Friday, April 13, 2007

I was reading about the painter Duccio di Buoninsegna who worked on an altarpiece for the Siena cathedral between 1308 and 1311. I was interested to read about the civic enthusiasm for his work. Completed on June 9, 1311, the altarpiece was carried through the streets in triumph from Duccio's workshop to the cathedral and was cause for a citywide celebration.
A contemporary account tells us: "On the day when it was brought to the cathedral, the shops were shut and the Bishop decreed a solemn procession of a large and devout company of priests and friars, accompanied by the nine Signori and by all the officers of the Commune and all the populace; and one by one all the most worthy persons approached the picture with lighted candles in their hands and behind them the women and children in devout attitudes. And they accompanied the said picture to the cathedral, marching in procession round the Campo, as is the custom, while the bells sounded the Gloria, in homage to so noble a painting as this is. And they remained all day praying and gave many alms to poor persons praying to God and to his Mother, who is our patroness and with her infinite mercy defends us from every adversity and evil and preserves us from the hands of traitors and enemies of Siena."
-wow! now *there* was a celebration of art!
I'm hoping local artists will be more celebrated when I finish the portrait series and they are shown in City Hall. There is a lot of talent out there- but I'm not expecting a Duccio-style procession!