Masaccio (Italian: [maˈzattʃo]; December 21, 1401 – summer 1428), born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was a Florentine artist who is regarded as the first great Italian painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at imitating nature, recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense of three-dimensionality. [1] He employed nudes and foreshortenings in his figures. This had seldom been done before him. [2]

The name Masaccio is a humorous version of Maso (short for Tommaso), meaning "clumsy" or "messy" Tom. The name may have been created to distinguish him from his principal collaborator, also called Maso, who came to be known as Masolino ("little/delicate Tom").

Despite his brief career, he had a profound influence on other artists and is considered to have started the Early Italian Renaissance in painting with his works in the mid- and late-1420s. He was one of the first to use linear perspective in his painting, employing techniques such as vanishing point in art for the first time. He moved away from the International Gothic style and elaborate ornamentation of artists like Gentile da Fabriano to a more naturalistic mode that employed perspective and chiaroscuro for greater realism.

Masaccio died at the age of twenty-six and little is known about the exact circumstances of his death.[3] Upon hearing of Masaccio’s death, Filippo Brunelleschi said: "We have suffered a great loss." [4]

Masaccio Self Portrait
Detail of St. Peter Raising the Son of Theophilus and St. Peter Enthroned as First Bishop of Antioch, Brancacci Chapel, S. Maria del Carmine, Florence
Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Mone (Simone) Cassai

December 21, 1401
Died1428 (age 26)
Known forPainting, Fresco
Notable work
Brancacci Chapel (Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Tribute Money) c. 1425-28
Pisa Altarpiece 1426
Holy Trinity c. 1427
MovementEarly Renaissance
Patron(s)Felice de Michele Brancacci
ser Giuliano di Colino degli Scarsi da San Giusto

Early life

Masaccio was born to Giovanni di Simone Cassai and Jacopa di Martinozzo in Castel San Giovanni di Altura, now San Giovanni Valdarno (today part of the province of Arezzo, Tuscany).[5] His father was a notary and his mother the daughter of an innkeeper of Barberino di Mugello, a town a few miles north of Florence. His family name, Cassai, comes from the trade of his paternal grandfather Simone and granduncle Lorenzo, who were carpenters/cabinet makers (casse, hence cassai). Masaccio's father died in 1406, when he was only five; later that same year a brother was born, named Giovanni (1406–1486) after his father. He also was to become a painter, with the nickname of lo Scheggia meaning "the splinter."[6] In 1412 Monna Jacopa married an elderly apothecary, Tedesco di maestro Feo, who already had several daughters, one of whom grew up to marry the only other documented painter from Castel San Giovanni, Mariotto di Cristofano (1393–1457). There is no evidence for Masaccio's artistic education,[7] however Renaissance painters traditionally began an apprenticeship with an established master around the age of 12. Masaccio would likely have had to move to Florence to receive his training, but he was not documented in the city until he joined the painters guild (the Arte de' Medici e Speziali) as an independent master on January 7, 1422, signing as "Masus S. Johannis Simonis pictor populi S. Nicholae de Florentia."

First works

The first works attributed to Masaccio are the San Giovenale Triptych (1422), now in the Museum of Cascia di Reggello near Florence, and the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (Sant'Anna Metterza) (c. 1424) at the Uffizi.

The San Giovenale altarpiece was discovered in 1961 in the church of San Giovenale at Cascia di Reggello, very close to Masaccio's hometown. It depicts the Virgin and Child with angels in the central panel, Sts. Bartholomew and Blaise on the left panel, and Sts. Juvenal (i.e. San Giovenale) and Anthony Abbot in the right panel. The painting has lost much of its original framing, and its surface is badly abraded.[8] Nevertheless, Masaccio's concern to suggest three-dimensionality through volumetric figures and foreshortened forms is apparent, and stands as a revival of Giotto's approach, rather than a continuation of contemporary trends.

Masolino 008
Masolino & Masaccio, Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (c. 1424), Uffizi

The second work was perhaps Masaccio's first collaboration with the older and already-renowned artist, Masolino da Panicale (1383/4–c. 1436). The circumstances of the two artists' collaboration are unclear; since Masolino was considerably older, it seems likely that he brought Masaccio under his wing, but the division of hands in the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne is so marked that it is hard to see the older artist as the controlling figure in this commission.[9] Masolino is believed to have painted the figure of St. Anne and the angels that hold the cloth of honor behind her, while Masaccio painted the more important Virgin and Child on their throne. Masolino's figures are delicate, graceful and somewhat flat, while Masaccio's are solid and hefty.


In Florence, Masaccio could study the works of Giotto and become friends with Brunelleschi and Donatello. According to Vasari, at their prompting in 1423 Masaccio travelled to Rome with Masolino: from that point he was freed of all Gothic and Byzantine influence, as seen in his altarpiece for the Carmelite Church in Pisa. The traces of influences from ancient Roman and Greek art that are present in some of Masaccio's works presumably originated from this trip: they should also have been present in a lost Sagra, (today known through some drawings, including one by Michelangelo), a fresco commissioned for the consecration ceremony of the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence (April 19, 1422). It was destroyed when the church's cloister was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century.

The Tribute Money, fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

Brancacci Chapel

In 1424, the "duo preciso e noto" ("well and known duo") of Masaccio and Masolino was commissioned by the powerful and wealthy Felice Brancacci to execute a cycle of frescoes for the Brancacci Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. With the two artists probably working simultaneously, the painting began around 1425, but for unknown reasons the chapel was left unfinished, and was completed by Filippino Lippi in the 1480s. The iconography of the fresco decoration is somewhat unusual; while the majority of the frescoes represent the life of St. Peter, two scenes, on either side of the threshold of the chapel space, depict the temptation and expulsion of Adam and Eve. As a whole, the frescoes recount the life of St Peter as if it were the story of salvation.[10] The style of Masaccio's scenes shows the influence of Giotto especially. Figures are large, heavy, and solid; emotions are expressed through faces and gestures; and there is a strong impression of naturalism throughout the paintings. Unlike Giotto, however, Masaccio uses linear and atmospheric perspective, directional light, and chiaroscuro, which is the representation of form through light and color without outlines. As a result, his frescoes are even more convincingly lifelike than those of his trecento predecessor.

Works of the chapel

When it was cleaned in the 1980s, Masaccio's fresco of The Expulsion (1426–1427) lost the added fig leaves.

The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, depicts a distressed Adam and Eve, chased from the garden by a threatening angel. Adam covers his entire face to express his shame, while Eve's shame requires her to cover certain areas of her body. The fresco had a huge influence on Michelangelo and his work. Another major work is The Tribute Money in which Jesus and the Apostles are depicted as neo-classical archetypes. Scholars have often noted that the shadows of the figures all fall away from the chapel window, as if the figures are lit by it; this is an added stroke of verisimilitude and further tribute to Masaccio's innovative genius. In the Resurrection of the Son of Theophilus, he painted a pavement in perspective, framed by large buildings to obtain a three-dimensional space in which the figures are placed proportionate to their surroundings. In this he was a pioneer in applying the newly discovered rules of perspective.

On September 1425 Masolino left the work and went to Hungary. It is not known if this was because of money quarrels with Felice or an artistic divergence with Masaccio. It has also been supposed that Masolino planned this trip from the very beginning, and needed a close collaborator who could continue the work after his departure. But Masaccio left the frescoes unfinished in 1426 in order to respond to other commissions, probably coming from the same patron. However, it has also been suggested that the declining finances of Felice Brancacci were insufficient to pay for any further work, so the painter sought work elsewhere.

Filippino Lippi 011
Raising of the Son of Theophilus of Antioch

Masaccio returned in 1427 to work again in the Carmine, beginning the Resurrection of the Son of Theophilus, but apparently left it, too, unfinished, though it has also been suggested that the painting was severely damaged later in the century because it contained portraits of the Brancacci family, at that time excoriated as enemies of the Medici.[11] This painting was either restored or completed more than fifty years later by Filippino Lippi. Some of the scenes completed by Masaccio and Masolino were lost in a fire in 1771; we know about them only through Vasari's biography. The surviving parts were extensively blackened by smoke. In the twentieth century, the removal of marble slabs covering two areas of the paintings revealed the original appearance of the work.[12]

Pisa Altarpiece

On February 19, 1426 Masaccio was commissioned by Giuliano di Colino degli Scarsi da San Giusto, for the sum of 80 florins, to paint a major altarpiece, the Pisa Altarpiece, for his chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Pisa. The work was dismantled and dispersed in the 18th century, and only eleven of about twenty original panels have been rediscovered in various collections around the world.[13] The central panel of the altarpiece (The Madonna and Child) is now in the National Gallery, London. Although it is very damaged, the work features a sculptural and human Madonna as well as a convincing perspectival depiction of her throne. Masaccio probably worked on it entirely in Pisa, shuttling back and forth to Florence, where he was still working on the Brancacci Chapel. In these years, Donatello was also working in Pisa at a monument for Cardinal Rinaldo Brancacci, to be sent to Naples. It is suggested that Masaccio's first ventures in plasticity and perspective were based on Donatello's sculpture, before he could study Brunelleschi's more scientific approach to perspective.

Holy Trinity

Masaccio trinity
Holy Trinity, in full: Trinity with the Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist, and Donors (c. 1427) - Fresco, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Around 1427 Masaccio won a prestigious commission to produce a Holy Trinity for the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. No contemporary documents record the patron of the fresco, but recently references to ownership of a tomb at the foot of the fresco have been found in the records of the Berti family of the Santa Maria Novella Quarter of Florence; this working-class family expressed a long-standing devotion to the Trinity, and may well have commissioned Masaccio's painting.[14] Probably it is the male patron who is represented to the left of the Virgin in the painting, while his wife is right of St. John the Evangelist. The fresco, considered by many to be Masaccio's masterwork, is the earliest surviving painting to use systematic linear perspective, possibly devised by Masaccio with the assistance of Brunelleschi[15].

According to the reconstruction[16] Masaccio started by producing a rough drawing of the composition and perspective lines on the wall. The drawing was covered with fresh plaster for making the fresco. To ensure the precise transfer of the perspective lines from the sketch to the plaster, Masaccio inserted a nail in at the vanishing point under the base of the cross and attached strings to it, which he pressed in (or carved into) the plaster. The marks of the preparatory works are still visible.

The sacred figures and the donors are represented above an image of a skeleton lying on a sarcophagus. An inscription seemingly carved into the wall above the skeleton reads: "Io fui gia quel che voi siete e quel ch'io sono voi anco sarete" (I once was what now you are and what I am, you shall yet be). This skeleton is at once a reference to Adam, whose sin brought humans to death and a reminder to viewers that their time on earth is transitory. It is only through faith in the Trinity, the fresco suggests, that one overcomes this death.[17] The Holy Spirit is seen in the form of a dove, above Jesus.[18] The combination of trinity, death and decay "can be interpreted as a transposition of the Golgotha chapel"[16] in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Other paintings

Masaccio produced two other works, a Nativity and an Annunciation, now lost, before leaving for Rome, where his companion Masolino was frescoing a chapel with scenes from the life of St. Catherine in the Basilica di San Clemente. It has never been confirmed that Masaccio collaborated on that work, even though it is possible that he contributed to Masolino's polyptych for the altar of Santa Maria Maggiore with his panel portraying St. Jerome and St. John the Baptist, now in the National Gallery of London. Masaccio died at the end of 1428. According to a legend, he was poisoned by a jealous rival painter.[19]

Only four frescoes undoubtedly from Masaccio's hand still exist today, although many other works have been at least partially attributed to him. Others are believed to have been destroyed.


Masaccio profoundly influenced the art of painting and is considered to have begun the Early Italian Renaissance in painting. According to Vasari, all "most celebrated" Florentine "sculptors and painters" studied his frescoes extensively in order to "learn the precepts and rules for painting well." He transformed the direction of Italian painting, moving it away from the idealizations of Gothic art, and, for the first time, presenting it as part of a more profound, natural, and humanist world. Moreover, Masaccio influenced a great many artists both while he was alive and posthumously. His influence is particularly notable in the works of Florentine minor masters, such as Andrea di Giusto, Giovanni dal Ponte, and others who attempted to replicate his glowing, lifelike forms.

Main works

Masaccio 031
Virgin Mary with pseudo-Arabic halo, by Masaccio (1426).[20]

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ Giorgio Vasari, Le Vite de' piu eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori, ed. Gaetano Milanesi, Florence, 1906, II, 287-288.
  2. ^ Vasari, Giorgio, "The Lives of the Artists" Translated by Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, Oxford World Classics.
  3. ^ The Guardian, Masaccio, the old master who died young
  4. ^ Vasari, Giorgio, "The Lives of the Artists" Translated by Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella, Oxford World Classics.
  5. ^ John T. Spike, Masaccio, New York: 1996, 21-64, and Diane Cole Ahl, The Cambridge Companion to Masaccio, Cambridge, 2002, 3-5.
  6. ^ On Giovanni's career, see Luciano Bellosi and Margaret Haines, Lo Scheggia, Florence, 1999.
  7. ^ Vasari (II, 295) implies that Masolino was Masaccio's teacher, but the earliest known work by Masaccio (the San Giovenale Triptych) is painted in a style so different from Masolino's approach that it is hard to tie the two together (Luciano Berti, "Masaccio 1422," Commentari 12 (1961) 84-107. Scholars cannot agree on any teacher for the young artist, though several names (Mariotto di Cristofano, Bicci di Lorenzo, Niccolo di ser Lapo) have been put forward. Recently scholars have also suggested that he may have trained as a manuscript illuminator. Roberto Bellucci and Cecilia Frosinini, "Masaccio: Technique in Context," in The Cambridge Companion to Masaccio, ed. Diane Cole Ahl, Cambridge, 2002, 105-122.
  8. ^ Roberto Bellucci and Cecilia Frosinini, "The San Giovenale Altarpiece," in The Panel Paintings of Masolino and Masaccio, ed. Carl Brandon Strehlke, Milan, 2002, 69-79; Dillian Gordon, "The Altarpieces of Masaccio," in The Cambridge Companion to Masaccio, ed. Diane Cole Ahl, Cambridge, 2002, 124-126.
  9. ^ Roberto Longhi, "Fatti di Masolino e di Masaccio," Critica d'arte 25-6 (1940) 145-191.
  10. ^ Umberto Baldini and Ornella Casazza, The Brancacci Chapel, New York, 1990; Diane Cole Ahl, "The Brancacci Chapel," in The Cambridge Companion to Masaccio, ed. Diane Cole Ahl, Cambridge, 2002, 138-157; J.T. Spike, “The Brancacci Code,” in Watching Art: Writings in Honor of James Beck, ed. L. Catterson and M. Zucker (Todi: Ediart, 2006), pp. 247–54.
  11. ^ Casazza, Ornella. 1990. Masaccio and the Brancacci Chapel. Antella, Firenze, Italy: Scala. p. 46. OCLC 25093965
  12. ^ Casazza, Ornella. 1990. Masaccio and the Brancacci Chapel. Antella, Firenze, Italy: Scala. p. 15. OCLC 25093965
  13. ^ Jill Dunkerton and Dillian Gordon, "The Pisa Altarpiece", in The Panel Paintings of Masolino and Masaccio: The Role of Technique, ed. Carl Brandon Strehlke, Milan, 2002, 89-109.
  14. ^ Rita Maria Comanducci, "'L'altare Nostro de la Trinità': Masaccio's Trinity and the Berti Family," The Burlington Magazine, 145 (2003) 14-21. Most scholars had thought that the Lenzi family commissioned the fresco: Ugo Procacci, "Nuove testimonianze su Masaccio," Commentari, 27 (1976) 233-4; Rona Goffen, Masaccio's "Trinity," Cambridge, 1998; Timothy Verdon, "Masaccio's Trinity," in The Cambridge Companion to Masaccio, ed. Diane Cole Ahl, Cambridge, 2002, 158-160.
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b B. Deimling, Early Renaissance Art in Florence and Central Italy, in R. Tolman (ed.), The Art of Italian Renaissance, Konemann, 1995, p. 244-246
  17. ^ Alessandro Cortesi, "Una lettura teologica," in La Trinità di Masaccio: il restauro dell'anno duemila, ed. Cristina Danti, Florence, 2002, 49-56; Verdon, 158-161.
  18. ^ Cothren, Marilyn Stokstad Michael W. (2010). Art History Portable, Book 4 14th-17th Century Art (4th ed., Portable ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0205790941.
  19. ^ "Tommaso Cassai Masaccio Biography". Artble. Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  20. ^ Mack, p.66
  • Mack, Rosamond E. Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300-1600, University of California Press, 2001 ISBN 0-520-22131-1

External links

1420s in art

The decade of the 1420s in art involved some significant events.

Andrea di Giusto

Andrea di Giusto (c. 1400- 2 September 1450, Florence), rarely also known as Andrea Manzini or Andrea di Giusto Manzini was a Florentine painter of the late Gothic to early Renaissance style in Florence and its surrounding countryside. Andrea was heavily influenced by masters Lorenzo Monaco, Bicci di Lorenzo, Masaccio, and Fra Angelico, and tended to mix and match the motifs and techniques of these artists in his own work. Andrea was an eclectic painter and is considered a minor master of Florentine early Renaissance art. Andrea trained under Bicci di Lorenzo as a Garzone. He painted his most significant works, three altarpieces, in the Florentine contado, or countryside; these altarpieces were created for Sant’Andrea a Ripalta in Figline, Santa Margarita in Cortona, and the Badia degli Olivetani di San Bartolomeo alle Sacce near Prato. Aside from his major altarpieces, Andrea painted several Frescoes over the course of his career. He, along with other minor masters, are also known to have provided several different types of art, including triptychs and frescoes, for Romanesque pievi, or rural churches with baptistries. Moreover, he was well known for several types of smaller craft objects, such as small tabernacles. He is said to have worked between 1420 and 1424 under Bicci di Lorenzo on paintings for Santa Maria Nuova. He is said to have worked with Masaccio in painting the Life of San Giuliano for the Polyptych of Pisa, including the painting of the Madonna and Child, in 1426. He also appears to have collaborated in 1445 with Paolo Uccello in the Capella dell'Assunta in the Prato Cathedral. In 1428, he is listed as a member of the Arte dei Medici e Speziali guild in Florence as "Andrea di Giusto di Giovanni Bugli". His son, Giusto d'Andrea, was also a painter and worked with Neri di Bicci and Benozzo Gozzoli. Andrea died in Florence in 1450.

Brancacci Chapel

The Brancacci Chapel (in Italian, "Cappella dei Brancacci") is a chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, central Italy. It is sometimes called the "Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance" for its painting cycle, among the most famous and influential of the period. Construction of the chapel was commissioned by Felice Brancacci and begun in 1386. Public access is currently gained via the neighbouring convent, designed by Brunelleschi. The church and the chapel are treated as separate places to visit and as such have different opening times and it is quite difficult to see the rest of the church from the chapel.

The patron of the pictorial decoration was Felice Brancacci, descendant of Pietro, who had served as the Florentine ambassador to Cairo until 1423. Upon his return to Florence, he hired Masolino da Panicale to paint his chapel. Masolino's associate, 21-year-old Masaccio, 18 years younger than Masolino, assisted, but during painting Masolino left to Hungary, where he was painter to the king, and the commission was given to Masaccio. By the time Masolino returned he was learning from his talented former student. However, Masaccio was called to Rome before he could finish the chapel, and died in Rome at the age of 27. Portions of the chapel were completed later by Filippino Lippi. Unfortunately during the Baroque period some of the paintings were seen as unfashionable and a tomb was placed in front of them.

Carnesecchi Triptych

The Carnesecchi Triptych was a c.1423-1425 altarpiece by Masolino, Masaccio and others, showing the Madonna and Child with Catherine of Alexandria and Julian the Hospitaller. It seems to mark the start of Masolino and Masaccio's collaboration.

Dismembered in the 17th century, it is now totally lost except for panel showing Julian (Diocesan Museum of Santo Stefano al Ponte in Florence) and one of the three panels of the predella. That predella panel was long thought to be the painting by Masolino now in the Ingres Museum in Montauban, but recent expert studies by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure have instead identified it as a painting by Masaccio in the Museo Horne in Florence.

Desco da parto (Masaccio)

This painting, also known as the Berlin Tondo, is a desco da parto, or birthing-tray painted by the Italian Renaissance artist Masaccio, c. 1427–1428, though the work is regarded as from his workshop or by a "follower" by many recent scholars.

While the birth of Jesus, and that of his mother, were very common scenes in religious art, and often used contemporary settings and costumes, actual depictions of a contemporary childbirth were very rare.

Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Italian: Cacciata dei progenitori dall'Eden) is a fresco by the Italian Early Renaissance artist Masaccio. The fresco is a single scene from the cycle painted around 1425 by Masaccio, Masolino and others on the walls of the Brancacci Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. It depicts the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, from the biblical Book of Genesis chapter 3, albeit with a few differences from the canonical account.

Holy Trinity (Masaccio)

The Holy Trinity, with the Virgin and Saint John and donors (Italian: Santa Trinità) is a fresco by the Early Italian Renaissance painter Masaccio. It is located in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence.

Italian Renaissance painting

Italian Renaissance painting is the painting of the period beginning in the late 13th century and flourishing from the early 15th to late 16th centuries, occurring in the Italian peninsula, which was at that time divided into many political states, some independent but others controlled by external powers. The painters of Renaissance Italy, although often attached to particular courts and with loyalties to particular towns, nonetheless wandered the length and breadth of Italy, often occupying a diplomatic status and disseminating artistic and philosophical ideas.The city of Florence in Tuscany is renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and in particular of Renaissance painting, although later in the era Rome and Venice assumed increasing importance in painting. A detailed background is given in the companion articles Renaissance and Renaissance architecture.

Italian Renaissance painting is most often be divided into four periods: the Proto-Renaissance (1300–1425), the Early Renaissance (1425–1495), the High Renaissance (1495–1520), and Mannerism (1520–1600). The dates for these periods represent the overall trend in Italian painting and do not cover all painters as the lives of individual artists and their personal styles overlapped these periods.

The Proto-Renaissance begins with the professional life of the painter Giotto and includes Taddeo Gaddi, Orcagna and Altichiero.

The Early Renaissance style was started by Masaccio and then further developed by Fra Angelico, Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Sandro Botticelli, Verrocchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Giovanni Bellini. The High Renaissance period was that of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Coreggio, Giorgione, the latter works of Giovanni Bellini, and Titian. The Mannerist period, dealt with in a separate article, included the latter works of Michelangelo, as well as Pontormo, Parmigianino, Bronzino and Tintoretto.

Lapis lazuli

Lapis lazuli (), or lapis for short, is a deep blue metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BCE, lapis lazuli was mined in the Sar-i Sang mines, in Shortugai, and in other mines in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan. Lapis was highly valued by the Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1900 BC). Lapis beads have been found at Neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania. It was used in the funeral mask of Tutankhamun (1341–1323 BCE).At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments. It was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer, and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings, especially the Virgin Mary.

Today, mines in northeast Afghanistan are still the major source of lapis lazuli. Important amounts are also produced from mines west of Lake Baikal in Russia, and in the Andes mountains in Chile. Smaller quantities are mined in Italy, Mongolia, the United States, and Canada.

List of major paintings by Masaccio

Masaccio is important for developing naturalistic depiction of 3D space containing figures conceived as accurate plastic objects. In his paintings the newly discovered laws of perspective were applied, the drawing of foreshortened parts was correct, and the anatomy of the human body was well understood. According to Giorgio Vasari, Masaccio owed his artistic education to Masolino da Panicale, but Masaccio, although he died 20 years before his master, carried the advance in naturalism further. Much of his work has been destroyed, and what remains is often in poor condition, but undergoing some restoration. The largest remaining collection of work is the fresco decoration of the Brancacci Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. Here Masolino da Panicale had left unfinished a series of frescoes which Masaccio was asked to continue: his six paintings there created a sensation and became the training school of Florentine painters of the succeeding generations, of Michelangelo with the rest. Masaccio did not complete the decoration of the chapel. In 1428 he left for Rome, and was reported dead soon afterwards.What follows is an incomplete list of Masaccio's main paintings in chronological sequence. The arrangement is ordered by year and title, with brief comments and showing the artistic development of the artist.

Masolino da Panicale

Masolino da Panicale (nickname of Tommaso di Cristoforo Fini; c. 1383 – c. 1447) was an Italian painter. His best known works are probably his collaborations with Masaccio: Madonna with Child and St. Anne (1424) and the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel (1424–1428).

Pisa Altarpiece

The Pisa Altarpiece (Italian: Polittico di Pisa) was a large multi-paneled altarpiece produced by Masaccio for the chapel of Saint Julian in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Pisa. The chapel was owned by the notary Giuliano di Colino, who commissioned the work on February 19, 1426 for the sum of 80 florins. Payment for the work was recorded on December 26 of that year. The altarpiece was dismantled and dispersed to various collections and museums in the 18th century, but an attempted reconstruction was made possible due to a detailed description of the work by Vasari in 1568.It was a tempera painting on a gold ground and wood panel. It originally had at least five compartments organised in two registers, making ten main panels, of which only four are known to have survived. Another four side panels and three predella panels (two of which had a double scene) are now in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. The altarpiece's central panel was Madonna and Child with Angels, produced in collaboration with Masaccio's brother Giovanni and with Andrea di Giusto, now in the National Gallery, London.

Eleven panels are known as of 2010, and they are insufficient to reconstruct the whole work with certainty. In particular four standing figures of saints flanking the central panel are missing. Vasari says these were the saints shown in the predella narrative scenes: Peter, John the Baptist, Julian and Nicholas. In particular it is unclear if these larger saints occupied the more traditional individual framed compartments, as proposed by C. Gardner von Teuffel and others, or stood in a unified field with the central Virgin and Child, as proposed by John Shearman, which was to be become the usual style in the following decades.

Portrait of a Young Man (Masaccio)

Portrait of a Young Man is a painting attributed to the Italian Renaissance painter Masaccio, although this attribution is disputed. The identity of the subject of this painting is unknown and he wears a chaperon.

Renaissance art

Renaissance art is the painting, sculpture and decorative arts of the period of European history, emerging as a distinct style in Italy in about 1400, in parallel with developments which occurred in philosophy, literature, music, and science. Renaissance art, perceived as the noblest of ancient traditions, took as its foundation the art of Classical antiquity, but transformed that tradition by absorbing recent developments in the art of Northern Europe and by applying contemporary scientific knowledge. Renaissance art, with Renaissance Humanist philosophy, spread throughout Europe, affecting both artists and their patrons with the development of new techniques and new artistic sensibilities. Renaissance art marks the transition of Europe from the medieval period to the Early Modern age.

In many parts of Europe, Early Renaissance art was created in parallel with Late Medieval art.

Renaissance art, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and literature produced during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries in Europe under the combined influences of an increased awareness of nature, a revival of classical learning, and a more individualistic view of man. Scholars no longer believe that the Renaissance marked an abrupt break with medieval values, as is suggested by the French word renaissance, literally “rebirth.” Rather, historical sources suggest that interest in nature, humanistic learning, and individualism were already present in the late medieval period and became dominant in 15th- and 16th-century Italy concurrently with social and economic changes such as the secularization of daily life, the rise of a rational money-credit economy, and greatly increased social mobility.

The influences upon the development of Renaissance men and women in the early 15th century are those that also affected Philosophy, Literature, Architecture, Theology, Science, Government, and other aspects of society. The following list presents a summary, dealt with more fully in the main articles that are cited above.

Classical texts, lost to European scholars for centuries, became available. These included Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Drama, Science, a thesis on the Arts, and Early Christian Theology.

Simultaneously, Europe gained access to advanced mathematics which had its provenance in the works of Islamic scholars.

The advent of movable type printing in the 15th century meant that ideas could be disseminated easily, and an increasing number of books were written for a broad public.

The establishment of the Medici Bank and the subsequent trade it generated brought unprecedented wealth to a single Italian city, Florence.

Cosimo de' Medici set a new standard for patronage of the arts, not associated with the church or monarchy.

Humanist philosophy meant that man's relationship with humanity, the universe and with God was no longer the exclusive province of the Church.

A revived interest in the Classics brought about the first archaeological study of Roman remains by the architect Brunelleschi and sculptor Donatello. The revival of a style of architecture based on classical precedents inspired a corresponding classicism in painting and sculpture, which manifested itself as early as the 1420s in the paintings of Masaccio and Uccello.

The improvement of oil paint and developments in oil-painting technique by Dutch artists such as Robert Campin, Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes led to its adoption in Italy from about 1475 and had ultimately lasting effects on painting practices, worldwide.

The serendipitous presence within the region of Florence in the early 15th century of certain individuals of artistic genius, most notably Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Piero della Francesca, Donatello and Michelozzo formed an ethos out of which sprang the great masters of the High Renaissance, as well as supporting and encouraging many lesser artists to achieve work of extraordinary quality.

A similar heritage of artistic achievement occurred in Venice through the talented Bellini family, their influential in-law Mantegna, Giorgione, Titian and Tintoretto.

The publication of two treatises by Leone Battista Alberti, De Pitura (On Painting), 1435, and De re aedificatoria (Ten Books on Architecture), 1452.

San Giovenale Triptych

The San Giovenale Triptych or Cascia Altarpiece is a 1422 painting by Italian Renaissance artist Masaccio, housed in a museum behind the church of Cascia di Reggello, in the Roman Pieve of San Pietro di Cascia near Florence, Italy.

This work, discovered in 1961 in a state of poor preservation, in the loft of a house adjacent to the small chapel of San Giovenale two kilometres from Cascia by Juliana Arnetoli. It had allegedly been hidden there before the Second World War to prevent the occupying German army from removing it from the chapel. It is probably the first original work by Masaccio. It was commissioned by the Florentine family of Castellani for the Basilica of San Lorenzo, and was later moved to San Giovenale.It is dated at the bottom in modern humanist letters, the first work in Europe not inscribed in Gothic characters, which read, "ANNO DOMINI MCCCCXXII A DI VENTITRE D'AP[RILE]" (April 23, 1422). The central panel shows the Madonna enthroned with two angels and the child Jesus eating some vine, as a symbol of the Eucharist. The halo of the Madonna bears the Shahada written backwards. The left panel depicts Saint Bartholomew and Saint Blaise, and the right panel depicts Saint Anthony and Saint Juvenal (Giovenale). The left and right panels show a marked influence of 14th century models, while the complex perspective of the centre panel would have been something new for its time. Also, the use of three-dimensional solidity makes the painting revolutionary for its time.

Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

Santa Maria del Carmine is a church of the Carmelite Order, in the Oltrarno district of Florence, in Tuscany, Italy. It is famous as the location of the Brancacci Chapel housing outstanding Renaissance frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale, later finished by Filippino Lippi.

Santa Maria del Carmine, Pisa

Santa Maria del Carmine is a Roman Catholic church in Pisa, Italy.

The church was originally built for the Carmelite order in 1324-1328. By 1425, it was decorated with a famed, now dispersed, polyptych by Masaccio. Only one panel of the altarpiece remains in Pisa in the National Museum of San Matteo.

The church itself underwent many reconstructions across the centuries. The present simple façade was designed by Alessandro Gherardesca, in the 1830s. The interior has an organ by Andrea Ravani made in 1613, and altars with painting by Baccio Lomi, Aurelio Lomi, Santi di Tito, Alessandro Allori, Francesco Curradi, and Andrea Boscoli.

The Tribute Money (Masaccio)

The Tribute Money is a fresco by the Italian Early Renaissance painter Masaccio, located in the Brancacci Chapel of the basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence. Painted in the 1420s, it is widely considered among Masaccio's best work, and a vital part of the development of renaissance art.The painting is part of a cycle on the life of Saint Peter, and describes a scene from the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus directs Peter to find a coin in the mouth of a fish in order to pay the temple tax. Its importance relates to its revolutionary use of perspective and chiaroscuro. The Tribute Money suffered great damage in the centuries after its creation, until the chapel went through a thorough restoration in the 1980s.

Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (Masaccio)

The Madonna and Child with St. Anne, also known as Sant'Anna Metterza, is a painting of c. 1424 by the Italian Renaissance painter Masaccio, probably in collaboration with Masolino da Panicale. The painting is in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy, and measures 175 centimetres high and 103 centimetres wide.The Virgin and Child, with its powerful volume and solid possession of space by means of an assured perspectival structure, is one of the earliest works credited to Masaccio. But for one, the angels, very delicate in their tender forms and pale, gentle colouring, are from the more Gothic brush of Masolino; the angel in the upper right hand curve reveals the hand of Masaccio. The figure of St. Anne is much worn and hence to be judged with difficulty, but her hand, which seems to explore the depth of the picture-space, may well be an invention of Masaccio. Masaccio's work shows the influence of Donatello in its soft, rounded forms and realistic texture. The ‘Madonna and Child with Saint Anne’ was originally commissioned for the Sant’Ambrogio church in Florence. According to Vasari, “It was placed in the chapel door which leads to the nuns’ parlour”.

The figure of Christ is that of a young child, a realistic presence, rather than a gothic cherub. This is also one of the first paintings to display the effect of true natural light on the figure; it is this invention which imparts the modelling of form so characteristic of Masaccio, and which would have a profound influence on the painting of the Italian Renaissance.


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