master of San Polo in Rosso.

Another group of followers, who could be termed followers of the second generation, were active between about 1300 and 1335 and include Segna di Bonaventura, Ugolino di Nerio, the Master of the Gondi Maestà, the Master of Monte Oliveto and the Master of Monterotondo. It should however be said that Segna di Bonaventura was already active prior to 1300, so that he overlaps as to period both the first and second generation of followers.

A third group followed Duccio only at a distance of several years after his death, a fact which shows the impact his painting had on Siena and on Tuscany as a whole. The artists of this third group, active between about 1330 and 1350, include Segna di Bonaventura's sons, that is, Niccolò di Segna and Francesco di Segna, and a pupil of Ugolino di Nerio, namely, the Master of Chianciano.

Some of these artists were influenced by Duccio alone, to the point of creating a decided affinity or kinship between their works and his. Among these the Master of Badia a Isola, and Ugolino di Nerio, along with Segna di Bonaventura and their sons. Other artists were influenced also by other schools, and these include the Aringhieri Master (think of the massive volumes of Giotto), and the Master of the Gondi Maestà (who shows the influence also of Simone Martini).

The case of Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti is somewhat different. These two artists painted works that have affinities with Duccio: for Simone from about 1305, and Pietro from about 1310 onwards. However, from the outset their work showed distinctive individual features, as can be seen in Simone's Madonna and Child no. 583 (1305–1310) and in Pietro's Orsini Triptych, painted at Assisi (about 1310–1315). Later the two developed styles with completely independent characteristics such that they acquired an artistic standing that elevates them well beyond being labelled simply as followers of Duccio.


Duccio di Buoninsegna - Annunciation - WGA06752


Duccio di Buoninsegna - Transfiguration - WGA06780


Duccio - Triptych- Crucifixion and other Scenes - Google Art Project


Duccio di Buoninsegna - Flight into Egypt - WGA06766

Flight into Egypt

Triptych (1305-08); Duccio di Buoninsegna
Duccio di Buoninsegna - The Raising of Lazarus - Google Art Project

The Raising of Lazarus

Duccio di Buoninsegna - Christ and the Samaritan Woman - Google Art Project

Christ and the Samaritan Woman

Maesta 021
Madonna em Majestade dita Rucellai - Duccio

Rucellai Madonna

Known surviving works

Duccio di Buoninsegna cat01
Madonna with Child, c. 1300–1305.


  1. ^ Gordon, Dillian (28 July 2014). "Duccio (di Buoninsegna)". Oxford Art Online. Archived from the original on 2016-12-30. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b Smart 1978, p. 39.
  3. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=LdeIF0rQFDUC&lpg=PA289&ots=vx1Zc79Nuw&dq=duccio%20twelve%20panels%20the%20nine&pg=PA289#v=onepage&q&f=false
  4. ^ smarthistory.khanacademy.org/duccio-madonna.html
  5. ^ a b "Madonna and Child Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian, active by 1278–died 1318 Siena)". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  6. ^ Smart 1978, p. 40.
  7. ^ Polzer, Joseph (2005). "A Question of Method: Quantitative Aspects of Art Historical Analysis in the Classification of Early Trecento Italian Painting Based on Ornamental Practice". Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorisches Institutes in Florenz. 49: 33–100. JSTOR 27655375.
  8. ^ "Triptych: Crucifixion and other Scenes c. 1302–08". royalcollection.org.uk. 2018. Archived from the original on Apr 11, 2015. Retrieved Jul 27, 2018.
  9. ^ Christiansen, Keith. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2004–2005." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 63 (Fall 2005), pp. 14–15, ill. on cover (color, cropped) and p. 14 (color).
  10. ^ "The Crucifixion; the Redeemer with Angels; Saint Nicholas; Saint Gregory, 1311–18, Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian (Sienese), active in 1278, died by 1319)". Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Retrieved 24 December 2016.


  • Beck, James (2006). Duccio to Raphael. European Press Academic Publishing. ISBN 8883980433.
  • Smart, Alastair (1978). The Dawn of Italian Painting 1250–1400. Oxford: Phaidon. ISBN 0714817694.

Further reading

  • Bellosi, Luciano (1999). Duccio: The Maestà. New York: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 9780500237717.
  • Bellosi, Luciano; Ragionieri, Giovanna (2003). Duccio di Buoninsegna. Giunti Editore. ISBN 9788809032088.
  • Jannella, Cecilia (1991). Duccio di Buoninsegna. Scala/Riverside. ISBN 9781878351180.

External links

A Pistol for Ringo

A Pistol for Ringo (Italian: Una pistola per Ringo) is a 1965 Spaghetti Western, a joint Italian and Spanish production. Originally written and directed by Duccio Tessari, the film's success led to a sequel, The Return of Ringo, later that year.

The film stars Giuliano Gemma (billed as 'Montgomery Wood') alongside Fernando Sancho, Nieves Navarro, George Martin, Antonio Casas, José Manuel Martín and Hally Hammond.

Agostino di Duccio

Agostino di Duccio (1418 – c. 1481) was an early Renaissance Italian sculptor.

Born in Florence, he worked in Prato with Donatello and Michelozzo, who influenced him greatly. In 1441, he was accused of stealing precious materials from a Florentine monastery and was banished from his native city as a result. The following year he continued the work on the altar of S. Geminiano for the Cathedral of Modena, a work noticeable for the influence of Michelozzo.

In 1446, he studied late Gothic sculpture in Venice and met Matteo de' Pasti, a fellow sculptor who called on him to execute the sculptural decoration of the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini, where he stayed from 1449 to 1457. The decorations were supposed to be a sort of mediaeval encyclopedia, with reliefs of zodiacal and other allegorical and mythological figures.

Between 1457 and 1462 he created the marble façade of the church of S. Bernardino at Perugia and the following years until 1470 he created many works especially in Florence, such as a Madonna d'Auvillers for Piero di Cosimo de' Medici, now found at the Louvre. In 1473 he designed the outer facade of the Porta di San Pietro in the city walls of Perugia, in a style influenced by Leone Battista Alberti. Other works are at Amelia and at the National Gallery of Umbria at Perugia. He died in about 1481 in Perugia.

Duccio Tessari

Duccio Tessari (11 October 1926 – 6 September 1994) was an Italian director, screenwriter and actor, considered one of the fathers of spaghetti westerns.Born in Genoa, Tessari started in the fifties as documentarist and as screenwriter of peplum films. In 1964 he co-wrote Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars, one year later he gained an impressive commercial success and launched the Giuliano Gemma's career with A Pistol for Ringo and its immediate sequel, The Return of Ringo.He later touched different genres and worked in RAI TV, directing some successful TV-series. He died of cancer in Rome, at 68. He was married to actress Lorella De Luca.

Giuliano Gemma

Giuliano Gemma (2 September 1938 – 1 October 2013) was an Italian actor. He is best known internationally for his work in Spaghetti Westerns, particularly for his performances as the title character in Duccio Tessari's A Pistol for Ringo (1965), Captain Montgomery Brown/'Ringo' in Tessari's The Return of Ringo (1965), the title character in Michele Lupo's Arizona Colt (1966), Scott Mary in Tonino Valerii's Day of Anger (1967) and Michael "California" Random in Lupo's California (1977).

Kiss Kiss...Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss... Bang Bang is a 1966 Italian spy movie directed by Duccio Tessari and starring Giuliano Gemma.

Maestà (Duccio)

The Maestà, or Maestà of Duccio is an altarpiece composed of many individual paintings commissioned by the city of Siena in 1308 from the artist Duccio di Buoninsegna. The front panels make up a large enthroned Madonna and Child with saints and angels, and a predella of the Childhood of Christ with prophets. The reverse has the rest of a combined cycle of the Life of the Virgin and the Life of Christ in a total of forty-three small scenes; several panels are now dispersed or lost. The base of the panel has an inscription that reads (in translation): "Holy Mother of God, be thou the cause of peace for Siena and life to Duccio because he painted thee thus." Though it took a generation for its effect truly to be felt, Duccio's Maestà set Italian painting on a course leading away from the hieratic representations of Byzantine art towards more direct presentations of reality.

Puzzle (1974 film)

L’uomo senza memoria (internationally released as Puzzle and Man Without a Memory) is a 1974 Italian giallo film directed by Duccio Tessari. It was written by Ernesto Gastaldi. La Stampa defined the film as "full of ideas and with a strong storyline".

Safari Express

Safari Express is a 1976 Italian-German adventure-comedy film directed by Duccio Tessari. It is the sequel of Africa Express.


Sexycop (Italian: La Madama) 1976 Italian crime comedy film directed by Duccio Tessari. It is based on the novel with the same name written by Massimo Felisatti and Fabio Pittorru.

Sienese School

The Sienese School of painting flourished in Siena, Italy, between the 13th and 15th centuries. Its most important artists include Duccio, whose work shows Byzantine influence, his pupil Simone Martini, the brothers Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Domenico and Taddeo di Bartolo, Sassetta, and Matteo di Giovanni.

The Cats (1968 film)

The Cats (Italian: I bastardi) is a 1968 crime film directed by Duccio Tessari and starring Rita Hayworth.

The Fifth Commandment

The Fifth Commandment (Italian: L'alba dei falsi dei, German: Verdammt bis in den Tod) is a 1978 Italian-German drama film directed by Duccio Tessari.

The Heroes (1973 film)

The Heroes (also known as Gli eroi, Les héros and Los héroes millonarios) is a 1973 Italian war-comedy film directed by Duccio Tessari.

The Return of Ringo

The Return of Ringo (Italian: Il ritorno di Ringo) is a 1965 Italian spaghetti western film directed by Duccio Tessari and the sequel to the earlier film A Pistol for Ringo.Like its predecessor, the film stars Giuliano Gemma and features a score composed by Ennio Morricone. The film's story is a loose retelling of Homer's Odyssey.

Three Tough Guys

Three Tough Guys (also known as Tough Guys) is a 1974 crime-action film directed by Duccio Tessari. It may be regarded as an example of the Blaxploitation genre. It stars Lino Ventura, Fred Williamson and Isaac Hayes, who also composed the soundtrack. It is a coproduction between United States, Italy (where it was released Uomini duri) and France (where is known as Les Durs). The film was shot in Chicago.

Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate

Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate (a.k.a. The Bloodstained Butterfly) is a 1971 giallo film directed by Duccio Tessari. It was distributed internationally as The Bloodstained Butterfly, and in West Germany as Das Geheimnis der Schwarzen Rose (Secret of the Black Rose) which was the name of the Edgar Wallace story on which the film was based. It starred Helmut Berger and Evelyn Stewart (a.k.a. Ida Galli).

Una voglia da morire

Una voglia da morire is a 1965 Italian drama film directed by Duccio Tessari.

Winged Devils

Winged Devils (Italian: Forza "G", literally "G" Force) is a 1972 Italian adventure-comedy film directed by Duccio Tessari.

Zorro (1975 Italian film)

Zorro is a 1975 spaghetti Western film based on the character created by Johnston McCulley. Directed by Duccio Tessari, it stars French actor Alain Delon as Zorro. The movie, produced by an Italian studio, was filmed in Spain.

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