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date: 02 December 2022

Masaccio [Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Mone Cassai ]free

(b San Giovanni Val d’Arno, Dec 21, 1401; d Rome, before late June 1428).

Masaccio [Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Mone Cassai ]free

(b San Giovanni Val d’Arno, Dec 21, 1401; d Rome, before late June 1428).
  • Hellmut Wohl

Updated in this version

updated bibliography, 16 September 2010; updated and revised, 31 March 2000

Italian painter. He is regarded as the founder of Italian Renaissance painting, a view established within a decade of his death. Vasari correctly perceived that Masaccio ‘always followed as best he could in the footsteps of Brunelleschi and Donatello, even though he worked in a different medium’. Among the painters of his time, he was the first to organize his compositions according to the system of linear perspective developed by Brunelleschi. He thus transposed into painting the mathematically proportioned spaces and Classical architectural vocabulary of Brunelleschi’s buildings, as well as the realistic anatomical structure, heavy draperies and human grandeur of Donatello’s statues. He was also inspired by the paintings of Giotto and the art of antiquity. Masaccio’s revival of Giotto’s monumentality and concentration on volume was, like the writings by humanists on Florentine history, an affirmation of the greatness and enduring values of the Florentine past.

The features that distinguish Masaccio’s work most sharply from that of Giotto are his rendering of objects and figures as fully three-dimensional solids with gravitational weight; the measurability of his pictorial space; his depiction of light and shadow as if light were entering this space from a single source; and his portrayal of figures as conscious individuals who confront issues of profound moral moment and exist and act in real time as well as real space.

I. Life and work.

1. Training and early years, to c. 1426.

Masaccio’s father was the notary Ser Giovanni di Mone (Simone) Cassai (d 1406), after whose death his mother, Jacopa di Martinozzo di Dino (b 1381), married Tedesco di Feo, an apothecary in Masaccio’s native San Giovanni, which is situated between Florence and Arezzo in the upper Arno Valley. By the age of 16 Masaccio was referred to as a painter in Florence in a document of 14 October 1418. On 7 January 1422 he was inscribed in the Florentine painters’ guild, the Arte de’ Medici e Speziali, giving as his residence the parish of S Niccolò sopr’Arno. In 1424 his name appears in a register of the Compagnia di S Luca, the professional association of Florentine painters. He is documented in Florence twice in 1425: on 5 June he and another painter were paid for gilding processional candlesticks for the canons of Fiesole Cathedral, and on 18 July he was cited for a debt to a sausagemaker.

Writers from Vasari (1568) to van Marle (1928) believed that Masaccio’s master was Masolino, with whom he later often collaborated. This is hardly possible, however, since Masolino was not registered in the painters’ guild—and could therefore not have accepted apprentices—until 1423. Moreover, there are no links between the Late Gothic style of Masolino’s early works, such as his Madonna of Humility (1423; Bremen, Ksthalle), and the works now regarded as autograph paintings by Masaccio. On the contrary, during the years in which the two artists are believed to have worked together (c. 1424–8), Masolino’s style clearly shows the influence of the younger Masaccio.

(i) Lost early works.

According to 15th- and 16th-century sources, Masaccio painted a fresco of the Consecration of St Maria del Carmine (destr. 1598–1600)—Vasari referred to it as the Sagra—over the interior portal of the cloister abutting the church of St Maria del Carmine in Florence. The consecration of the church was celebrated on 9 April 1422, and it is probable that the artist executed or began the fresco in that year. Vasari described it as painted in greenish monochrome (di verde terra) and as showing the Piazza del Carmine with rows of five or six figures proportionally decreasing in perspective. Groups of these figures were copied in drawings by Michelangelo (Vienna, Albertina), by Michelangelo’s assistant Antonio Mini (Florence, Casa Buonarroti) and by four anonymous 16th-century Florentine draughtsmen (priv. col., see Berti, 1962/rev. 1967, fig.; Florence, Uffizi and Ugo Procacci priv. col., see Berti, 1988, p. 211; and Folkestone, Mus. & A.G.). Behind the religious procession, according to Vasari, came numerous Florentine citizens, among them Brunelleschi, Donatello, Masolino, Niccolò da Uzzano, Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, Bartolomeo Valori and Antonio Brancacci, whom Vasari wrongly believed to have commissioned the Brancacci Chapel frescoes (see §I, 2, (ii) below).

Vasari also reported that there were portraits by Masaccio of the same Florentines in the house of Simone Corsi; they may have been the prototypes for a group of five profile portraits of men wearing mazzocchi (turban-like hats) of the second quarter of the 15th century (Boston, MA, Isabella Stewart Gardner Mus.; Chambéry, Mus. Benoit-Molin; Norfolk, VA, Chrysler Mus.; two in Washington, DC, N.G.A.). Three of these (the panels in Boston and Chambéry, and one in Washington) have been stylistically associated with or attributed to Masaccio himself. Of these, the portrait in Boston, which was cleaned in 1980–81, is by far the most consistent with Masaccio’s style in breadth of design, solidity of form and distribution of light and shade. Nevertheless, none can confidently be given to him. Another lost work by Masaccio, the Virgin in a Tabernacle, is mentioned in a Florentine document dated 23 August 1426; it is not known for whom or where it was painted.

(ii) The S Giovenale Triptych.

It is widely believed that Masaccio’s earliest extant work is a gold-backed triptych (Regello, nr Florence, S Giovenale di Cascia) with the Virgin and Child and Two Angels flanked on the left by SS Bartholomew and Blaise and on the right by SS Giovenale and Anthony Abbot. Cleaning of the triptych, discovered in the late 1950s, revealed the date 23 April 1422 on the strip below its three panels. The attribution to Masaccio has in its favour the stark three-dimensionality and realism of the Virgin and the nude Child; the broad handling of the pink garments of the angels; the bold perspective construction of the Virgin’s throne; and the resemblances in physiognomic type and expression between the Virgin and Child in the triptych and those in the S Ambrogio Altarpiece (Florence, Uffizi; see §I, 1, (iii) below) and the central panel of the Pisa Altarpiece (London, N.G.; see §(v) below).

The attribution of the S Giovenale Triptych is nevertheless problematic. The pairs of saints are far less three-dimensional than the central Virgin and Child, suggesting that they may be by a different author or authors. But even the Virgin and Child presents difficulties. Whereas in the later S Ambrogio Altarpiece and in the Virgin and Child from the Pisa Altarpiece light enters the pictorial space as if from a single source, the vanishing-point for the perspective construction is at the level of the Virgin’s knees, and the spatial projection of the robes covering her legs is emphasized by the highlight on her left knee, in the S Giovenale Virgin and Child light strikes the figures from the left, front and right, the vanishing-point is at the Virgin’s chin, and the block of the Virgin’s legs placed against the steeply rising throne platform lacks convincing volumetric definition. It has been argued that at the age of 19 Masaccio had not yet attained the mastery of three-dimensional form that he displayed about two years later in the S Ambrogio Altarpiece, but this does not entirely resolve the problem.

(iii) The S Ambrogio Altarpiece.

The altarpiece of the Virgin and Child with St Anne (Florence, Uffizi) was attributed to Masaccio by Vasari (1568) when it was in the Florentine church of S Ambrogio. An early attempt to clean the painting, probably in the 18th century, caused serious losses that were subsequently repainted. Cleaning and restoration between 1935 and 1954 revealed areas that had survived in nearly their original condition, most notably the Child and the heads of the Virgin and St Anne. These show that the painting was probably executed by at least two hands. It is now widely believed that the throne and its platform, the Virgin and Child and perhaps the angel at the upper right are by Masaccio and that St Anne, the cloth of honour behind her and the other four angels were painted by Masolino. It could also be argued that all five angels, which exhibit stylistic inconsistencies between each other as well as in relation to the main figures, were executed by assistants.

In the picture’s present state the Virgin and Child are far more robust and sculpturally rounded than the figure of St Anne (the pose of the Child closely resembles that of an Etruscan bronze votive statue, 3rd century bc; Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Etrus.). They seem to be the first known reflections of Masaccio’s mature style. Even though this is consistent with the presumed division of labour, the view that Masaccio was the picture’s sole author has not been abandoned. The issue is complicated by disagreement concerning the precise role of each artist in the other projects—the Carnesecchi Triptych (see §I, 1, (iv) below), the Brancacci Chapel frescoes and the S Maria Maggiore Altarpiece (see §I, 2, (iii) below)—in which they are believed to have collaborated. Although it is not known from whom the S Ambrogio Altarpiece was commissioned, it is generally agreed that it was painted between 1423 and 1425, either before 2 November 1424, when Masolino received a payment for frescoes in the chapel of the Compagnia della Croce in S Stefano at Empoli, or between that date and 1 September 1425, when he went to Hungary. Because the Pietà (Empoli, Mus. Collegiata) painted by Masolino in Empoli seems to show the strong influence of Masaccio, the earlier date is the more likely (for the opposite view see Masolino, §1).

(iv) The Carnesecchi Triptych.

Vasari (1568) also attributed to Masaccio a triptych in the Carnesecchi Chapel of S Maria Maggiore, Florence, with the Virgin and Child, St Catherine and St Julian above a predella with the Nativity, a scene from the Life of St Catherine and a panel in which ‘St Julian kills his mother and father’. (In 1550 he had stated that Masaccio was responsible only for the predella.) However, the Virgin and Child (ex-S Maria di Novoli, nr Florence, stolen c. 1924) and the St Julian (Florence, Pal. Arcivescovile) are now thought to be by Masolino.

The scene from the Life of St Julian described by Vasari may well be identical with a severely damaged predella panel of the Legend of St Julian (Florence, Mus. Horne). Although the attribution to Masaccio is contested, it is supported by the restriction of the palette to reds, earth colours, grey and black; by the illumination of the figures from a single light source and by the three-dimensional conception and sculptural roundness of the figures. A predella panel of the Attempted Martyrdom of St Catherine in an altarpiece of 1437 by Andrea di Giusto (Florence, Accad.) may be a copy based on Masaccio’s scene from the Life of St Catherine. Masolino’s participation in the Carnesecchi Triptych probably ended with his departure for Hungary. If Masaccio painted the predella afterwards, it is likely that he did so before 19 February 1426, when he signed the contract for the Pisa Altarpiece.

(v) The Pisa Altarpiece.

The work was commissioned by the Pisan notary Giuliano di Colino degli Scarsi da San Giusto for a chapel in S Maria del Carmine, Pisa. Construction of the chapel by the mason Pippo di Gante began on 29 November 1425. The wooden, gilded framework of the altarpiece was begun on 25 November 1425 by the Sienese wood-carver Antonio di Biagio, whose last payment was recorded on the same day, 19 February 1426, as the first payment to Masaccio. This sequence of payments indicates that the form of the altarpiece (see figs 1–4 below), including the number, placement, size and shape of its compartments, was determined not by Masaccio but by Antonio di Biagio. Masaccio received his final payment on 26 December 1426, but he was recorded in Pisa again on 23 January 1427, when he was a witness to a notarial act.

The altarpiece was dispersed after S Maria del Carmine was remodelled in the late 16th century. Vasari (1568) described the polyptych as containing a Virgin and Child, with angels playing music at the Virgin’s feet, between figures of SS Peter, John the Baptist, Julian and Nicholas; a predella with scenes from the lives of these saints and an Adoration of the Magi in the middle; and above the main storey ‘many saints in additional panels’ surrounding a Crucifixion. The surviving panels of the altarpiece are the Virgin and Child Enthroned (London, N.G.); the predella panels of the Adoration of the Magi, the Crucifixion of St Peter, the Beheading of St John the Baptist, the Legend of St Julian and St Nicholas and the Poor Man’s Daughters (all Berlin, Gemäldegal.); four small figures (St Augustine, St Jerome and two Carmelite saints) from the pilasters at either side of the main storey (all Berlin, Gemäldegal.); the Crucifixion (Naples, Capodimonte); and half-length figures of St Paul (Pisa, Mus. N. S Matteo) and St Andrew (Los Angeles, CA, Getty Mus.) from among the panels on either side of the Crucifixion. The predella panels of the Legend of St Julian and St Nicholas and the Poor Man’s Daughters are thought to be by Andrea di Giusto, who on 24 December 1426 was paid for work on the Pisa Altarpiece as Masaccio’s apprentice (garzone).

Masaccio: Virgin and Child Enthroned, central panel from the Pisa Altarpiece, tempera on panel, 1355×730 mm, 1426 (London, National Gallery); Photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

In the centre of the Adoration of the Magi Masaccio included the standing profile portraits of the donor and his son. The son, swathed in a cloak, with one hand on his hip and the other folded across his chest, assumes the pose of a Classical statue of Sophocles (Roman marble copy of a 4th-century bc Greek original; Rome, Vatican, Mus. Gregoriano Profano). Although there is no evidence that Masaccio could have seen this statue or others of the same type, its arm postures could have been transmitted to him through Hellenistic terracotta figurines such as a Winged Genius (Munich, Staatl. Antikensamml., 6800).

Shearman (1966) proposed that the enthroned Virgin and Child surrounded by angels and the four standing saints in the main storey, instead of being separated by colonettes as was the custom in polyptychs of this date, were placed on three platforms receding into a continuous space, which was unified by a perspective construction consistent with that of the Virgin’s throne, the vanishing-point being just below Christ’s left foot. However, documentary, technical and stylistic evidence (see Gardner von Teuffel, 1977) conclusively shows that the main storey had the traditional form of compartments divided by colonettes. The question remains whether these colonettes were placed only between the Virgin and Child and the saints, as in polyptychs by Starnina or Piero della Francesca, or whether, as in altarpieces by Giovanni del Biondo or Giovanni di Paolo, they also formed separate compartments for each saint.

2..c 1427 and after.

On 29 July 1427, six months after he was last recorded in Pisa, Masaccio filed a tax declaration with the Florentine catasto office in which he stated that he, his mother and his younger brother, the painter Giovanni di Ser Giovanni, called Scheggia, were living in a house in Florence on the Via dei Servi; that he was renting ‘part of a workshop’ on the Piazza S Apollinare; that his cash assets were ‘approximately six soldi’; and that he owed various creditors about forty-five fiorini, including a debt of six fiorini to his apprentice Andrea di Giusto ‘for the balance of his salary’. A few weeks before Masaccio filed this tax declaration, Masolino had returned from Hungary. Documents (see Procacci, 1980) suggest that in August 1427 the two artists probably began the paintings on the walls of the Brancacci Chapel in S Maria del Carmine, Florence. But before that, more likely in the early part of 1427 than during the two preceding years, as the majority of writers have maintained, Masaccio painted the fresco of the Trinity in the third bay of the left aisle of S Maria Novella, Florence.

(i) The ‘Trinity’.

The work was first recorded in Memoriale di molte statue e picture di Florentia (1510) by Francesco Albertini, who called it ‘a Crucifixion, that is a Trinity with death at the foot’ (see fig.). Vasari (1568) described it as a Trinity with the Virgin and St John the Evangelist ‘contemplating the crucified Christ’ and ‘a barrel vault represented in perspective, and divided into squares full of bosses, which diminish and are foreshortened so well that the wall seems to be hollowed out’. The vanishing-point of the foreshortened barrel vault is at the top of the raised step behind the kneeling donors, roughly at the spectator’s eye-level, and the Virgin and St John (though not God the Father and Christ) are also rendered as if seen from below. Because the Classical forms and ornaments framing the space of the chapel or mausoleum (left ambiguous by Masaccio) recall the bays at either side of the Florentine Ospedale degli Innocenti (begun 1420) by Brunelleschi, who is credited with the invention of Renaissance linear perspective, it has been thought that Brunelleschi may have designed or collaborated with Masaccio on a cartoon for the painted architecture. There is, however, no documentary evidence that the two artists ever collaborated.

Masaccio: Trinity (c. 1425–7), fresco, S Maria Novella, Florence; Photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

The Trinity is thought to have been commissioned by a member of the Lenzi family. The tombstone of Domenico Lenzi and his family, dated 1426, was formerly in front of the fresco; Domenico’s son Benedetto was Prior of S Maria Novella from June 1426 until September 1428; and the kneeling donor at the left wears the red robes of the Florentine gonfaloniere di giustizia, an office held in August and September 1425 by Domenico’s cousin Lorenzo di Piero Lenzi (d 1442), who was buried in the church of Ognisanti, Florence.

At an unknown date after the completion of the fresco, an altar was placed in front of the image of ‘death’—a skeleton on a catafalque surmounted by the inscription: io fu g[i]a quel che voi s[i]ete equel chison[o] voi a[n]co[ra] sarete (‘I was once that which you are and that which I am you will also be’).

In 1570, when redesigning the church’s interior, Vasari covered the upper part of the fresco with one of his altarpieces; it was rediscovered during renovations c. 1860 and transferred to the entrance wall. The altar in front of the lower part was removed in 1951, and in 1952 the two parts of the fresco were reunited, cleaned and restored.

Masaccio’s fresco is unique in Italian painting in its representation of the Trinity within an illusionistic, Classically inspired interior framed by the motif of a triumphal arch instead of against a gilded or landscape background. It may thus have been the prototype for the design by Brunelleschi’s adopted son Buggiano for the Cardini Chapel in S Francesco at Pescia (1446), where a triumphal arch similar to Masaccio’s frames a barrel-vaulted interior containing a wooden crucifix.

(ii) The Brancacci Chapel frescoes.

Neither the commission nor the execution of the frescoes is documented. The Brancacci Chapel in S Maria del Carmine was founded by Pietro Brancacci (d 1366–7), and a bequest was left to it in his son Antonio’s will dated 16 August 1383. Since between 1422 and 1434 it was owned by Pietro’s nephew Felice Brancacci, it has been thought that he commissioned the fresco decorations. Felice’s first will (26 June 1422) transferred ownership of the chapel to his sons on his death, designated the chapel as his burial site and extended burial rights to other family members on condition of paying a tribute of 25 fiorini. His second will (5 September 1432) stipulated that if the decoration of the chapel were still unfinished at the time of his death, his heirs should be responsible for its completion. But in 1434 Felice went into exile in Siena, and the frescoes remained incomplete until the intervention 50 years later of Filippino Lippi (see Lippi family, §2).

According to Vasari, the earliest frescoes in the chapel were Masolino’s Four Evangelists in the vault and the Calling of SS Peter and Andrew, the Denial and Remorse of St Peter and Christ Walking on the Water in the lunettes (all destr. 1746–8). He also attributed to Masolino St Peter Preaching on the altar wall and St Peter Curing a Cripple and the Raising of Tabitha in the upper tier of the wall to the right of the altar. Masaccio, according to Vasari, then painted St Peter Baptizing Neophytes and St Peter Healing with his Shadow on the altar wall, the Tribute Money in the upper tier of the wall to the left of the altar, and below it the Raising of the Son of the Prefect of Antioch and St Peter Enthroned as Bishop of Antioch, which was left unfinished and completed by Lippi between c. 1481 and 1485. While Vasari’s attributions have stood the test of time, Pope-Hennessy (1990) showed that the landscape in Masaccio’s St Peter Baptizing Neophytes was painted by Masolino and that Masaccio was responsible for the landscapes in Masolino’s St Peter Preaching.

Masaccio: Tribute Money (c. 1427), fresco, Brancacci Chapel, S Maria del Carmine, Florence; Photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

In addition to the scenes described by Vasari, the decoration of the chapel includes the Distribution of the Goods of the Church and the Death of Ananias on the altar wall and the Expulsion from Paradise in the upper tier of the left entrance pier, both by Masaccio, and opposite it the Temptation of Adam and Eve by Masolino. The figure of Eve in the Expulsion assumes the arm and hand gestures of the Venus de’ Medici (Florence, Uffizi), a Roman copy of a Praxitilean original, first recorded in the Villa Medici in Rome in 1638. Masaccio may have known the statue of a similar type that the humanist Benvenuto da Imola saw in a Florentine house in the second half of the 14th century, or he may have derived the gestures from the earlier antique adaptation in the standing, nude figure of Prudence at the base of Giovanni Pisano’s pulpit (1302–10) in Pisa Cathedral.

Masaccio: Expulsion from Paradise (c. 1427, post-restoration), fresco, Brancacci Chapel, S Maria del Carmine, Florence; photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY

The chronology of the Brancacci Chapel is problematic. Those writers who follow Vasari believe that Masolino painted all his sections of the chapel in a single campaign between November 1424 and September 1425, working alone on the vault and lunettes and in tandem with Masaccio on the walls (for this view see Masolino, §2). However, the documentary evidence for the two artists’ movements and activities can also be interpreted to suggest that there were two campaigns: one during which Masolino decorated the vault and the lunettes (before Sept 1425), and another in which he and Masaccio jointly executed their frescoes on the walls when he had returned from Hungary (some time after 7 July 1427); the wall frescoes would then have been left unfinished when Masolino and Masaccio went to Rome. (Masolino is thought to have gone in spring 1428, Masaccio after 11 May of that year.) It has been objected that the period from perhaps August 1427 to May 1428 would not have been enough time for the two artists to execute nine frescoes. But even allowing for the suspension of work during winter, when it was too cold to paint on wet plaster, there would have been ample time. The total number of giornate (work sessions corresponding to sections of plaster discernible by their rims) is 131, and given the area of Masaccio’s contribution (roughly twice that of Masolino’s), the frescoes could have been painted in less than a hundred sessions.

The frescoes were restored first c. 1565, again in 1782 after they were severely damaged by a fire in the church in 1771 and a third time by Filippo Fiscali in 1902–4. A fourth conservation campaign (1982–8) brought to light two heads in circular frames between bands of acanthus ornament on the embrasures of the window over the altar, and a small fragment of a landscape and the back of a male figure on the wall above the altar. The left embrasure with the head of a woman has been given to Masolino, and the fragment above the altar and the right embrasure with the head of a man to Masaccio; but there is no consensus over these attributions. Two fragmentary sinopie were discovered on the left and right sides of the lunette over the altar wall, although their subjects do not correspond to the Denial of St Peter painted there, according to Vasari, by Masolino. All earlier restorations as well as a viscous coat that darkened the colours of the wall paintings were removed (1986–8), revealing previously obscured passages and the original clear, bright colours.

The subjects of the wall paintings appear to have been taken mainly from the Acts of the Apostles and the chapters on the three feasts of St Peter in the Golden Legend by Jacopo da Voragine. The account in the Golden Legend of the feast of the Chairing of Peter, for example, was probably the source for the frescoes on the lower tier of the left wall, from St Peter Imprisoned to his Enthronement as Bishop of Antioch. Debold von Kritter (1975) suggested that the combination of the Temptation and the Expulsion on the entrance piers with the cycle of scenes from the Life of St Peter in the interior of the chapel corresponds to comparisons of Peter with Adam and Eve in theological texts by Nicholas of Lyra and Maximus of Turin, according to which the original sinners Adam and Eve have their counterpart in St Peter, the redeemed sinner who through his own example and the institutions of the Church becomes the gatekeeper of paradise and leads mankind to redemption. Interpretations of the wall paintings as reflections of contemporary events are all based on contradictory and inconclusive evidence.

The placement of the Apostles in the Tribute Money in a semicircular arc with Christ in the middle, which imparts to the figures of the central group unprecedented spatial unity and psychological concentration, has been convincingly related (Meiss, 1963) to Brunelleschi’s use of the circular plan in the dome of the Old Sacristy of S Lorenzo (begun 1421), Florence, to symbolize in mathematical form the Christian conception of God’s grace as radiating from the centre of the perfect form of the circle.

Longhi (1940) recognized that the head of Christ, which covers the fresco’s vanishing-point and was the last area to be plastered and painted, is in the style of Masolino, a view supported by the most recent cleaning of the fresco; he also suggested that the perspective and lighting of the architectural background in the Raising of Tabitha, which was painted in a single session, are characteristic of Masaccio, but this proposal has been questioned since the cleaning. Watkins (1973) presented technical evidence that the two artists could have worked on the frescoes of the second tier at the same time.

(iii) The S Maria Maggiore Altarpiece.

The work, now dispersed, was a double-sided triptych, with the Foundation of S Maria Maggiore (Naples, Capodimonte), flanked by SS Jerome and John the Baptist (London, N.G.) and An Evangelist and St Martin of Tours (Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.); and on the other side the Assumption of the Virgin (Naples, Capodimonte) flanked by A Pope and St Matthias (London, N.G.) and SS Peter and Paul (Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.). Vasari saw the altarpiece in a small chapel near the sacristy of the Roman church of S Maria Maggiore and attributed the central panel of the Virgin of the Snow (destr.) to Masaccio. The altarpiece was apparently commissioned by Pope Martin V (reg 1417–31), probably for the main altar of the church rather than for the small chapel where it was seen by Vasari. The features of St Martin of Tours are believed to be those of the Pope, and a column, the emblem of the Colonna family to which the Pope belonged (see Colonna family, §1), appears six times in the border of St Martin’s vestment and in the form of the staff held by St John the Baptist.

Since its rediscovery in 1951, the panel with SS Jerome and John the Baptist has been regarded, with some dissent (see Davies, 1961), as the only one of the triptych’s six known compartments that was painted, though not completely finished, by Masaccio. The other five are attributed to Masolino. However, technical examination of the two panels in Philadelphia has revealed that they were probably designed by Masaccio, who seems to have painted the hands and feet of SS Peter and Paul. Masolino apparently painted at least the faces of the Evangelist and of St Martin of Tours, after which the programme of the altarpiece and the design of the two panels were altered. The SS Jerome and John the Baptist—with its unbroken, regular contours, meticulous rendering of detail and luminous, evenly textured surfaces—is the most refined of Masaccio’s paintings. It has been thought an early work, on the grounds that it lacks the formal breadth and robustness of Masaccio’s other paintings; this assumption is difficult to sustain, however, considering both the limited knowledge of Masaccio’s stylistic evolution and the clear colours and precise execution revealed by the cleaning of the Brancacci Chapel frescoes. Moreover, documentary evidence (Procacci, 1953 and 1980) strongly suggests that the S Maria Maggiore Altarpiece was begun only after Masaccio and Masolino arrived in Rome, probably in spring 1428. The decorative elegance of Masaccio’s panel, rather than indicating an early date, was more likely a response to the aesthetic preferences of the papal court and of Martin V, who in 1427 had commissioned Gentile da Fabriano, the most refined painter of his generation, to fresco the nave (destr.) of S Giovanni in Laterano. Masaccio’s work on the altarpiece was cut short by his death, news of which reached Florence before the end of June 1428, and it was finished by Masolino.

3. Lost undated works.

Two paintings are listed in the inventory of the Medici collection compiled in 1492 after the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent: a desco da parto with a ‘skirmish’ (una schermaglia) and a panel with SS Peter and Paul. Albertini (1510) listed a fresco by Masaccio of the Last Judgement in the second cloister of S Maria degli Angeli, Florence, which may be reflected in the nude figures of a Last Judgement by Giovanni di Paolo (Siena, Pin. N.). Vasari, following earlier sources, attributed to Masaccio a fresco of St Paul (destr. 1675–83) on a pier next to the Serragli Chapel in S Maria del Carmine, and he praised the figure’s forceful expression and foreshortening from below and identified it as a portrait of Bartolo di Angiolino Angiolini.

Other lost works of Masaccio recorded by Vasari are a fresco in the Badia, Florence, of St Ivo of Brittany (destr. 1627) ‘in a niche with his feet foreshortened, seen from below’, beneath whom there were ‘widows, children and poor assisted by him in their want’; a panel with a male and female nude in the Palazzo Rucellai; and a painting of Christ Exorcizing a Possessed Man in the house of Ridolfo Ghirlandaio with ‘buildings so drawn in perspective that the interior and exterior are represented at the same time’. Vasari’s description of the latter fits the architectural setting of Francesco d’Antonio’s Christ and the Apostles in a Temple (Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.), which may be a copy or reflection of Masaccio’s lost picture. Vasari also noted an Annunciation ‘painted in tempera’ on the rood screen of S Niccolò sopr’Arno, Florence, with ‘a building filled with columns drawn in perspective’, which he believed to be by Masaccio. The painting is thought to have been the prototype for compositions of the Annunciation with symmetrically arranged perspective colonnades by Fra Angelico (Florence, Mus. S Marco), Domenico Veneziano (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam) and Piero della Francesca (Perugia, G.N. Umbria). (It has been identified by some as a late work by Masolino, Washington, DC, N.G.A., although this is not generally accepted.)

4. Disputed attributions.

Among the works formerly attributed to Masaccio since Crowe and Cavalcaselle (1864) is a panel with the Agony in the Garden and the Communion of St Jerome (Altenburg, Staatl. Lindenau-Mus.), which seems to be by an artist who attempted to imitate but did not fully understand Masaccio’s style. A desco da parto (Berlin, Gemäldegal.) showing the interior of a convent (not, as is generally claimed, a palace, for the columns of the courtyard rest on a low wall or stylobate, as is usual in convents but not in palaces) is a not wholly successful imitation of Masaccio’s style, probably of the late 1430s; it has a birth scene on one side and a courtyard in perspective with figures of a herald, men bearing gifts, nuns and fashionable ladies on the other. On the back a naked boy who resembles the Child in the S Giovenale Triptych kneels on a meadow of flowers and instructs a sharp-toothed dog. The same anonymous artist may have been responsible for a small panel of the Virgin and Child (Florence, Pal. Vecchio), although in the picture’s present restored state an attribution seems hazardous. On its back is the coat of arms of Antonio Casini (d Florence, 1439), a native of Siena who was made a cardinal on 24 May 1426. The panel was probably painted towards the end of the Cardinal’s life. An impressive damaged and restored fresco of Christ on the Cross (Florence, S Maria del Carmine) that came to light after the Florentine flood of 1966 would seem to be the work of another Florentine follower of Masaccio active in the 1430s. A crudely painted roundel of God the Father (London, N.G.) is by a follower or imitator of Masaccio of uncertain date, while a fresco of the Virgin and Child with SS Michael and John the Baptist (Montemarciano, Oratory) has been recognized since the 1950s as a work of c. 1425–30 by Francesco d’Antonio. The fresco decoration of the chapel of St Catherine in S Clemente, Rome, given to Masaccio by Vasari, has been attributed to Masolino since the late 19th century, and, although Longhi (1940) proposed that Masaccio may have been responsible for the riders in the middle zone of the Crucifixion, there is no compelling stylistic or technical evidence of this, either in the fresco itself or in the sinopia discovered when the work was detached in the 1950s. A Madonna of Humility (Washington, DC, N.G.A.) is difficult to attribute because of its current repainted state, although photographs taken in 1929–30 before it was restored suggest that it may well have been painted by Masaccio.

II. Working methods and technique.

In fresco as well as in tempera Masaccio followed the methods described in Cennino Cennini’s Libro dell’arte, although for the underpainting of flesh he employed a greyish tone rather than the greenish verdaccio recommended by Cennini. In contrast to the rich colouring of Late Gothic painting, Masaccio’s palette is restricted and repetitive. In his figures it is dominated by tonalities of blue and red, generally within close range of a middle value, with a preference for vermilion, and in his architectural and landscape backgrounds by warmer or cooler greys. The chromatic range of the Virgin and Child from the Pisa Altarpiece and the Trinity at S Maria Novella is composed entirely of gradations of these three colours. In the three predella panels from the Pisa Altarpiece this scheme of colours is augmented sparingly by a golden orange-yellow and an occasional black, and in the Brancacci Chapel frescoes by orange-yellows and muted greens.

The Trinity and the frescoes by Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel were very largely executed in buon fresco on sections of wet plaster, with additions in fresco a secco (after the plaster had dried) for the gilded haloes and, in the Brancacci Chapel, for the foliage of the trees. Whether Masaccio used sinopie is not known. The intonaco of the wall frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel has never been detached, and the arriccio beneath the Trinity was destroyed when it was detached c. 1860. Vestiges on the surface of the Tribute Money of vertical plumb lines snapped into the plaster by cords in order to establish the axis of the standing figures—the earliest known example of what later became common studio practice—and of incised lines to mark the straight edges of the architecture have been taken as indications that Masaccio there worked directly on the wall without a cartoon.

Attempts to reconstruct Masaccio’s method of painting the foreshortened architecture in the Trinity have reached two different conclusions. One is that he first drew a modular ground-plan of the coffered vault, as if he were designing a Brunelleschian building, and then projected this ground-plan in perspective on a squared cartoon from which, when enlarged to full scale, the foreshortened design was transferred to the painting. The other, more likely solution is that by means of a ruler and compass and relatively simple operations of Euclidean geometry he drew the foreshortened forms of the architecture directly on a cartoon, enlarging sections of it for transfer to the wall for each work session and controlling the design of the whole by means of a plumb line and other snapped cords, traces of which remain on the surface of the intonaco. Evidence of Masaccio’s use of cartoons in the Trinity is restricted to spolveri (dusted pounce marks) in the entablature of the architecture. An incised grid of squares and rectangles across the face of the Virgin and incised guidelines for foreshortened architectural ornaments, the rear arch and the curved bands of the vault suggest that Masaccio executed at least parts of the fresco directly on the wall, as he also may have done in the Brancacci Chapel.

III. Critical reception and posthumous reputation.

In the dedicatory letter to Brunelleschi at the beginning of Della pittura (1436), Leon Battista Alberti declared that when he returned to Florence from exile (c. 1429) he perceived in Brunelleschi, Donatello, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Luca della Robbia and Masaccio ‘a genius for every laudable enterprise in no way inferior to any of the ancients who gained fame in these arts’. It is widely thought that Alberti had Masaccio’s compositions in mind when in the first two books of Della pittura he recommended to painters how pictures should be designed and executed in order to command the same admiration as Greek and Roman authors bestowed on paintings of antiquity.

The first Renaissance writer to attempt to characterize Masaccios’s style was the Florentine humanist Cristoforo Landino. In his commentary (1481) on Dante’s Divine Comedy, Landino praised Masaccio for his imitation of the true appearance of objects in nature (imitazione del vero), the roundness (rilievo) he gave to his figures, the harmony and coherence of his compositions, his dedication to the clarity of three-dimensional form at the cost of ornamental grace (puro senz’ornato), his mastery of perspective and his assurance in dealing with technical problems (facilità). In its concise definition of the essential components of Masaccio’s style, Landino’s text has not been surpassed.

Masaccio’s work had an immediate and profound impact on his contemporaries. Not only his collaborator Masolino and his apprentice Andrea di Giusto, but also Gentile da Fabriano and minor Florentine masters, such as Bicci di Lorenzo, Francesco d’Antonio, Giovanni del Ponte, Giovanni Toscani and Paolo Schiavo, accommodated the decorative Giottesque or Late Gothic traditions in which they were trained to the sober, sculptural realism of Masaccio. The principal artists to assimilate Masaccio’s innovations were Fra Angelico, Fra Filippo Lippi and Andrea Castagno—who are reported by Vasari to have studied the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel—as well as Paolo Uccello, Domenico Veneziano, Piero della Francesca and Andrea Mantegna. But it was Leonardo da Vinci who first fully understood and incorporated into his own style Masaccio’s depiction of objects under conditions of light and shade as they are observed in nature. In one of his notebooks, Leonardo wrote that Masaccio ‘showed by his perfect works how those who take for their standard anyone but nature, mistress of masters, were labouring in vain’.

In his Vite Vasari divided the history of Italian painting into three periods and designated Giotto, Masaccio and Leonardo their founders. By then nature was no longer considered painting’s sole mistress. The works of Classical antiquity and of Raphael and Michelangelo were thought to rival and surpass nature as the most worthy models, for they were perceived as rectifying nature’s imperfections. In Vasari’s judgement, the only earlier Italian painter who could still be imitated with profit was Masaccio, because it was he who ‘paved the way for the good style of our own day’, having understood, among other things, ‘that all figures which do not stand with their feet flat and foreshortened, but are on the tips of toes, are destitute of all excellence in style (maniera) in essentials, and show an utter ignorance of foreshortening’. Vasari reported that the Brancacci Chapel became the school of Florentine painters, and he named 25, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, who studied and copied its wall paintings. The only such copies to have survived are drawings by Michelangelo of St Peter Paying the Tax Collector (Munich, Staatl. Graph. Samml.) from the Tribute Money and of Adam and Eve (Paris, Louvre) from the Expulsion, although the attribution is not unanimously accepted.

Vasari placed Raphael at the summit of the ‘good style’ towards which Masaccio had paved the way. This view, that Masaccio laid the groundwork for what Raphael perfected and that he might have achieved what Raphael did had he been born later or lived longer, prevailed until the end of the 19th century. Joshua Reynolds wrote in his 12th Discourse (1784) that Raphael

had carefully studied the work of Masaccio; … [whose] manner was dry and hard, his compositions formal, and not enough diversified according to the custom of painters in that early period, yet his works possess that grandeur and simplicity which accompany, and even sometimes proceed from, regularity and hardness of manner.

In 1830 Eugène Delacroix wrote in the Revue de Paris that, although Masaccio ‘wrought by himself the greatest revolution painting ever experienced’, posterity has hidden him ‘behind the rays with which it had surrounded Raphael’. Yet ‘who can say’, Delacroix continued, ‘what new perfections he might have discovered in later years; and who can affirm that he might not have put even Raphael in the shade’.

Bernard Berenson (1896) finally removed Masaccio from the shadow of Raphael, perceiving in him an artist unrivalled among Italian painters in power of three-dimensional form and in gravity, dignity and resoluteness of expression. Masaccio, according to Berenson, ‘gave Florentine painting the direction it pursued to the end’ and surpassed all other painters of his age. Although later painters were capable of ‘greater science, greater craft, and greater perfection of detail’, there was never a ‘greater reality’ or ‘greater significance’ than in the works of Masaccio.

Brockhaus (1929–32) was the first scholar who sought to place these works in the context of 15th-century political and social currents. During Masaccio’s lifetime Florence was engaged in a series of wars with Milan and other Italian states; the city-state succeeded against great odds in maintaining its independence and republican form of government. Humanist writers, comparing Florence to the Roman republic of antiquity, celebrated the city for its defence of civic freedom and human dignity. Hartt (1964) suggested that the figures in Masaccio’s paintings were classically inspired embodiments of these ideals. Masaccio’s sober, realistic, unornamented style—in contrast to the ornate, courtly style of Gentile da Fabriano—was interpreted by Antal (1947) as an affirmation of the ascendancy in early 15th-century Florence of a newly influential upper middle-class bourgeoisie. Because these interpretations deal with style, they have the merit of addressing decisions and choices controlled by the artist. The situation is different in the case of attempts to discover in Masaccio’s works iconographic allusions to contemporary social or political issues and events, since the determination of subjects and iconographic programmes was in the hands not of the artist but of the patron.


Early sources and documents
  • L. B. Alberti: De pictura (MS. 1435); It. trans. as Della pittura (MS. 1436); ed. L. Mallè (Florence, 1950), p. 54; Eng. trans. by J. Spencer as On Painting (London, 1956), p. 39
  • C. Landino: Commento di Cristoforo Landino fiorentino sopra la Commedia di Dante (Florence, 1481); ed. R. Cardini: Scritti critici e teorici, i (Rome, 1974), p. 124
  • G. Santi: La vita e le geste di Federico da Montefeltro duca d’Urbino (MS. c. 1492); ed. L. Michelini Tocci (Rome, 1985), ii, p. 674
  • F. Albertini: Memoriale di molte statue e picture di Florentia (Florence, 1510)
  • G. Santi: Il Codice Magliabechiano (MS. c. 1540); ed. C. Frey (Berlin, 1892), pp. 81–2, 315–19; ed. C. Fabriszy as Il Codice dell’anonimo Gaddiano (Florence, 1893)
  • A. Billi: Il libro di Antonio Billi (MS. c. 1550); ed. C. Frey (Berlin, 1892), pp. 16–17
  • G. Vasari: Vite (1550, rev. 2/1568); ed. G. Milanesi (1878–85), ii, pp. 305–25
  • J. Reynolds: Discourses on Art (London, 1778); ed. R. R. Wark (San Marino, CA, 1959/R New Haven and London, 1975), pp. 216–21
  • E. Delacroix: Oeuvres littéraires; ed. E. Faure (Paris, 1923), ii, pp. 12–13
  • U. Procacci: ‘Documenti e ricerche sopra Masaccio e la sua famiglia’, Rivista d’arte, 14 (1932), pp. 489–503; xvii (1935), pp. 91–111
  • U. Procacci: ‘Sulla cronologia delle opere di Masaccio e di Masolino tra il 1425 e il 1428’, Rivista d’arte, 28 (1953), pp. 3–55
  • P. Murray: An Index of Attributions before Vasari (Florence, 1959), pp. 110–12
  • U. Procacci: ‘Nuove testimonianze su Masaccio’, Commentari, 27 (1976), pp. 223–37
  • J. Beck: Masaccio, the Documents (Locust Valley, NY, 1978)
  • U. Procacci: ‘Masaccio e la sua famiglia negli antichi documenti’, Stor. Valdarno, 2 (1981), pp. 553–9
  • J. A. Crowe and G. B. Cavalcaselle: A New History of Painting in Italy, 1 (London, 1864), pp. 519–50
  • B. Berenson: The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance (London, 1896), pp. 27–31
  • M. Dvořák: Geschichte der italienischen Kunst im Zeitalter der Renaissance (Munich, 1927), pp. 47–62
  • R. van Marle: Italian Schools, 10 (1928), pp. 251–307
  • F. Antal: Florentine Painting and its Social Background (London, 1947/R 1986), pp. 305–28
  • U. Baldini: ‘Masaccio’, Mostra di quattro maestri del primo rinascimento (exh. cat., ed. M. Salmi; Florence, Pal. Strozzi, 1954), pp. 3–17
  • J. White: The Birth and Rebirth of Pictorial Space (London, 1957, rev. Cambridge, 3/1987), pp. 135–41
  • E. Borsook: The Mural Painters of Tuscany (Oxford, 1960, rev. 2/1980), pp. 58–67
  • F. Hartt: ‘Art and Freedom in Quattrocento Florence’, Essays in Memory of Karl Lehmann (New York, 1964), pp. 114–31
  • B. Cole: Masaccio and the Art of the Early Renaissance (Bloomington, 1980)
  • P. Hills: The Light of Early Italian Painting (New Haven, 1987), pp. 129–45
  • L. Berti and A. Paolucci: L’età di Masaccio: Il primo Quattrocento a Firenze (Milan, 1990)
  • Masaccio e le origini del Rinascimento (exh. cat., ed. L. Bellosi; San Giovanni Valdarno, Casa Masaccio, 2002)
  • A. Schmarsow: Masaccio-Studien, 2 vols (Kassel, 1895–99)
  • E. Somaré: Masaccio (Milan, 1924)
  • O. H. Giglioli: Masaccio (Bergamo, 1929)
  • M. Salmi: Masaccio (Rome, 1932, rev. Milan, 2/1948)
  • M. Pittaluga: Masaccio (Florence, 1935)
  • K. Steinbart: Masaccio (Vienna, 1948)
  • U. Procacci: Tutta la pittura di Masaccio (Milan, 1951, rev. 2/1952)
  • L. Berti: Masaccio (Milan, 1962, rev. University Park, PA, 2/1967)
  • A. Parronchi: Masaccio, Diamanti A. (Florence, 1966)
  • P. Volponi and L. Berti: L’opera completa di Masaccio, Class. A. (Milan, 1966)
  • C. Del Bravo: Masaccio (Florence, 1969)
  • U. Procacci: Masaccio (Florence, 1980)
  • L. Berti: Masaccio (Florence, 1988) [with photos of the restored frescoes of the Brancacci Chapel]
  • J. T. Spike: Masaccio (New York and Milan, 1995)
  • S. Borsi: Masaccio (Florence, 1996)
  • R. Fremantle : Masaccio (New York, 1998)
  • U. Baldini : Masaccio (Milan, 2001)
The S Giovenale triptych
  • L. Berti: ‘Masaccio 1422’, Commentari, 12 (1961), pp. 84–107
  • L. Berti: ‘Masaccio a S Giovenale di Cascia’, Acropoli, 2 (1962), pp. 149–65
  • J. Stubblebine and others: ‘Early Masaccio: A Hypothetical Lost Madonna and a Disattribution’, Art Bulletin, 62 (1980), pp. 217–25
  • Masaccio e l’Angelico: Due capolavori della diocesi di Fiesole (exh. cat., ed. E. Micheletti and A. Maetzke; Fiesole, Pal. Mangani, 1984), pp. 14–29
  • A.-S. Göing: Masaccio?: Die Zuschreibung des Triptychons von San Giovenale (Hildesheim and New York, 1996)
  • Orientalismi e iconografia nel trittico di San Giovenale di Masaccio. Atti del convegno: Reggello, 1998 (Milan, 2001)
  • C. Caneva, ed.: Masaccio: Il trittico di San Giovenale e il primo ’400 fiorentino (Milan, 2001)
  • R. Bellucci and C. Frosinini: ‘The San Giovenale Altarpiece’, The Panel Paintings of Masolino and Masaccio: The Role of Technique, ed. C. B. Strehlke and C. Frosinini (Milan, 2002), pp. 69–79
  • C. Frosinini : ‘Il “Trittico di San Giovenale” e il “Polittico di Pisa” di Masaccio: La tecnica del mito’, Art et dossier, 184 (2002), pp. 42–7
The Pisa altarpiece
  • W. Suida: ‘L’altare di Masaccio, già nel Carmine a Pisa’, L’Arte, 9 (1906), pp. 125–7
  • M. Davies: The Earlier Italian Schools, London, N.G. cat. (London, 1951, rev. 2/1961/R 1986), pp. 269–72
  • E. Borsook: ‘A Note on Masaccio in Pisa’, Burlington Magazine, 133 (1961), pp. 212–15
  • J. Shearman: ‘Masaccio’s Pisa Altarpiece: An Alternative Reconstruction’, Burlington Magazine, 108 (1966), pp. 449–55
  • C. Gardner von Teuffel: ‘Masaccio and the Pisa Altarpiece: A New Approach’, Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, 19 (1977), pp. 23–68
  • J. Dunkerton and D. Gordon: ‘The Pisa Altarpiece’, The Panel Paintings of Masolino and Masaccio: The Role of Technique, ed. C. B. Strehlke and C. Frosinini (Milan, 2002), pp. 89–109
  • E. W. Rowlands : Masaccio: Saint Andrew and the Pisa Altarpiece (Los Angeles, 2003)
The ‘Trinity’
  • G. J. Kern: ‘Das Dreifaltigkeitsfresko von S Maria Novella: Eine perspektivisch architekturgeschichtliche Studie’, Jahrbuch der preussischen Kunstsammlungen [prev. pubd as Jb. Kön.-Preuss. Kstsamml.], 24 (1913), pp. 36–58
  • C. de Tolnay: ‘Renaissance d’une fresque’, L’Oeil, 37 (1958), pp. 37–41
  • U. Schlegel: ‘Observations on Masaccio’s Trinity Fresco in Santa Maria Novella’, Art Bulletin, 14 (1963), pp. 19–33
  • J. Coolidge: ‘Further Observations on Masaccio’s Trinity’, Art Bulletin, 48 (1966), pp. 382–4
  • O. von Simson: ‘Über die Bedeutung von Masaccios Trinitätsfresko in S Maria Novella’, Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, 8 (1966), pp. 119–59
  • H. W. Janson: ‘Ground Plan and Elevation in Masaccio’s Trinity Fresco’, Essays in the History of Art Presented to Rudolf Wittkower (London, 1967), pp. 83–8
  • J. Polzer: ‘The Anatomy of Masaccio’s Holy Trinity’, Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, 13 (1971), pp. 18–59
  • C. Dempsey: ‘Masaccio’s Trinity: Altarpiece or Tomb’, Art Bulletin, 54 (1972), pp. 279–81
  • E. Hertlein: Masaccios ‘Trinität’ (Florence, 1979)
  • R. Goffen: ‘Masaccio’s Trinity and the Letter to the Hebrews’, Memorie Domenicane, 11 (1980), pp. 489–504
  • R. Liebermann: ‘Brunelleschi and Masaccio in Santa Maria Novella’, Memorie Domenicane, 12 (1981), pp. 127–39
  • W. Kemp: ‘Masaccios Trinità im Kontext’, Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, 21 (1986), pp. 45–72
  • A. Perrig: ‘Masaccios Trinità und der Sinn der Zentralperspektive’, Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, 21 (1986), pp. 11–43
  • J. A. Aiken: ‘The Perspective Construction of Masaccio’s Trinity Fresco and Medieval Astronomical Graphics’, Artibus et historiae, 16/31 (1995), pp. 171–87, 209
  • R. Goffen : Masaccio’s Trinity (Cambridge and New York, 1998)
  • C. Danti : La Trinità di Masaccio: Il restauro dell’anno Duemila (Florence, 2002)
  • T. Verdon : ‘Masaccio’s “Trinity”: Theological, Social and Civic Meanings’, The Cambridge Companion to Masaccio (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 158–76
  • R. M. Comanducci : ‘“L’altare nostro de la Trinità”: Masaccio’s Trinity and the Berti Family’, Burlington Magazine, 145 (2003), pp. 14–21
  • W. E. Wallace : ‘Masaccio’s Trinity’, Source, 25/2 (2006), pp. 1–4
  • E. Marino : La Trinità di Masaccio: Saggio storico ed interpretativo degli schemi stilistici, iconografici ed iconoteologici (Florence, 2008)
The Brancacci Chapel frescoes
  • J. Mesnil: ‘Per la storia della cappella Brancacci’, Rivista d’arte, 10 (1912), pp. 34–40
  • H. Brockhaus: ‘Die Brancacci-Kapelle in Florenz’, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz, 3 (1929–32), pp. 160–82
  • P. Meller: ‘La cappella Brancacci: Problemi rittrattistici e iconografici’, Acropoli, 1 (1960–61), pp. 186–227, 273–312
  • C. de Tolnay: ‘Note sur l’iconographie des fresques de la Chapelle Brancacci’, Arte lombarda, 10 (1965), pp. 69–74
  • H. von Einem: Masaccios Zinsgroschen (Cologne, 1967)
  • L. B. Watkins: ‘Technical Observations on the Frescoes of the Brancacci Chapel’, Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz, 17 (1973), pp. 65–74
  • A. Debold von Kritter: Studien zum Petruszyklus in der Brancacci Kapelle (Berlin, 1975)
  • A. Molho: ‘The Brancacci Chapel: Studies in its Iconography and History’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes [prev. pubd as J. Warb. Inst.], 40 (1977), pp. 50–98
  • W. Welliver: ‘Narrative Method and Narrative Form in Masaccio’s Tribute Money’, A.Q. [Detroit], n. s. 1 (1977–8), pp. 40–58
  • D. Amory: ‘Masaccio’s Expulsion from Paradise: A Recollection of Antiquity’, Marsyas, 20 (1979–80), pp. 7–10
  • U. Procacci and U. Baldini: La cappella Brancacci nella chiesa del Carmine a Firenze (Milan, 1984)
  • O. Casazza: ‘Il ciclo delle storie di San Pietro e la Historia salutatis’, Critica d’arte, 9 (1985), pp. 77–82
  • W. Jacobsen: ‘Die Konstruktion der Perspektive bei Masaccio und Masolino in der Brancaccikapelle’, Marburg. Jb. Kstwiss., 21 (1986), pp. 73–92
  • U. Baldini: ‘Le figure di Adamo e Eva formate affatto ignude in una cappella di una principal chiesa di Fiorenza’, Critica d’arte, 53/1 (1988), pp. 72–7
  • O. Casazza: ‘La grande gabbia architettonica di Masaccio’, Critica d’arte, 53/1 (1988), pp. 78–97
  • U. Baldini and O. Casazza: La cappella Brancacci (Milan, 1990)
  • J. Pope-Hennessy: ‘Unveiling Masaccio’s Radical Masterpiece in Florence’, Architectural Digest (March 1990), pp. 27–46
  • K. Christiansen: ‘Some Observations on the Brancacci Chapel Frescoes after their Cleaning’, Burlington Magazine, 133 (1991), pp. 5–20
  • A. Baldinotti, A. Cecchi and V. Farinella, eds: Masaccio and Masolino: Il gioco delle parti (Milan, 2002)
  • La Trinità di Masaccio: Arte e teologia (Bologna, 2004)
  • M. Finch : ‘St Peter and the Brancacci Chapel’, Apollo, 160 (2004), pp. 66–75
  • N. Eckstein : ‘The Widows’ Might: Women’s Identity and Devotion in the Brancacci Chapel’, Oxford Art Journal, 28/1 (2005), pp. 99–118
  • M. Rizzi : ‘Cultura agiografica e rappresentazione teologica nel Rinascimento italiano: Il caso della Cappella Brancacci’, Iconographica, 4 (2005), pp. 110–27
  • B. de Klerck : ‘Een oude meester en een wonderkind: Masolino en Masaccio in de Bracaccikapel’, Kunstschrift, 50/5 (2006), pp. 4–11
  • N. A. Eckstein, ed.: The Brancacci Chapel: Form, Function and Setting. Acts of an International Conference: Florence, 2003 (Florence, 2007)
The S Maria Maggiore altarpiece
  • K. Clark: ‘An Early Quattrocento Triptych from Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome’, Burlington Magazine, 113 (1951), pp. 339–47
  • M. Davies: The Earlier Italian Schools, London, N.G. cat. (London, 1951, 2/1961/R 1986), pp. 272–80
  • M. Meiss: ‘London’s New Masaccio’, ARTnews, 51/2 (1952), pp. 24–5
  • J. Pope-Hennessy: ‘The Sta Maria Maggiore Altarpiece’, Burlington Magazine, 94 (1952), pp. 31–2
  • D. Gioseffi: ‘Domenico Veneziano: L’esordio masaccesco e la tavola con i SS Girolamo e Giovanni Battista della National Gallery di Londra’, Emporium, 68 (1962), pp. 51–72
  • M. Meiss: ‘The Altered Program of the S Maria Maggiore Altarpiece’, Studien zur toskanischen Kunst (Munich, 1964), pp. 169–89
  • C. B. Strehlke and M. Tucker: ‘The Santa Maria Maggiore Altarpiece: New Observations’, Arte cristiana, 75 (1987), pp. 105–24
  • C. B. Strehlke and M. Tucker: ‘The Santa Maria Maggiore Altarpiece’, The Panel Paintings of Masolino and Masaccio: The Role of Technique, ed. C. B. Strehlke and C. Frosinini (Milan, 2002), pp. 111–29
Other specialist studies
  • J. Mesnil: ‘Masaccio and the Antique’, Burlington Magazine, 48 (1926), pp. 91–8
  • J. Mesnil: Masaccio et les débuts de la Renaissance (The Hague, 1927)
  • J. Mesnil: ‘Die Kunstlehre der Frührenaissance im Werke Masaccios’, Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg, 1925–26 (Leipzig, 1928), pp. 122–46
  • O. H. Giglioli: ‘Masaccio: Saggio di bibliografia ragionata’, Bollettino del Reale istituto di archeologia e storia dell’arte, 3/4–6 (1929), pp. 55–101
  • M. Pittaluga: ‘Masaccio e L. B. Alberti’, Rassegna italiana dell’arte, 24 (1929), pp. 779–90
  • M. Pittaluga: ‘La critica e i valori romantici di Masaccio’, L’Arte, 33 (1930), pp. 139–64
  • H. Lindberg: To the Problem of Masolino and Masaccio, 2 vols (Stockholm, 1931)
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  • M. D. Edwards : ‘The Circular Plan in Altichiero’s Cycle of St Lucy in the Oratory of St George in Padua and its Impact on Masaccio’, Watching Art: Writings in Honor of James Beck, ed. L. Catterson (Todi, 2006), pp. 129–41
Page of
Enciclopedia universale dell’arte, 15 vols (Rome, 1958–67); Eng. trans. as Encyclopedia of World Art (New York, 1959–68)
Page of
U. Thieme and F. Becker, eds: Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, 37 vols (Leipzig, 1907–50) [see also Meissner above]