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His real name was Tommaso di Giovanni. "Masaccio" is Italian for "Ugly Tom". This was a cruel nickname he was given by local villagers.


Florentine Painter of the Early Renaissance  

Stylistically influenced by the following painters - Giotto di BondoneSassetta and Fra Angelico

Cause of Death - He was poisoned by an envious rival painter. He was only 27 years old.

One of the Greatest Painters Of All Time

The life and times of Masaccio

  Masaccio's work is all about the holy and the profane; illuminating and suppressing. Spirituality and mans innate awareness of his own mortality is an essential element in all his work. He was inspired by biblical stories, especially the story of Geneses. Masaccio was famous for his technique of using veiled transparencies of color to convey the different depths of spiritual illumination of the subject.  Art historians regard the Renaissance to be the true beginning of  art history. The term "renaissance" means "rebirth".  After Giotto, Masaccio is considered the most influential early Renaissance painter. He was one of the most revolutionary artists of the his time in terms of  mathematical perspective and being able to create a believable three-dimensional reality. His technique and style served as guidebook to all who came after him.

According to art historian, Bernhard Berenson, "Masaccio, then, like Giotto a century earlier,—himself the Giotto of an artistically more propitious world—was, as an artist, a great master of the significant, and, as a painter, endowed to the highest degree with a sense of tactile values, and with a skill in rendering them. In a career of but few years he gave to Florentine painting the direction it pursued to the end. In many ways he reminds us of the young Bellini. Who knows? Had he but lived as long, he might have laid the foundation for a painting not less delightful and far more profound than that of Venice. As it was, his frescoes at once became, and for as long as there were real artists among them remained, the training-school of Florentine painters."


He was born Tommaso di Giovanni. The name Masaccio mean "ugly Tom" in Italian. He was a big awkward man who cared little about his outward appearance. His hair and beard were long and unruly. Often he would wear the same shirt and trousers, covered by food stains and paint drippings, for months at a time.  Masaccio's personal life was sad, tumultuous and full of adventure.  He was known to be quarrelsome and changeable. Sadly before he reached 30 years of age, he was poisoned by a covetous rival artist who could not stand the beauty and ingenuity of Masaccio's masterpieces. He died unappreciated and almost penniless, without ever know the phenomenal impact his work would have on the history of art.


Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists,  spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscript,  idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, illuminator, plague, Age of Discovery, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and  light, Old Testament stories,  sfumato, chiaroscuro, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.


The Meaning of Sacred Symbols in  Paintings. Most prominently featured  symbols and their meaning:



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References -

Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists

 Bernhard Berenson,  The Florentine Painters of the Renaissance With An Index To Their Works


</The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Artists