Tommaso di Ser Giovani di Simone, better known as Masaccio, was an Italian painter in the first years of the 15th century—the early Renaissance. A darling of Vasari for his figurative realism and pioneering use of linear perspective, Masaccio’s work function as transition from the Medieval era to the Renaissance. Although his skilled use of perspective, atmospheric setting, and illusion of space with chiaroscuro define him as a Renaissance figure, his paintings adhere to Medieval sensibilities in that they portray multiple moments of time within a singular composition. This practice establishes that a painting takes place in an otherworldly, heavenly realm where time functions differently than it does in the viewer’s world. Since Renaissance painters valued realism and naturalism above all else, the combination of confused time and intensely realistic renderings of space in Masaccio’s work defines him as an endlessly interesting painter to study, and he has proven a worthy research subject of art historians for centuries.
Sticks & Stones: Plaster
In our series Sticks & Stones, we take a deep dive into medium. Each installment features one of art history’s most sign…