DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
(b. ca. 1255, Siena, d. 1319, Siena)

Pentecost (panel 8)

Tempera on wood, 38 x 43 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

This scene is on one of the back crowning panels of the Maestà.

In the Pentecost Duccio goes back to traditional iconographic schemes and includes the Virgin, of whom no mention is made in the Acts of the Apostles, the source of the episode. Mary's entire figure, illuminated by the highlights of her robe, becomes a form with strongly curved outlines contrasting with the loose drapery of the disciples' garments. The succession of haloes echoes the group in a shining golden frame, on which twelve tongues of flame are burning - the symbol of the descent of the Holy Spirit. The panel has obviously been cut on the left side, where the twelfth apostle is missing; only the red ray descending from above remains.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 4 minutes):
Guillaume Dufay: Veni, Creator Spiritus, hymn for Pentecost