In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
Welcome to day 5, I hope you are enjoying our journey. Yesterday we explored Duccio’s, ‘Maesta’. Today we move to one of Duccio’s students who is believed to have worked on portions of the Maesta.
Simone Martini was a Gothic painter who was heavily influenced by Duccio, and absorbed his use of color and harmony. Martini was also influenced by the graceful lines and delicacy of French Gothic Style. We can see both influences in his Annunciation painted for the Chapel of Saint Ansano in the Siena Cathedral.
The work was done in 1333 on a wood panel. You can read how panels were prepped here. The Annunciation is currently housed in the Uffizi in Florence.
The work is a tryptych, a work made on three panels. The panels are frequently attached with hinges and are meant to be viewed together. Tryptych’s were frequently used for altarpieces. In this case, art historians are not sure that the side paintings were originally viewed as they are now framed, but we do know they were meant to be viewed together. The saint on the left is Ansamo. This is the saint this chapel is dedicated to, and the saint on the right is Margaret.
The saints were painted by Martini’s brother in law, Lippo Mimmi, a celebrated artist in his own right, but we are not going to focus on the Saints today, but on the central panel.
The frame that the work is exhibited in is not the original. This ornate frame was made in the 1800’s, and can detract from the painting because it cast shadows onto the work, but the style is probably similar to the original frame.
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