An artist who painted in the Gothic Medieval style, Duccio di Buoninsegna lived from 1255-1318 AD. He was a contemporary of Cimabue. He lived in Siena, which had a cultural rivalry with the neighboring city-state of Florence. However, during his lifetime, the two cities were moving in artistically opposite directions. Florence (and most of Italy) was moving away from the iconographic, highly representative, two-dimensional art of the Byzantines, while in Siena the art was moving more towards the decorative attributes of Byzantine style. The Sienese art used more color and detail than any European art before it.

Duccio's art would influence painters for two centuries after his death. It was innovative because it was some of the first to follow naturalism, and also because it paid attention to space and perspective (although the perspective often seems distorted because no one would calculate the mathematical rules for perspective until the early 15th century, when architect Filippo Brunelleschi would do the job).

The Maesta (which means "majesty") was a sacra conversazione painted in 1308 and installed in the Siena Cathedral in 1311. It was the culmination of his work. It was one of the largest panel paintings ever made.

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