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The Early Renaissance Art In Florence

1963 words - 8 pages

The early Renaissance art in Florence focused on an elaborate, Gothic style of painting; very formal and traditional, yet there was always something that seemed to be lacking. Perspective and depth were two very important qualities in painting, yet up until the time of young Masaccio, (born Tommaso Guidi), paintings were beautiful, but seemed to just be art that hung on the wall. In Masaccio’s work, “rather than recede in space, the figures seem to come forward” (Cole 120). He may not have known it at the time, but his style of painting would influence many painters well after his death; Donatello, Michelangelo, and so on. Masaccio may have only painted for a total of 8 years, but during ...view middle of the document...

Most of Masaccio’s works seem to have a religious theme, which would make sense with his time period as well as his life in Florence. Some of his first, and most famous pieces, such as Madonna and Child3 and Crucifixion4, were just the beginning in showing Masaccio’s talents, and how he could create such depth and realism, almost to the point of fooling the viewer into thinking they could walk right into one of his paintings.
In only 8 years of painting, Masaccio completely a variety of different works, from creating individual paintings, to the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel. However, such as with the frescoes, it is thought, and sometimes actually known, that Masaccio did have other artists working with him on certain projects. As with the frescoes, it is believed that Masaccio worked along with Masolino, who also did several other frescoes himself into the Chapel. This shows that Masaccio did learn some of his styles from other artists, as well as painted similarly to others, yet despite the similarities between those such as Masaccio and Masolino, Masaccio seemed to still have a mind all his own. According to Cole, “one of Masaccio’s great contributions to the art of fresco painting was his shaping of form exclusively through the use of light and dark” (Cole 157). His use of light instead of lines, like his predecessors used, created a sense that the light was really shining in the painting, instead of just being literally painted on the canvas. This was only the beginning of Masaccio’s talents, but it was a huge step in itself; the paintings felt actually lit from within, and created that infinite sense of depth that seemed to lessen the boarder between the realistic and imaginary planes.
Perhaps one of Masaccio’s most famous frescoes, and also perhaps one of his best works of all, is The Holy Trinity5 in Santa Maria. This beautiful work has suffered many years, as well as many travels, and still proves me a truly amazing example of what Masaccio could do with simple linear perspective. In his “The Anatomy of Masaccio’s Holy Trinity,” Joseph Polzer states that “Masaccio’s Holy Trinity fresco in Santa Maria Novella has the double distinction of being one of the most original and admired paintings of the early Renaissance, as well as the most travelled” (Polzer 1). It has undergone many repairs, and has been to many places, so it can sometimes be hard to really see past all of the new and really see what Masaccio created. Yet, really looking past what has been changed, a viewer can really see Masaccio’s talent: “Masaccio's perspective design of the vault was created within the surface geometry. The foreshortened pattern of coffers could be calculated using simple geometry” (Polzer 1). Masaccio was not just an artist, but also used basic math and geometry skills to really create that realism in his works. This shows that he was also very intellectual as well as creative, and became part of another era of painting that used...

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