often embellished with gilding (especially in the background of 14th century paintings, and areas can be built
up or embossed with patterns to create richer visual effects
Detail of the Madonna from Duccio’s Maestà
Artists in both Siena and Florence also received commissions for wall paintings to decorate the newly built
cathedrals and medicant churches in their cities. These mural paintings most often told important religious
stories to the faithful. Combined with preaching and religious drama, these pictures were played the
important role of teaching people the principles of the Christian religion, since relatively few people could
read at this time.
Wall paintings are done in buon fresco, or true fresco, on wet plaster. The artist would put a layer of smooth
plaster down on only the section he thought he could finish in a day, before the plaster dried. The painter
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