Rucellai Madonna, Duccio

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Rucellai Madonna, Duccio

Duccio di Buoninsigna was an Italian artist from the city of Siena. He lived during the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th. Throughout his life he was hired to complete many important works in government and religious buildings around Italy. During the 1300's Duccio became one of the most favored and progressive painters in Siena. He is now considered one of the founders of Western art.

Not much is known about Duccio's life. But there are records saying that he was married and had seven children. There are also records that show that he often had debts and fines. So even though he was a successful artist, he still had trouble managing his life and money. Children are expensive.

There had always been economic rivalry and territorial conflict between the city of Florence and Siena. Conflict was also caused by the fact that the cities supported two different factions.

Florence represented the Guelphs, who supported the Pope, while Siena represented the Ghibellines, who supported the Holy Roman Empire. The Sienese reached the peak of political success on September 4, 1260, when their army crushed the Florentines at the Battle of Montaperti. In the 13th century Siena became an important banking center, but still it was unable to compete with its rival Florence. The popes imposed economic sanctions agains Siena's merchants. The Ghibelline cause declined and not much later Siena itself turned Guelf. But Siena could still compete with Florence on an artistic level.

The Sienese school was the only school that could compete with the Florentine school. Duccio is the greatest representative of the Sienese school. This school is completely devoted to Christian art. Compared to the school of Florence it was more conservative. It was very much inspired by Byzantine...