Tommaso Masaccio (born December 21, 1401 died in the fall of 1428) famous Italian artist of the first half of the 15th century, painter and frescoist, who worked mainly in the religious genre. Masaccio is the nickname of the master, which can be translated into Russian as “muff” or “sloppy”, since, according to the testimony of contemporaries, the artist was an absent-minded and unadapted person in everyday life. The artist’s work had a huge impact on European art, although many facts from his biography, as well as the authorship of the works attributed to him, are today disputed by historians.
Masaccio, along with Sandro Botticelli, can rightfully be considered one of the greatest painters of the Florentine school of the Early Renaissance. Unlike the works of most artists of that time, written in the style of international Gothic, Masaccio’s works are distinguished by skillful realism of images.
Biography of Tommaso Masaccio
(real name Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Mòne di Andreuccio Cassài) was born on December 21, 1401 in the town of San Giovanni Valdarno in the family of a notary. The exact date of the artist’s birth is not in doubt, since on this day the Catholic Church of that time celebrated the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, in honor of which the parents named the newborn baby by the name Tommaso.
The childhood of a genius cannot be called happy and carefree. When the boy was 5 years old, and his mother was pregnant with her second child, his father died, who at the time of his death was barely 27 years old. Having recovered from grief, the young widow married Tedesco di Mastro Feo, the owner of a small pharmacy, who raised two daughters after the death of his wife. But 11 years later, Tommaso’s stepfather also died, since then all the worries about the maintenance of a family of 5 fell on the shoulders of a 16-year-old guy.
Fortunately, the future artist early showed a talent for drawing, and already in 1418 he moved to Florence, where his mother managed to rent a small room. It is not known for certain who taught Tommaso the basics of painting, although most often modern historians call his teachers Beachci di Lorenzo or Masolino.
At the age of 21, Masaccio was admitted to the Florentine guild of doctors, pharmacists and painters with the title of master. From that moment on, a full-fledged career of an artist began, which, unfortunately, did not last long. His friendship with Filippo Brunelleschi and Donatello, two great sculptors of the Renaissance, greatly influenced Masaccio’s work. It was they who became the real teachers of the young painter, introduced him to the innovative ideas of realistic visual arts and linear perspective.
Many of Masaccio’s works were written in collaboration with Mazolino, with whom the artist had good friendly relations. Nevertheless, modern historians are hotly debated about the authorship of a significant part of the joint works.
Masaccio’s personal life is covered with a veil of secrecy; there is also no information about his family or children. Most likely, the artist did not manage to get married, devoting his whole life to art. The death of the 26-year-old master, dated 1428, is a big mystery for posterity. It is not known for certain where, on what day, under what circumstances and for what reason the artist died. Giorgio Vasari in his famous “Biographies suggests that Masaccio was poisoned by enemies, but most modern historians reject this theory. The most famous works of Masaccio
During his short life, the brilliant master of painting wrote many works that are rightfully considered masterpieces of the art of the Renaissance.
And yet, the most famous works are:
- The Triptych of San Giovenale (1422) is the first work of the master, whose authorship is unconditionally recognized by all art theorists. The painting of the altar, made by a 20-year-old artist, is distinguished by an amazing volumetric image, which in those years was not yet in Italian painting.
- The frescoes of the Brancacci Chapel (1424-1428) are the most large-scale and famous creation of the artist. Most of the frescoes were painted by Masaccio, including the most famous of them “Expulsion from Paradise” and “Miracle with a statier.”
- “Portrait of a Young Man” (1423-1425) is the only painting of the portrait genre that undoubtedly belongs to the brush of Masaccio. According to most art critics, it depicts Leon Battista Alberti the great architect of the Renaissance.
- The Pisa Polyptych (1426) is a beautiful altarpiece, several parts of which are now in different museums, while others have been irretrievably lost. Only at the beginning of the XXI century, scientists determined that the central and several side panels of the altar were painted by the great Masaccio.
During his short life, Masaccio managed to create many wonderful works, which the audience admires today. And if he lived much longer than the fate allotted for 26 years, then today his name certainly stood on a par with the greatest geniuses of the Italian Renaissance da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raffaello.