A similar crack runs around this woman's right arm as she clasps her baby, and it continues on past her sleeve and across the pale background: evidently the master painter felt he could paint a larger surface during this day's work. And yet look what humanity and tenderness he has left for us to gaze on.
|The Tribute Money, with its linear and 'atmospheric' perspective, its naturalness of gesture and expression|
Although at times the artist would draw the design directly on the wall, in the renaissance it was mostly transferred to the wall by means of an ingenious yet painstaking technique, described fully in the next post.
|sinopia or underdrawing of the Repentance of Peter from a lunette in the Brancacci Chapel. (In this drawing some dots from the 'stencil' are also visible, cf. later post)|
|Masaccio's presumed self portrait from the Brancacci Chapel, flanked by Masolino and Gianbattista Alberti - or Donatello|
Masaccio, who was to die at only 26, ushered in what we call the renaissance of Western art. Giotto's influence is apparent, but Masaccio made huge innovations: the communication of emotion through naturalness of expression and gesture; chiaroscuro, or the rendering of light and shade; the use of directional light (shadows throughout the Brancacci cycle seem to be cast thanks to light from the chapel window); the use of linear and atmospheric perspective; a certain solidity in his execution, perhaps influenced by sculpture: these elements combine to give an impression of three dimensions, of naturalness, realism and humanity.
|this statuesque head of St John testifies to the influence classical sculpture had on the young artist, after his visit to Rome|
|Where the artist's innovation and skill culminated: the Holy Trinity at Santa Maria Novella, Masaccio's masterpiece with its linear perspective, possibly designed together with Brunelleschi|
In part two I will describe fresco in greater detail. Because today in Florence it is possible to experiment with fresco dal vivo, live. There can be no better way to appreciate greatness than to attempt, however feebly, to imitate it!
|visiting times, or you can take one of Alexandra's tours:|
|on the way to the chapel, a harmonious cloister|