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(mäzät`chō), 1401–1428?, Italian painter. He is the foremost Italian painter of the Florentine Renaissance in the early 15th cent. Masaccio's original name was Tommaso Guidi. He was enrolled in the guild of St. Luke in 1424. Most of the creations of his brief lifetime have perished. Only four remain that are attributed to him without question: a polyptych (1426) painted for the Church of the Carmine, Pisa, many of its panels dispersed (now in London, Pisa, Naples, and Vienna) and some lost; the great Trinity fresco in Santa Maria Novella, Florence, which revolutionalized the understanding of perspective in painting; the Virgin with St. Anne (Uffizi), an early work in collaboration with the painter Masolino da PanicaleMasolino da Panicale
, 1383–c.1447, Florentine painter of the early Renaissance, whose real name was Tommaso di Cristoforo Fini. His versatile painting incorporated his feeling for decorative color with strong modeling and spatial organization.
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; and his masterpiece—a major monument in the history of art—the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, begun by Masolino and completed many years later by Filippino LippiLippi
, name of two celebrated Italian painters of the 15th cent., Fra Filippo Lippi and his son, Filippino Lippi. Fra Filippo Lippi

Fra Filippo Lippi, c.1406–1469, called Lippo Lippi, was one of the foremost Florentine painters of the early Renaissance.
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. Leaving the chapel unfinished, Masaccio went to Rome, where he died. Masaccio's independent works in the chapel include Expulsion from Eden, Peter and John Healing the Sick, Peter and John Distributing Alms, Peter Baptizing, The Raising of the King's Son, and The Tribute Money. These frescoes had a great impact on Florentine painting and were for generations the training school and inspiration of painters, among them Michelangelo and Raphael. Masaccio imparted a new sense of grandeur and austerity to the human figure. He used light to give dimension to the contour and achieved a classic sense of proportion. At the same time he created a diversity of character within a unified group and emphasized the range of emotional expression in heroic individuals. Masaccio is remembered primarily for his innovative use of perspective. His originality and imagination place his work in the tradition of Giotto and Michelangelo.


See studies by L. Berti (1967) and B. Cole (1980).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Tommaso di Giovanni di Simone Guidi). Born Dec. 21, 1401, in Castel San Giovanni, Tuscany; died in the autumn of 1428 in Rome. Italian painter.

Masaccio, the most important representative of quattrocento Florentine painting, went beyond Gothic traditions and imparted to his religious scenes humanistic concepts glorifying man. From 1422 he lived and worked in Florence; he also worked in Pisa and Rome. Beginning in 1424 (?) he frequently collaborated with Masolino de Panicale. The problem of establishing which works are by Masolino and which are by Masaccio is one of the most difficult in contemporary art studies.

Masaccio’s earliest works, such as Madonna and Child and Saint Anne (in collaboration with Masolino, c. 1424, Uffizi Gallery, Florence) and the polyptych for Santa Maria del Carmine in Pisa (1426, portions in the London National Gallery and other museums), are marked by energetic chiaroscuro modeling, a sculptural, three-dimensional treatment of figures, and the expressive reduction of form. Between 1425 and 1428, Masaccio painted frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel in the Carmine in Florence. The frescoes that have been indisputably attributed to him include The Expulsion From the Garden of Eden, Healing of a Cripple, St. Peter Healing the Sick With His Shadow, and St. Peter Distributing Alms. Masaccio placed his figures in a spatially extended setting. He emphasized corporeality through simplification of drapery and expressive, restrained use of color. Thus, he drew his inspiration from Giotto and departed from medieval artistic devices. In the fresco Trinity (c. 1426-27, Santa Maria Novella, Florence), Masaccio, evidently influenced by Brunelleschi’s studies in perspective, introduced one-point perspective to wall painting. This method imparts to a composition a particular majesty yet, at the same time, maintains human scale. The bold austerity of Masaccio’s style greatly influenced the art of the Renaissance, particularly the work of Piero della Francesca and Michelangelo.


Romanov, N. I. “Mazachcho.” Uch. zap. MGU, issue 126. Trudy kafedry obshchego iskusstvoznaniia, book 1. Moscow, 1947.
Mesnil, J. Masaccio et les debuts de la Renaissance. The Hague, 1927. Parronchi, A. Masaccio. Florence, 1966.
Berti, L. Masaccio. London-Philadelphia, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


original name Tommaso Guidi. 1401--28, Florentine painter. He was the first to apply to painting the laws of perspective discovered by Brunelleschi. His chief work is the frescoes in the Brancacci chapel in the church of Sta. Maria del Carmine, Florence
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