In the Medieval times, the Italian painting was evolving in close contact with the Byzantine art. But gradually, beginning with the second half of the 13th century, the new type of art sometimes called Protorenaissance started to form there.
The Byzantine traditions are traced in the three mosaic fragments once decorating the Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, and in two monumental icons of the second half of the 13th century that were produced in workshops of Pisa and Florency.
During the 14th century the Italian painting was forming like a deeply national art phenomenon. Some major national art schools had formed then, mainly the Florentine and Venetian schools that held their leadership in subsequent epochs as well. Sienna school was one of the most prominent during the 14th century, and it is lavishly presented in our Museum. The signed Crucifixion by Senia di Bonaventura who was the assistant of the great Giotto, is one of the distinguished masterpieces in the Museum collection, as well as the doors depicting Maria Magdalina and Saint Augustine by Simone Martini who was the great master of the first half of the 14th century. The flourishment of Sienna painting of that period to a great extent predetermined its development during the Early Renaissance of the 15th century.