(b. 1280/85, Siena, d. 1344, Avignon)

Maestà (Madonna with Angels and Saints)

Fresco, 763 x 970 cm
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

After a few years of Duccio's Maestà, Simone painted his Maestà for the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, as the ideal of the good and just government. This is the oldest painting that can be safely attributed to him. The end wall of the Sala del Mappamondo (formerly known as Sala del Consiglio) is entirely covered by this fresco. Surrounded by a frame decorated with twenty medallions depicting the Blessing Christ, the Prophets and the Evangelists and with smaller shields containing the coat-of-arms of Siena, the fresco shows a host of angels, Saints and Apostles, with the Madonna and Child in the centre. The whole scene, set against a deep blue background, is surmounted by an imposing canopy of red silk.

The most obvious innovations present in Simone's style are his ideas of three-dimensional space. The supporting poles of the canopy are placed in perspective, thus giving a sense of depth to the composition. Under the canopy there is a crowd of thirty people: no more processions of people in parallel rows, but concrete spacial rhythms and animated gestures.