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The Divine Masaccio

The Divine Masaccio
18 December 2016 Comments are off

He was clumsy and very absent-minded”, wrote Vasari and instead of being called by his real Thomas, he was called by his nickname Masaccio; clumsy Thomas.

Surrounded by and sometimes working for the great artistic innovators of his day including Ghiberti, Masaccio became very involved with the humanistic avant-garde of Brunelleschi and Donatello.

Working in the late Gothic period Masaccio pursued a more natural truth in his painting and exalted human values in his visual narratives. In time the young artist surpassed his masters in a style of painting that was considered for the time a forceful expression of originality.

According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense of three-dimensionality. Despite his brief career, he had a profound influence on other artists and was one of the first to use linear perspective in his painting, employing techniques such as vanishing point in art for the first time. A technique he learnt from his friend and colleague Brunelleschi, the father of perspective drawing. He also moved away from the International Gothic style and the elaborate ornamentation of artists like Gentile da Fabriano to a more naturalistic manner that employed perspective and chiaroscuro for greater realism.

Masaccio died at twenty-six in 1428 in Rome, and little is known about the exact circumstances of his death. We do know that the Divine Masaccio opened a door that flooded the western world with the light of what became the Renaissance.

Peter Kilby
About the Author

Peter Kilby is an artist, writer, story-teller, journalist and avid traveller who has lived and worked in Italy since 1987. He created Perfect Traveller to bring the world of art and history closer to you. Download the “free” Perfect Traveller app and enjoy the best audio tours available; about Italy today and yesterday. Sign Up to this website and submit your travel stories and become part of the Perfect Traveller community.

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