Sunday, June 29, 2014

Somone Martini

The Annunciation and Two Saints
Tempera and gold on wood
305 × 265 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

This wooden triptych beautiful Annunciation was painted by Simone Martini and his brother-in-law Lippo Memmi for the chapel of Sant'Ansano of the Cathedral in Siena. The work is considered an absolute masterpiece and one of the greatest examples of Sienese Gothic painting, characterized by the wonderful elegance of both line and color. The Archangel Gabriel has just touched ground in front of the Virgin as shown by his unfold wings and his swirling mantle. The Virgin is portrayed almost surprised and frightened by the sudden appearance. Gabriel, holding an olive branch in his hand, a traditional symbol of peace, is to communicate her that she will soon bear the child Jesus, whose name means the "Savior." 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 great masterpiece.

Simone Martini (c.1284-1344) was an Italian painter born in Siena. He was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting and greatly influenced the development of the International Gothic style. Very little documentation of Simone's life survives, and many attributions are debated by art historians. He died while in the service of the Papal court at Avignon, France. His brother-in-law was the artist Lippo Memmi.