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Tommaso Masaccio

From Academic Kids

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Masaccio_trinity.jpg
Trinity 1425-28 Fresco, 667 x 317 cm
Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Tommaso Masaccio (born Tommaso Cassai or in some Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Mone) (1401-1428), was a renowned painter of frescoes during the Italian Renaissance. Masaccio meaning sloppy was a nickname given by Giorgio Vasari on account of the artist's dedication to his painting being so great he gave little attention to his personal hygene.

Although brief, his career had a profound influence on other artists. He was one of the first to use scientific perspective in his painting. He also moved away from the Gothic style of the time to a more naturalistic mode where he paid more attention to perspective and realism than to elaborate ornamentation.

Little is known about his early life until he joined the Painters Guild in Florence in 1422. The first attributed works the Cascia Altarpiece and a Virgin and Child with St Anne both in the Uffizi date from that year. Both works were collaborations with an older artist Masolino and for many years it was assumed Masaccio was apprentice to Masolino - however Masaccio gained entry to the Painters Guild before Masolino making it more likely their collaboration was for convenience. In Florence Masaccio studied the work of Giotto and was friends with Alberti, Brunelleschi and Donatello. At their prompting in 1423 Masaccio travelled to Rome and his work from that point is freed of all gothic and byzantine influence as represented by the central panel of his altar piece for the Carmelite Church in Pisa the Madonna and Child now in the National Gallery London c.1423. As well as a sculptural and human Madonna the work features a convincing perspectival depiction of her throne.

In 1424 Masolino was commissioned to execute a cycle of frescoes for the Brancacci Chapel in Florence but pressed to complete the work asked for Masaccio's help. For two years Masaccio worked on the Chapel alone and the cycle includes his most famous work and shows his reference to Giotto especially. The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, depicting a distressed Adam and Eve, nude, without fig leaves had a huge influence on Michelangelo. Another major work is the "Tribute Money" in which Jesus and the Apostles are depicted as neo-classical archetypes.

In 1427 Masolino returned and Masaccio quit the Brancacci Chapel. He won a prestigious commission to produce a "Holy Trinity" for the Santa Maria Novella church in Florence. The fresco marks the first use of systematic linear perspective, possible devised by Masaccio with the assistance of Brunelleschi.

Only four undoubtedly Masaccio frescoes still exist today, although many other works have been credited either in whole or in part to his name.

Giorgio Vasari includes a biography of Masaccio in his Lives. From the book Lives of the artist

External links

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