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

Disputation with the Doctors (scene 7)

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

This is the last panel on the front predella of the Maestà following the standing image of Prophet Hosea.

The last compartment of the front predella is devoted to the Disputation with the Doctors, recounted both in the gospel according to Luke and in the apocryphal writings of Matthew and the Infancy of Christ. The interior of the temple, dominated by a gaily coloured floor (described by Brandi as a "Caucasian carpet"), includes sophisticated details such as the four Cupids enclosed in little niches and the capitals of the slender pillars silhouetted against the gold background.

The twelve-year-old Jesus is sitting on a marble step amongst a group of scribes. Mary and Joseph, who have been desperately searching for him, raise their hands towards him in a gesture of confused questioning.