Duccio di Buoninsegna
The Santa Maria Novella Maestá

Tempera on wood
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Provenance: Santa Maria Novella, Florence

This image exemplifies the lessening of formalism that begins in the late 13th century. Instead of sitting on his mother's lap in formal garments, the child wears age-appropriate clothing and sits on her knee. In this instance, he continues to make the traditional blessing gesture, but as if to someone "offstage."

As with the child, Mary's posture is a bit different from earlier images, her right side turned slightly back into the throne. But she still wears the traditional red robe under a blue mantle with stars on the shoulder and cape, and she still engages the viewer's gaze. And of course, she is still enthroned and attended by angels.

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Photographed at the Uffizi by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.