Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1318) was the principal painter in Siena, Florence's major rival at the beginning of the fourteenth century. Duccio's work presents a significant alternative to the style of Giotto. Just as Giotto will dominate the Florentine school for much of the rest of the fourteenth century, Duccio's style will dominate Sienese art. Duccio was a profound innovator and a master of narrative. In Duccio's work, architecture was used to integrate the figure within the drama more tellingly than ever before. For the first time in painting, architecture had a space-creating function.
In 1973 Mary, Countess of Crawford and Balcarres, sold the Crucifixion on auction for 1 million pounds ($ 1,7 million) to an unknown buyer. Duccio whose talent is immense and recognized by all has sometimes been imitated by forgers. The Madonna to the right, painted on a wooden panel ((Tempera and gold on wood, with original, engaged frame; 11 x 8 1/8 in) around the year 1300 was purchased in November 2004 by the Metropolitan in New York for an estimated sum of $ 45 million.
In 2006 James Beck, a scholar at Columbia University, stated that he believes the painting is a nineteenth century forgery; the Metropolitan Museum's curator of European Paintings has disputed Beck's assertion.
Duccio announces Giotto, fifteen years younger, who will be bolder and more dramatic.