A History Of European Art
The MaestÃ , or MaestÃ of Duccio is an altarpiece composed of many individual paintings commissioned by the city of Siena in 1308 from the artist Duccio di Buoninsegna. The front panels make up a large enthroned Madonna and Child with saints and angels, and a predella of the Childhood of Christ with prophets. The reverse has the rest of a combined cycle of the Life of the Virgin and Life of Christ in a total of forty-three small scenes; several panels are now dispersed or lost. Though it took a generation for its effect truly to be felt, Duccio's MaestÃ set Italian painting on a course leading away from the hieratic representations of Byzantine art towards more direct presentations of reality.