Simone Martini

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Simone_Martini_Petrarch.jpg
Petrach's Virgil (title page) (c.1336)
Illuminated manuscript, 29,5 x 20 cm
Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan

Simone Martini (c.12841344) was a Sienese painter who greatly influenced the development of the International Gothic style, and was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting. Martini was likely a pupil of Duccio di Buoninsegna and his brother-in-law was the artist Lippo Memmi. Very little documentation survives regarding Simone's life, and much of his career is subject to debate by art historians. Simone Martini died while in service of the Papal court at Avignon in 1344.

Simone was doubtless apprenticed to Duccio, the leading Sienese painter of the time, from an early age. Among his first documented works is the "Maestà" of 1315 in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. A copy of the work, executed shortly thereafter by Lippo Memmi in San Gimignano, testifies to the enduring influence Simone's prototypes would have on other artists throughout the fourteenth century. Perpetuating the Sienese tradition, Simone's style contrasted with the sobriety and monumentality of Florentine art, and is noted for its soft, stylized, decorative feautures, sinuosity of line, and unsurpassed courtly elegance. Simone's art owes much to French manuscript illumination and ivory carving, as examples of such art were brought to Siena in the fourteenth century by means of the Via Francigena, a main pilgrimage and trade route from Northern Europe to Rome.

Simone's major works include the Maestà (1315) in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, St Louis of Toulouse Crowning the King at the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples (1317), the S. Caterina Polyptych in Pisa (1319) and the Annunciation and two Saints at the Uffizi in Florence (1333), as well as frescoes in the Chapel of St. Martin in S. Francesco, Assisi. Francis Petrarch became friends with Simone while in Avignon, and two of his sonnets make reference to a portrait of Laura de Noves he supposedly painted for the poet.

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