Masaccio

Portrait
Born: Dec 21, 1401 AD
Died: 1428 AD, at 26 years of age.

Nationality: Italian
Categories: Painters


1401 – He was born Tommaso Cassai on the 21st day of December this year in Castel San Giovanni di Altura, Italy. He was born to Giovanni di Mone Cassai and Jacopa di Martinozzo in Castel San Giovanni di Altura, now San Giovanni Valdarno (now part of the province of Arezzo, Tuscany). His father was a notary and his mother the daughter of an innkeeper of Barberino di Mugello, a town a few miles south of Florence.

 

1406 - His father died in this year, when he was only five; in that year, another brother was born, called Giovanni after the dead father. He also was to become a painter, with the nickname of "Scheggia". The mother was remarried to an elderly apothecary, Tedesco, who guaranteed Masaccio and his family a comfortable childhood.

 

1422 - The first works attributed to Masaccio are the Cascia Altarpiece, picturing the Madonna enthroned with angels and saints, and a Virgin and Child with St. Anne.

 

1423 – He travelled to Rome with Masolino: from that point he was freed of all Gothic and Byzantine influence, as may be seen in his altarpiece for the Carmelite Church in Pisa, the central panel of which (The Madonna and the Child) is now in the National Gallery, London.

 

1424 - The"duo preciso e noto" ("well and known duo") of Masaccio and Masolino was commissioned by the powerful and rich Felice Brancacci to execute a cycle of frescoes for the Brancacci Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. The theme of the frescoes in the little chapel was to be the "Histories of St. Peter".

 

1425 - On September of this year, Masolino left the work and went to Hungary. It is not known if this was because of money quarrels with Felice or even if there was an artistic divergence with Masaccio. It has also been supposed that Masolino planned this trip from the very beginning, and needed a close collaborator who could continue the work after his departure.

 

1426 – He left the frescoes undone in this year in order to respond to other commissions, probably coming from the same patron. However, it has also been suggested that the declining finances of Felice Brancacci were insufficient to pay for any more work, so the painter therefore sought work elsewhere. In the same year, he was commissioned by Giuliano di Colino degli Scarsi, for the sum of 80 florins, to paint a major altarpiece, the Pisa Polyptych, for his chapel in the church of Santa Maria Del Carmine in Pisa.

 

1427 – He returned in this year to work again in the Carmine, beginning the Resurrection of the Son of Theophilus, but apparently left it, too, unfinished, though it has also been suggested that the painting was severely damaged later in the century because it contained portraits of the Branacci family, at that time excoriated as enemies of the Medici.

 

1428 – He died of alleged poisoning by a rival painter at an early age of 27 this year.

Page last updated: 11:14am, 20th Jun '07
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