Duccio di Buoninsegna

The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain, 1308-11

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About the Artwork

The Temptation of Christ is one of a series of panels illustrating the life of Christ painted for the Maestà, a huge double-sided altarpiece commissioned for the high altar of Siena Cathedral. The original arrangement of the panels on the altarpiece and the question of what part assistants played in executing this radically innovative work are problems that may never be resolved. But Duccio himself must have been the guiding genius who designed the novel range of settings and compositions and who infused the familiar subjects with new drama and emotion.

In the Frick panel, a majestically towering Christ is shown rejecting the devil, who offers Him “all the kingdoms of the world” if Christ will worship him (Matthew 4:8–11). Duccio retains medieval conventions in depicting the figures as large and the spurned kingdoms as small, thus suggesting a scale of values rather than naturalistic proportions. Yet the story is presented in terms that are immediately meaningful. Christ expresses a sorrowful solemnity, and the cities in the foreground — packed with turrets, domes, and crenellations — vividly evoke the festive colors and crowded hill-sites of Siena.

Source: Art in The Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.

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About Our Prints

Frick Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in The Frick Collection. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.
Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.
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