Agnolo Bronzino

Agnolo Gaddi

Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Andreadi di Bonaiuto

Andrea del Castagno

Andrea del Sarto

Andrea di Bartolo

Andrea Mantegna

Antonello da Messina

Antonio del Pollaiuolo

Bartolo di Fredi

Bartolomeo di Giovanni

Benozzo Gozzoli

Benvenuto di Giovanni

Bernard Berenson

Bernardo Daddi

Bianca Cappello

Bicci di Lorenzo

Bonaventura Berlinghieri

Buonamico Buffalmacco

Byzantine art



Dietisalvi di Speme

Domenico Beccafumi

Domenico di Bartolo

Domenico di Michelino

Domenico veneziano


Duccio di Buoninsegna

Eleonora da Toledo

Federico Zuccari

Filippino Lippi

Filippo Lippi

Fra Angelico

Fra Carnevale

Francesco di Giorgio Martini

Francesco Pesellino

Francesco Rosselli

Francia Bigio

Gentile da Fabriano


Domenico Ghirlandaio


Giorgio Vasari

Giotto di bondone

Giovanni da Modena

Giovanni da San Giovanni

Giovanni di Francesco

Giovanni di Paolo

Giovanni Toscani

Girolamo di Benvenuto

Guidoccio Cozzarelli

Guido da Siena

Il Sodoma

Jacopo del Sellaio

Jacopo Pontormo

Lippo Memmi

Lippo Vanni

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Lorenzo Monaco

Lo Scheggia

Lo Spagna

Luca Signorelli


masolino da panicale

master of monteoliveto

master of saint francis

master of the osservanza

matteo di giovanni

memmo di filippuccio

neroccio di bartolomeo

niccolo di segna

paolo di giovanni fei

paolo ucello


piero della francesca

piero del pollaiolo

piero di cosimo

pietro aldi

pietro lorenzetti



sandro botticelli

sano di pietro


simone martini

spinello aretino

taddeo di bartolo

taddeo gaddi

ugolino di nerio



Brancacci Chapel, Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Firenze
Travel guide for Tuscany

Masaccio | Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence


The Cappella Brancacci is a small chapel reached through the cloisters of the Santa Maria del Carmine Church. Most of the church was destroyed in a fire in 1771. It is considered a miracle that the Brancacci and Corsini Chapels survived the intense fire that destroyed everything else in less than 4 hours. The Church belongs to the Carmelite order, and like San Lorenzo, offers an unfinished façade.
Two layers of frescoes commissioned in 1424 by Felice Brancacci, a wealthy Florentine merchant and statesman, illustrate the life of St. Peter, shown in his orange gown. The frescoes were designed by Masolino da Panicale, who began painting them with his pupil Masaccio. In 1428 Masaccio took over from Masolino but died later that year, aged 27, and the remaining parts were completed by Filippino Lippi in the 1480s.

Masaccio was the first great painter of the Italian Renaissance, whose innovations in the use of scientific perspective inaugurated the modern era in painting. [1]
The fresco series for the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence (about 1427) illustrates one of his great innovations, the use of light to define the human body and its draperies. In these frescoes, rather than bathing his scenes in flat uniform light, he painted them as if they were illuminated from a single source of light (the actual chapel window), thus creating a play of light and shadow (chiaroscuro) that gave them a natural, realistic quality unknown in the art of his day. Of these six fresco scenes, Tribute Money and the Expulsion from Paradise are considered his masterpieces.

The Brancacci Chapel or Cappella dei Brancacci is a chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. It is sometimes called the Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance for its painting cycle, among the most famous and influential of the period. Construction of the chapel was commissioned by Pietro Brancacci and begun in 1386. Little remains of the mediaeval building, not only because of the extensive 16th-century alterations but also because of a disastrous fire which gutted the church in 1771. What we see today is in large part the result of the late-baroque rebuilding carried out after the fire by Giuseppe Ruggieri. The fire did not however affect the old sacristy, which still has its chapel with Scenes from the life of St Cecilia attributed to Lippo d’Andrea (c. 1400), the Brancacci Chapel in the right transept, or the Corsini Chapel in the left.
Public access is currently gained via the neighbouring convent, designed by Brunelleschi. The church and the chapel are treated as separate places to visit and as such have different opening times and it is quite difficult to see the rest of the church from the chapel.

The Brancacci Chapel has one of the supreme masterpieces of renaissance painting: the fresco cycle of Scenes from the life of St Peter, mostly painted in collaboration by Masaccio and Masolino between 1425 and 1427.
The patron of the pictorial decoration was Felice Brancacci, descendant of Pietro, who had served as the Florentine ambassador to Cairo until 1423. Upon his return to Florence, he hired Masolino da Panicale to paint his chapel. Masolino's associate, 21 year old Masaccio, 18 years younger than Masolino, assisted, but during painting Masolino left to Hungary, where he was painter to the king, and the commission was given to Masaccio. By the time Masolino returned he was learning from his talented former student. However, Masaccio was called to Rome before he could finish the chapel, and died in Rome at the age of 27. Portions of the chapel were completed later by Filippino Lippi. [2] Unfortunately during the Baroque period some of the paintings were seen as unfashionable and a tomb was placed in front of them.

The fresco cycle, with the exception of the first two, tells the story of St Peter, as follows:

Temptation (Masolino)

Expulsion from the Garden (Masaccio)

Tribute Money (Masaccio)

Healing of the Cripple and Raising of Tabitha (Masolino)

St Peter Preaching (Masolino)

Baptism of the Neophytes (Masaccio)

St Peter Healing the Sick with his Shadow (Masaccio)

Distribution of Alms and Death of Ananias (Masaccio)

Raising of the Son of Theophilus and St Peter Enthroned (Masaccio and Filippino Lippi)

Disputation with Simon Magus and Crucifixion of St Peter (Filippino Lippi)

St Paul Visiting St Peter in Prison (Filippino Lippi)

Peter Being Freed from Prison (Filippino Lippi)


The frescoes in the upper register are: Adam and Eve in the Earthly Paradise, and Original Sin by Masolino, and the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Earthly Paradise with the Tribute Money and the Baptism of the neophytes by Masaccio; also by Masolino are the Preaching of St Peter with the Healing of the lame man and the raising of Tabitha. In the lower register, Masaccio painted the two scenes on the end wall, St Peter curing the sick with his shadow and the Distribution of goods, with the death ot Ananias.

The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

Masaccio, The Expulsion Of Adam and Eve from Eden, Brancacci Chapel, Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Firenze

Masaccio's Expulsion from the Garden of Eden is the first fresco on the upper part of the chapel, on the left wall, just at the left of the Tribute Money. It is famous for its vivid energy and unprecedented emotional realism. It depicts the expulsion from the garden of Adam and Eve, from the biblical Book of Genesis chapter 3, albeit with a few differences from the canonical account. It contrasts dramatically with Masolino's delicate and decorative image of Adam and Eve before the fall, painted on the opposite wall.

The Expulsion Of Adam and Eve from Eden demonstrates the fascination of Renaissance artists with Greek mythological subjects. Note how the pose of Eve is apparently based on the so-called Venus Pudica pose that became the norm for the nude Aphrodite figures in the Late Classical period.

Masaccio provided a large inspiration to the more famous Renaissance painter Michelangelo, due to the fact that Michelangelo's teacher, Ghirlandaio, looked almost exclusively to him for inspiration for his religious scenes. Ghirlandaio also imitated various designs done by Masaccio. This influence is most visible in Michelangelo's 'The Fall of Man and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden' on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Three centuries after the fresco was painted, Cosimo III de' Medici, in line with contemporary ideas of decorum, ordered that fig leaves be added to conceal the genitals of the figures. These were eventually removed in the 1980s when the painting was fully restored and cleaned.[3]


The fresco was cut at the top during the 18th century architectural alterations. This is one of the frescoes in the chapel which has suffered the greatest damage, for the blue of the sky has been lost. The fig leaves were added three centuries after the original fresco was painted, probably at the request of Cosimo III de' Medici in the late 17th century, who saw nudity as “disgusting”. During restoration in the 1980s the leaves were removed along with centuries of grime to restore the fresco to its original condition.

Art in Tuscany | Masaccio | Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

The Tribute Money

Masaccio, The Tribute Money, fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

The episode depicts the arrival in Capernaum of Jesus and the Apostles, based on the account given in Matthew's Gospel. Masaccio has included the three different moments of the story in the same scene: the tax collector's request, with Jesus's immediate response indicating to Peter how to find the money necessary, is illustrated in the centre; Peter catching the fish in Lake Genezaret and extracting the coin is shown to the left; and, to the right, Peter hands the tribute money to the tax collector in front of his house. This episode, stressing the legitimacy of the tax collector's request, has been interpreted as a reference to the lively controversy in Florence at the time on the proposed tax reform; the controversy was finally settled in 1427 with the institution of an official tax register, which allowed a much fairer system of taxation in the city. There are other references and allusions which have been pointed out by scholars.

Ever since the earliest scholars began writing about this fresco they showed special interest in the realistic details, which they noticed and pointed out despite the disappearence of the colour caused by the lampblack and the thick gluey substance that misguided restorers repeatedly applied to the surface of the frescoes over the centuries. Today it has finally become easier to appreciate the wealth of fascinating details, thanks to the recent restoration: Peter's fishing rod, the large open mouth of the fish he has caught, described down to the smallest details, the transparent water of the lake and the circular ripples spreading outwards, toward the banks.

The awareness that they are about to witness an extraordinary event creates in the characters an atmosphere of expectation. Behind the group of people we can see a sloping mountainous landscape, with a variety of colours that range from dark green in the foreground to the white snow in the background, ending in a luminous blue sky streaked with white clouds painted in perfect perspective. The hills and the mountains that rise out from the plains, dotted with farmhouses, trees and hedges, have an entirely new and earthy concreteness: a perfect use of linear perspective, which will be taken up by Paolo Uccello, Domenico Veneziano and Piero della Francesca.

The figures are arranged according to horizontal lines, but the overall disposition is circular: this semicircular pattern was of classical origin (Socrates and his disciples), although it was later adopted by early Christian art (Jesus and the Apostles), and interpreted by the first Renaissance artists, such as Brunelleschi, as the geometric pattern symbolizing the perfection of the circle.

The characters are entirely classical: dressed in the Greek fashion, with tunics tied at the waist and cloaks wrapped over their left shoulder, around the back, and clasped at the front, below their left forearm. And even Peter's stance, as he extracts the coin from the fish's mouth, with his right leg bent and his left one outstretched, is reminiscent of postures of many statues by Greek artists, as well as reliefs on Etruscan funerary urns and Roman carvings.


Masaccio, The Tribute Money, fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence


The Distribution of Alms and the Death of Ananias

The Distribution of Alms and the Death of Ananias, Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

The episode The Distribution of Alms and the Death of Ananias is taken from the account in the Acts of the Apostles (4: 32-37 and 5:1-11) : "For as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need....But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?. . . why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost."

Masaccio brings together the two moments of the story: Peter distributing the donations that have been presented to the Apostles and the death of Ananias, whose body lies on the ground at his feet. The scene takes place in a setting of great solemnity, and the classical composition is constructed around opposing groups of characters.

No scholar has ever doubted that the entire scene is by Masaccio, except for minor cases of details having been retouched, such as certain parts of Ananias's body, small sections to the far left where the colour had come off, and even tiny areas on St Peter himself.


The recent restoration has provided us with interesting information: for example, we can now see that there are several details that are not the work of Masaccio, such as St John's pink cloak and his tunic, and Ananias's hands. It was suggested that all these elements were repainted by Filippino Lippi, all in one day's work, over Masaccio's original fresco.

As well as a reference to salvation through the faith, this fresco has also been interpretedas another statement in favour of the institution of the Catasto, for the scene describes both a new measure guaranteeing greater equality among the population and the divine punishment of those who make false declarations. And it has also been suggested that the fresco contains a reference to the family who commissioned the cycle: the man kneeling behind St Peter's arm has been identified as Cardinal Rinaldo Brancacci, or alternatively as Cardinal Tommaso Brancacci.

Due to the interference of the altar and marble balustrade set up in the l8th century, no scholar had been able to notice that the two episodes on the end wall are ideally part of a single composition, although they are intended to be seen from different viewpoints: the Distribution of Alms along the corner axis of the building in the centre, from a position to the right of the entrance, while the scene of Peter Healing the Sick with his Shadow is intended to be viewed from the middle of the chapel, from fairly close up. The connection between the two scenes is further emphasized by the fact that on the window side neither has pilaster strips framing the outer edge. The original two-light window, so narrow and tall, did not really interrupt the continuity of the wall space: on the contrary, its concave surface provided an ideal connection with the space outside, not as a further background element, but rather as a real source of light, enhancing the three-dimensional features of the characters and contributing to the contrast between light and dark areas.


Masaccio, The Distribution of Alms and the Death of Ananias, Cappella Brancacci


St Peter Healing the Sick with his Shadow

Masaccio, St Peter Healing the Sick with his Shadow, (detail) 1426-27, fresco, 230 x 162 cm, Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

In the Acts of the Apostles (5: 12-14) the episode St Peter Healing the Sick with his Shadow is recounted immediately after the story of Ananias.

Scholars have never doubted that this scene is entirely by Masaccio. Starting with Vasari (1568), who used the man with the hood as the portrait of Masolino he put on the frontispiece of his biography of the artist, all later scholars have tried to identify the contemporary characters portrayed in the scene. It was noticed that the bearded man holding his hands together in prayer is the same person as one of the Magi in the predella of the Pisa Polyptych, now in Berlin; furthermoree it has been suggested that it may be a portrait of Donatello, while others think that Donatello is the old man with a beard between St Peter and St John. According to another view this character is Giovanni, nicknamed Lo Scheggia, Masaccio's brother; while some believe that he is a self-portrait.

The removal of the altar has uncovered a section of the painting, at the far right, which is of fundamental importance in understanding the episode: this section includes the facade of a church, a bell tower, a stretch of blue sky and a column with a Corinthian capital behind St John. Also extremely important is the way Masaccio conceived the right-hand margin of the composition. To give the space a more regular geometrical construction, Masaccio has created "a complex play of optical effects and of perspective, as we can see in the lower section of the window jamb, where he has solved graphically an architectural problem, pictorially adjusting the faulty plumb-line of the edge of the jamb and the end wall; he makes the story, and therefore some of the background constructions, continue on the jamb."

The street, depicted in accurate perspective, is lined with typically mediaeval Florentine houses; in fact, the scene appears to be set near San Felice in Piazza, which had a commemorative column standing in front of it. But the splendid palace in rusticated stone looks like Palazzo Vecchio in the lower section (the high socle that we can still see on the facade along Via della Ninna, with the small built-in door), although it is much more similar to Palazzo Pitti in the upper part (the windows with their rusticated stone frames). And in some details, such as the exact geometrical scansion of the ashlars, it is an anticipation of later facades, first and foremost Palazzo Antinori.



Peter Healing the Sick with his Shadow, (detail) 1426-27, fresco, 230 x 162 cm, Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

Compared to the situation before the recent cleaning, this is the fresco that appears to have benefitted the most from the operation: the splendid colour tones have been rediscovered, as well as the lighting and the draughtsmanship, justifying the fact that this fresco has always been considered a work of unparalleled beauty. Vasari wrote: " ... a nude trembling because of the cold, amongst the other neophytes, executed with such fine relief and gentle manner, that it is highly praised and admired by all artists, ancient and modern."
Behind this nude, there is another neophyte still fully clothed, in a red and green iridescent cloak. The execution of this figure displays such skill and a sure hand, as well as such a novel pictorial technique, that it almost seems to herald the art of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.

The cold, flowing water of the river presses against the legs of the kneeling neophyte; the water that Peter pours from the bowl, with a gesture rather like that of a farmer sowing his seeds, splashes onto the man's head, drenching his hair and dribbling off in rivulets. Again, as it falls into the river, it splashes and forms little bubbles. These realistic details are not fully visible from the ground.

In the past several scholars have suggested that Masaccio must have been helped in this fresco by Masolino or Filippino Lippi (e.g. the head of St Peter, the landscape). However, after the restoration there are no doubts that the entire scene is by Masaccio.



The Baptism of the Neophytes
, 1426-27, fresco, 255 x 162 cm, Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence
Raising of the Son of Theophilus and St Peter Enthroned

Masaccio, Raising of the Son of Theophilus and St Peter Enthroned, 1426-27, fresco, 230 x 598 cm, Cappella Brancacci, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

This scene illustrates the miracle that Peter performed after he was released from prison, thanks to Paul's intercession. According to the account in the Golden Legend, once out of prison, Peter was taken to the tomb of the son of Theophilus, Prefect of Antioch. Here St Peter immediately resurrected the young man who had been dead for fourteen years. As a result, Theophilus, the entire population of Antioch and many others were converted to the faith; they built a magnificent church and in the centre of the church a chair for Peter, so that he could sit during his sermons and be heard and seen by all. Peter sat in the chair for seven years; then he went to Rome and for twenty-five years sat on the papal throne, the cathedra, in Rome.

Masaccio sets the scene in a contemporary church, with contemporary ecclesiastical figures (actually the Carmelite friars from Santa Maria del Carmine) and a congregation that includes a self-portrait and portraits of Masolino, Leon Battista Alberti, Brunelleschi.

Vasari, in his Life of Masaccio, mentions the work of Filippino, but later chroniclers refer to all the frescoes in the chapel as by Masaccio. In the 19th century it was once again pointed out the work of Filippino, distinguishing it from that of Masaccio; and since then critics have been in almost total agreement with his theory.

Scholars have suggested that Filippino was commissioned to complete the work that Masaccio had left unfinished or to repair sections which been damaged or destroyed because they depicted characters that were enemies of the Medici, like the Brancacci. There is no doubt that the Brancacci family was subjected to something similar to a "damnatio memoriae" after they had been declared enemies of the people and exiled.

Vasari had already identified a number of contemporary figures in those painted by Filippino: the resurrected youth was supposedly a portrait of the painter Francesco Granacci, at that time hardly more than a boy; "and also the knight Messer Tommaso Soderini, Piero Guicciardini, the father of Messer Francesco who wrote the Histories, Piero del Pugliese and the poet Luigi Pulci."

Studies of the possible portraits and of the iconography of the fresco confirmed the identifications made by Vasari and suggests others, presumably already planned in Masaccio's original sinopia, indicating that the fresco was intended to convey a political message: the Carmelite monk is a portrait of Cardinal Branda Castiglione; Theophilus is Gian Galeazzo Visconti; the man sitting at Theophilus's feet is Coluccio Salutati. And the four men standing at the far right are, starting from the right, Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Masaccio and Masolino.

Masolino da Panicale | Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

The chapel was recently superbly restored, with the removal of accumulated candle soot and layers of 18th century egg-based gum which had formed a mold. The frescoes have an intense radiance, making it possible to see very clearly the shifts in emphasis between Masolino's work and that of Masaccio (contrast the serenity of Masolino's Temptation of Adam and Eve with the excruciating agony of Masaccio's Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise).

The restoration also highlights Masaccio's mastery of chiaroscuro (light and shade), which, combined with his grasp of perspective, created much marvel and was consciously copied by the Florentine painters of the 15th century. His depiction of St. Peter healing the sick (left of the altar, lower register) showed beggars and cripples with revolutionary realism. The colors are so vivid today that it is hard to believe they were painted over five centuries ago.

Art in Tuscany | Masolino da Panicale
Masolino da Panicale | Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence


Filippo (Filippino) Lippi | Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

After the death of his father, Fra Filippo Lippi, when Filippino was 12, he entered the workshop of Sandro Botticelli and absorbed many aspects of his style. Art historians classify Filippino Lippi’s early pieces as reflective of Botticelli’s style. In the beginning, Lippi completed a fresco cycle at the Brancacci Chapel in Florence’s Santa Maria del Carmine. His efforts were a continuation of an unfinished project by Masolino and Masaccio.One of his most important assignments was the completion of the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence's Santa Maria del Carmine (c. 1485 – 87), left unfinished when Masaccio died.

Filippino Lippi, Disputation with Simon Magus and Crucifixion of Peter, 1481-82, Brancacci Chapel, Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Firenze

Filippino's first major project was the completion of the fresco cycle begun by Masaccio and Masolino in the Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, which had remained unfinished for more than half a century. Here Filippino adjusted his style to allow his contribution to seamlessly mesh with Masaccio's more monumental manner.

Art in Tuscany | Filippino Lippi | Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence


[1] In fifteenth-century Florence, many people believed themselves to be living in a new age. The term "Renaissance," already coined by the sixteenth century, describes the "rebirth" from the dark ages of intellectual decline that followed the brilliance of ancient civilization. In Italy, especially, the Renaissance was spurred by a revival of Greek and Roman learning. Works by classical authors, lost to the West for centuries, were rediscovered, and with them a new, humanistic outlook that placed man and human achievement at the center of all things.
Humanists in Florence styled their city a "new Athens." It was a fiercely mercantile state, struggling to remain independent and committed to republican virtues though controlled in practice by the powerful Medici family. No single factor can explain the unrivaled artistic flowering it experienced in the early 1400s, but the contributions of Brunelleschi in architecture, Donatello in sculpture, and Masaccio in painting changed Western art forever. Brunelleschi measured ancient buildings in Rome to understand the harmony of classical proportions and reintroduced such elements of classical architecture as the columned arcade. He applied engineering genius to design the huge dome for the cathedral of Florence and invented the system of one-point perspective (see below). Donatello, who accompanied Brunelleschi to Rome, carved some of the first large-scale, freestanding statues since antiquity. Like those ancient figures, his were sometimes nude. Masaccio (1401-1427?) was the first great painter of the Italian Renaissance, whose innovations in the use of scientific perspective inaugurated the modern era in painting. In Florence's Brancacci chapel, Masaccio painted a series of innovative frescoes that used light, coming strongly and consistently from a single direction, to model figures with shadow and give them robust three-dimensionality. He put into practice Brunelleschi's theories about how to project depth beyond a flat painted surface, employing the lines of painted architecture to create a convincing illusion of space.

Masaccio, originally named Tommaso Cassai, was born in San Giovanni Valdarno, near Florence, on December 21, 1401. He joined the painters guild in Florence in 1422. His remarkably individual style owed little to other painters, except possibly the great 14th-century master Giotto. He was more strongly influenced by the architect Brunelleschi and the sculptor Donatello, both of whom were his contemporaries in Florence. From Brunelleschi he acquired a knowledge of mathematical proportion that was crucial to his revival of the principles of scientific perspective. From Donatello he imbibed a knowledge of classical art that led him away from the prevailing Gothic style. He inaugurated a new naturalistic approach to painting that was concerned less with details and ornamentation than with simplicity and unity, less with flat surfaces than with the illusion of three dimensionality. Together with Brunelleschi and Donatello, he was a founder of the Renaissance.

Only four unquestionably attributable works of Masaccio survive, although various other paintings have been attributed in whole or in part to him. All of his works are religious in nature — altarpieces or church frescoes. The earliest, a panel, the Madonna with St. Anne (circa 1423, Uffizi, Florence), shows the influence of Donatello in its realistic flesh textures and solidly rounded forms. The fresco Trinity (c. 1425, Santa Maria Novella, Florence) used full perspective for the first time in Western art. His altarpiece for Santa Maria del Carmine, Pisa (1426), with its central panel of the Adoration of the Magi (now in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin), was a simple, unadorned version of a theme that was treated by other painters in a more decorative, ornamental manner. The fresco series for the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence (about 1427) illustrates another of his great innovations, the use of light to define the human body and its draperies. In these frescoes, rather than bathing his scenes in flat uniform light, he painted them as if they were illuminated from a single source of light (the actual chapel window), thus creating a play of light and shadow (chiaroscuro) that gave them a natural, realistic quality unknown in the art of his day. Of these six fresco scenes, Tribute Money and the Expulsion from Paradise are considered his masterpieces.

Masaccio's work exerted a strong influence on the course of later Florentine art and particularly on the work of Michelangelo. He died in Rome in 1427 or 1428.

[2] The chapel’s decoration was completed by Filippino Lippi, who between 1481 and 1485 worked on the lower register of the left wall, finishing the Raising of the son of Theophilus and St Peter enthroned which Masaccio had begun, and painting on his own St Peter in prison visited by St Paul on the adjacent pilaster. On the opposite wall he frescoed the Disputation of St Peter and St Paul with Simon Magus, and the Crucifixion of St Peter, and on the pilaster St Peter visited in prison. Between 1746 and 1748 the chapel was extensively redecorated: Vincenzo Meucci frescoed the ceiling with the Virgin consigning the Scapular to St Simon Stock, thus destroying Masolino’s Evangelists. At the same time the lunettes of the Shipwreck of the Apostles and the Calling of the Apostles were painted over.
Filippino Lippi was one of the most individual characters in fifteenth-century Florentine art. His mastery of pictorial representation earned him such fame that he was commissioned to complete Masaccio's fresco cycle in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence. Filippino Lippi was one of the most individual characters in fifteenth-century Florentine art. His mastery of pictorial representation earned him such fame that he was commissioned to complete Masaccio's fresco cycle in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence.
[3] A monumental altar in honor of Our Lady of the People was erected in the chapel, eradicating a crucifixion of Saint Peter below the Gothic window and parts of several other frescoes inside the window well. The marble altar effectively sealed off the edges of the frescoes, protecting them as if in a vacuum. The recent cleaning has revealed
much of the original plaster behind the altar, including two handsome portraits of an unidentified Renaissance man (p. 96) and woman, the man by Masaccio, the woman by Masolino, judging from the treatment of the faces.
On January 28, 1771, the chapel survived a fire that almost totally destroyed the rest of the church. (Heat, however, chromatically shifted some of the pigments. In the left section of The Tribute Money, close to the nave where the fire raged, Saint Peter's robe became a reddish color, not the golden-yellow originally painted at the right. Because of this cleaning, scholars have come to recognize the alterations in hue.) After the fire, the church was rebuilt around the old chapel, but the frescoes were not cleaned until 1904, eighty years before the final restauration.[Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 10 May 2011 | pdf]

Art in Tuscany | Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists | Masaccio, painter of Florence | Brancacci_chapel



uscany Travel Guide

Holiday accomodation in Tuscany | Podere Santa Pia | Artist and writer's residency


Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, garden view, April
View from Podere Santa Pia
on the coast and Corsica

Santa Maria del Carmine, Firenze

Villa Cahen

Vasari Corridor, Florence
Florence, Duomo
Podere Santa Pia, evening view on the Maremma from the western terrace



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