Duccio's Madonna and Child
Duccio di Buoninsegna, Madonna and Child, tempera and gold on panel, c. 1300
(Metropolitan Museum of Art)
In this period and for many hundreds of years later,
Italy was not a unified country, but rather was divided into many small
countries we call city-states. Florence, Siena, Milan,, Venice
-- these were essentially their own countries, with their own
governments. The city-states were often at war with eachother.
Siena had a unique style emphasizing decorative surfaces, sinuous lines, elongated figures and a heavy use of gold. Duccio is the founder of the Sienese style, and his work is quite different from Giotto's, since Giotto emphasizes a greater naturalism -- creating figures who are more monumental (large and feeling the pull of gravity, in correct proportion) and a greater illusion of three-dimensional space.