Late Gothic art: c. 1200-1400

Italian art from the late 13th and 14th centuries was once known as primitive because it was seen largely as a transition from Medieval abstraction to the naturalism of the Renaissance (with a dose of Byzantine influence thrown in for good measure). We now study the brilliant artist’s of Florence and Siena in their own right.


Pisa Pulpit
Some distortions are deliberate. This pulpit has its critics, but it coheres in real life—just not in photos.

Giovanni Pisano, Pisa Pulpit








Fresco in the former Abbey of Saint-André-de-Lavaudieu, France, 14th century- detail
Rats spread plague throughout the streets of Europe. Society turned upside down—but the Renaissance lay ahead.

The Black Death




From carpenters and workshop assistants to apothecaries and goldsmiths, it took a village to make a panel painting.

Gold-ground panel painting



Cimabue, Santa Trinita Madonna and Child Enthroned and Giotto, The Ognissanti Madonna and Child Enthroned
Only decades apart—but what a difference. Next to Giotto’s substantial Virgin, Cimabue’s appears flat yet elegant.

Cimabue and Giotto compared











Duccio, Maesta
Many, many panels made up this massive altarpiece. Dedicated to Mary, it stood in the crossing of Siena Cathedral.

Duccio, Maesta