Sunday, March 20, 2011

40 Days of Artists: Masaccio

If artists like Giotto and Fra Angelico were the early beginnings of the Renaissance, I would say it is Masaccio who brought it to full fruition.

Masaccio was born Tomasso Cassai in 1401 in San Giovanni Valdarno near Florence. It took only two influences combined for Masaccio to perfect his style - Brunelleschi's knowledge of mathematical and scientific accuracy in perspective, and Donatello's knowledge of the classical, naturalistic modeling of anatomy and proportion. Masaccio completely abandoned the old Gothic style of painting seen in Byzantine icons and embraced the naturalistic appearance, complete with perspective that gave his paintings a true sense of depth.

All of Masaccio's works were church altarpieces and frescos. Even his early works show the influence from the classical method by depicting the figures with natural, rounded and fleshy appearances, and a 3-dimensional use of shadow. His Trinity fresco, painted in 1425, was the one of the first paintings to use accurate one-point perspective in Western art.

Many of Masaccio's paintings have a noticeable difference in lighting than other paintings of its time. They appear to have a single light source, or an almost theatrical lighting that illuminates the figures and gives an obvious contrast between light and dark, adding to the realism and 3-dimensionality of the painting. Masaccio is one of the first artists to apply this principle known as chiaroscuro - a method used in many other later Renaissance artists, and even more so into the Baroque period. His fresco scenes for the Brancacci Chapel are considered his greatest masterpieces, particularly that of the Tribute Money and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, where every detail is carefully thought out including the cast shadows from the figures.

Expulsion from the Garden of Eden
208 x 88 cm

No comments:

Post a Comment