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Italian, active c. 1290 - 1320
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Miklós Boskovits (1935–2011), “Master of Città di Castello,” NGA Online Editions, https://purl.org/nga/collection/constituent/38622 (accessed October 04, 2023).
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|Mon Mar 21 00:00:00 EDT 2016 Version|
It was F. Mason Perkins, the great American connoisseur, friend of Bernard Berenson, and benefactor of the Sacro Convento Francescano in Assisi, who recognized, a century ago, a first nucleus of the catalog of this anonymous master, generally considered a follower of
The art historical debate on the problems of defining and dating the master’s work is still open. What can be asserted with some confidence is that the master of the Maestà of Città di Castello must have been a well-established painter, with a long career behind him, by c. 1305, the date almost unanimously accepted for the painting after which he is named. His stylistic peculiarities, in particular his figures distinguished by marked volumetric effect, executed with pronounced chiaroscuro modeling and soft brushwork, are clearly recognizable in the Maestà and suggest that the artist not only was trained in the circle of Duccio but must also have been in contact with other great masters: according to some, with
The inclusion in the oeuvre of the Master of Città di Castello of the group of paintings assigned to the Casole Fresco Master is admissible only if the paintings in question — the fresco Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Donors in the museum at Casole d’Elsa, the Maestà no. 565 of the National Gallery in London, and the panels nos. 18 and 592 of the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena — are considered the results of an early phase in the artist’s career, datable to the last decade of the thirteenth century or a little later. Combining archaizing features with a new classicizing approach, the group might have been preceded, in turn, by the
 Frederick Mason Perkins, “Alcuni appunti sulla Galleria delle Belle Arti di Siena,” Rassegna d’arte senese 4 (1908): 51 – 52.
 For example, Cesare Brandi, La Regia Pinacoteca di Siena (Rome, 1933), 169 – 172; Cesare Brandi, Duccio (Florence, 1951), 148 – 150; James H. Stubblebine, Duccio di Buoninsegna and His School, 2 vols. (Princeton, 1979), 1:85.
 Edward Garrison (1949) considered the portable triptych no. 70 in Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford, the earliest known work of the Master of Città di Castello, with a dating of 1300 – 1310. Alessandro Bagnoli (2003) accepted the attribution but pushed the dating back to the last decade of the thirteenth century. A closely related group of paintings (“affine al Maestro di Città di Castello”: see Brandi 1951) was called “Casole Fresco Master” by James Stubblebine (1979), who augmented it with some paintings that others excluded. Miklós Boskovits (1982) proposed the fusion of the catalog of the Casole Master with that of the Master of Città di Castello. Gaudenz Freuler (2001) accepted the hypothesis but reconstructed the artist’s career in a different way. See Edward B. Garrison, Italian Romanesque Panel Painting: An Illustrated Index (Florence, 1949), 138; Alessandro Bagnoli, in Duccio: Siena fra tradizione bizantina e mondo gotico, ed. Alessandro Bagnoli et al. (Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2003), 314 – 315; Cesare Brandi, Duccio (Florence, 1951), 141, 149; James H. Stubblebine, Duccio di Buoninsegna and His School, 2 vols. (Princeton, 1979), 1:110 – 116; Miklós Boskovits, “Review of Duccio di Buoninsegna and His School by J. H. Stubblebine; and Duccio di Buoninsegna by J. White,” The Art Bulletin 64 (1982): 497; Gaudenz Freuler, “Duccio et ses contemporains: Le maître de Città di Castello,” Revue de l’art 134 (2001): 27 – 50. On the problem of the frescoes of the chapel of Saint Nicholas in the Collegiata of Casole d’Elsa, see Alessandro Bagnoli, “La cappella funebre del Porrina e del vescovo Ranieri e le sue figurazioni murali,” in Marco Romano e il contesto artistico senese fra la fine del Duecento e gli inizi del Trecento, ed. Alessandro Bagnoli (Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2010), 92 – 111.
 Cesare Brandi, Duccio (Florence, 1951), 150, assumed the Master of Città di Castello’s “conoscenza attiva del Cavallini.” The present writer thinks rather of an influence like that of the so-called Master of the Cattura, one of the frescoers of the upper church of San Francesco in Assisi, or the artist of the transept of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. According to Alessandro Bagnoli (2003), however, the Master must also have succumbed to the influence of contemporary Florentine painting, since he had a “conoscenza . . . approfondita e diretta del primo Giotto;” Alessandro Bagnoli, in Duccio: Siena fra tradizione bizantina e mondo gotico, ed. Alessandro Bagnoli et al. (Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2003), 315.
 Cf. Gaudenz Freuler, “Duccio et ses contemporains: Le maître de Città di Castello,” Revue de l’art 134 (2001): 37, fig. 10.
 Cf. Ada Labriola, “Gli affreschi della cappella di San Niccolò nell’antico Palazzo dei Vescovi a Pistoia,” Arte cristiana 76 (1988): 247 – 266.
Miklós Boskovits (1935–2011)
March 21, 2016