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I first saw this painting in a friend's house. The reproduction was hanging opposite me at supper. At the time I had not heard of Simone Martini. My taste was entirely Florentine. I had no previous interest in Sienese art but this picture fascinated me. It is an example of the International Gothic style. At first sight the Virgin could hardly be more loopy, arabesque and two dimensional in conception – very far from the realism I favoured. I was captivated by the way the cloak with its gold braid and black lining came and went as it passed over the arm of the throne and wound round her body, it seemed remarkably logical. Though the shapes were anything but life-like in appearance, I asked myself the question could these shapes possibly refer to a real garment? See YouTube Video.

I borrowed the picture and started to make drawings and soon progressed to a three dimensional maquette of waxed cloth on an aluminium armature so that I could manipulate it. I found that not only was it a real garment of poncho type with a hood attached but in order to find these particular loops and folds we have to imagine the Virgin first standing reading her book. When surprised by the angel she closes the book keeping her place with her thumb. With her right hand she covers the lower part of her face with a piece of the hood. This brings the outer edge of her sleeve within easy reach of her hand and book which grasps the hem. Then as she slides back into her thrown the front edge of her cloak drags across the floor exposing the black lining – her pinkish shift billows out into the space between the back and front of the poncho and the gold braid on the outside of her right arm (the back of the poncho) ends up across her front and over the arm of her throne. This movement is not contradicted between the Virgin's elbow and her book hand though it is not clear. The only part of the painting that is contrary to the logic of the whole movement is on the extreme bottom left where the drapery of the back of her sleeve curls under the inverted front. Logic dictates it would had spread flat across the floor.

Every loop, fold patch of black, blue, pink or gold braid is entirely consistent with this logical drama sequence in the fourth dimension of time – as well as the three dimensional flow of drapery in space.

This loop is not compatible with the movements described - this is 'art'

With his last masterpiece Simone gives us the first taste of a “Futurism” more complete than anything achieved by the Futurists themselves. The elaborate procedure necessary to arrive at such a deconstruction must have been paralleled by the original construction of the painting. It seems far fetched for a painter in 1344 but it is all there tied into the drapery. Check it out for yourselves.

I made this model (relief) in the relief style of about 1270 to try to explain the strange proportions of the figure of the Virgin to the modern eye. It is possible that Simone used a sculpted relief as his model. A Pisan painted wood-carving could have produced these shapes. The angel could have been observed from life but the Virgin exists in another space altogether. The floor on which she exists is tipped up, she occupies very much more depth compared with the angel's knees. It's seems far fetched but it's there! However achieved, we have to give Simone the credit for an amazing feat of three dimensional construction but set in an antique mode.

This is believed to be his final painting aided by his brother-in-law Lippo Memmi Also a fine painter of the Maesta in the council chamber at San Gimingnano. The interesting and strange thing about this anachronism is that Simone had previously been the leading practitioner of a refined perspective for his day. His frescoes at Assissi are the most elaborate in extent and convincing in detail in terms of figures in an architectural setting of his time. They compare favourably with late Giotto. Though I know of no theory on which it is based it remained the touchstone of excellence until Brunelleschi's perspective of 1401.

I am certainly not the first to admire this astonishing figure of the Virgin. I cannot account for this anachronistic flash of genius, I can only insist it is there. We may never know whether it was a Pisan carver, or Simone, or possibly his brother-in-law who originated this form. My tying it to the unfolding drama in the dimension of time possibly goes some way to explaining its fascination.