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Simone Martini

Simone Martini

(c. 1284 - 1344)
Born: Sienna, Italy
Style: Gothic Art
Famous Works:
  • Dream of St. Martin (1312-17)
  • The Blessed Agostino Novello and His Four Miracles (c.1324)
  • Annunciation with Two Saints (1333)
Simone Martini likely began his apprenticeship in the arts at a young age, but there is some debate as to whom, exactly, was his teacher. While some think that he studied under Byzantine painter Duccio di Buoninsegna, there are others who think that Martini studied under Giotto di Bondone. While Giotto was making his notable contributions to art in Florence, Simone Martini was doing the same in Siena, albeit in different ways. Martini was a master of decorative form and religious subject. Throughout his career prestigious patrons commissioned Simone Martini. These patrons included the Sienese government and King Robert of Anjou. In 1317 he completed several altarpieces, which included the elements of Giotto's seated figures, but also contain a distinctive attention to other details such as clothing and elements of interior design. In addition to working in Naples, he is known to have painted in Pisa, Orvieto, and Assisi, where he completed a set of narrative frescoes for the chapel of Saint Martin. These paintings mark the mature style of the artist, with their rich patterning, and beautiful forms, characteristic of Sienese art. One of his greatest contributions is seen in his 1333 painting of the Annunciation. In this work, the interaction between the angel and Mary is addressed by itself, taking precedence over other characters. The Virgin's gentle gesture in reaction to the angel dominates the painting, lending a sweet and poignant air to the composition. Martini is credited with influencing the future artists of Siena, helping spread knowledge of Sienese art through Italy, and helping set the stage for the emergence of the International Gothic style.
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