Masaccio`s frescoes for the Brancacci Chapel
Masaccio`sfrescoes for the Brancacci Chapel
Masaccio`sFrescoes for the Brancacci Chapel
Masaccio`sfrescoes for the Brancacci Chapel are a string of murals that areviewed as critical expressions of the painting of the earlyRenaissance. The murals were started by Masaccio who lived between1401 and 1428, and Masolino da Panicale who lived between 1383 and1435 (Gardner & Kleiner, 2014). They epitomize the unique mixtureof painterly skills, humanism, and science that portray theRenaissance in Florence. The cycle of fresco is acclaimed forMasaccio’s radical application of chiaroscuro, and the linearperspective.
TheBrancacci Chapel was constructed in the late 1380s. It is located inthe transept’s right-hand side in Santa Maria del Carmine Church inFlorence (Gardner & Kleiner, 2014). The chapel was sanctified toSaint Peter. Its patrons from approximately 1360 to 1780 were thefamily of Brancacci. Felice Brancacci, who was a rich silk merchant,had arrived in Florence from a stint as an Ambassador of Florence toCairo in 1423. Later in 1423, he granted the exalted commission for achain of the chapel’s religious paintings to Masolino da Panicaleand his talented youthful aid Masaccio. The two started the job in1424. However, Masolino went to Hungary in 1425, where he became theking’s certified painter. On the other hand, Masaccio was grantedthe commission by Brancacci. Masolino returned eighteen months later,but his former student had already eclipsed him. However, the projectwas left unfinished in 1428, and later completed by Fillipino Lippiin 1485. The subject Brancacci frescoes was chosen because itrepresents the Saint Peter’s life. It has paintings that portrayGenesis’ scenes such as temptations and the expulsion of Adam andEve from the Garden of Eden. Moreover, the unifying storyline is thesin by human beings, as well as its ensuing deliverance via theactions and intercession by Saint Peter.
Thereare various issues that accounts for the fame of the Tribute Money inthe fresco cycle. In the center of the first scene, a tax collectoris seen holding his left hand open, while his right hand is pointingdown eagerly persisting to be paid the tax by the apostles and theChrist (Gardner & Kleiner, 2014). His back faces the audience,which assists in creating the delusion of a three dimensional spacein the picture. Such a goal was very critical to the painter,Masaccio, as he was able to use both the aerial and linearperspectives to develop the space illusion. Like the Saint Mark ofDonatello from Orsanmichele, the tax collector stands in contrappostowith his right knee slightly bent, and the entire weight of his bodyresting on his left leg. The apostles appear to be worried as theynervously wait to see the next thing to happen. Saint Peter, who iswearing a big dark orange dyed toga that is wrapped above a blueshirt, looks confused. He appears to be inquiring for answers fromChrist as he points over to the lake. He also appears to be havingfaith in Christ.
Masacciowas heavily influenced by the three-dimensionality and humanism ofGiotto, the Florentine’s painter of the 14thCentury (Gardner & Kleiner, 2014). Therefore, his figures arepermeated by solidity and naturalism. Masaccio demonstrated hisability to use a single source of light, whose effects of chiaroscurogave the figures a better three-dimensionality. He also applied lightto define draperies and bodies. His ability to combine mathematicalperspectives, human characters, three-dimensionality, and chiaroscuroin his work made him create a new painting style during the period ofRenaissance in Florence.
Gardner,H., & Kleiner, F. S. (2014). Gardner`sart through the ages: The Western perspective.Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
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