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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Painting of the Month (22) October 2011: Massacio

Masaccio, The Tribute Money painted circa 1420
Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, known as Masaccio lived from 1401 to 1428 so he illuminated this world for a brief moment. That means he would have been 18 or 19 years old when he painted this fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence, Italy. A fresco is painted onto wet plaster so the paint soaks in and is 'locked' into the dried wall. 
To modern eyes the picture looks unremarkable but he was one of the first (possibly the first) artists to use proper perspective and a vanishing point.
If you follow the lines on the architecture on the right of the painting they all converge at a point level with the subjects eyes. In this picture all of the subjects eyes are on one horizontal. See below for an illustration of this.

11 comments:

klahanie said...

I say, bazza old chap, jolly nice painting. To my modern eye they seem to be about to have some kind of dancing party.

David said...

Dear bazza,
Nice painting, although not, this time, to my taste. But nevermind that, it was good to learn about the use of perspective and the "vanishing point".
Thanks, bazza.
Kind Regards,
David.

bazza said...

Gary: They are about to do The Twist followed by some Mashed Potato!
That's Jesus in the middle where all the lines converge in his eyes; he knew how to party alright.

bazza said...

David, the shy handsome one: No, it's not to my taste either. It's hard to view it as they did six hundred years ago. Maybe perspective was the c15 equivalent of 3D?

Anonymous said...

From the wine cellar of Sir Tom Eagerly:
Oh dear Bazza old thing, I think you've fallen a bit flat with this one. I mean, who cares?
One day you will see the light and feature Rolf Harris or the very wonderful Thomas Kincade in this series.
Bottoms up old boy!

bazza said...

Sir Tom: How clever of you to name two of my least favourite artist's in one sentence. Your talent knows no beginning!

Kelly said...

That painting is amazing. And what you pointed out- about the perspectives and vanishing points- reminds me of what my art teacher told me in class all those years ago. When I checked out the details, I found it interesting that the Christ figure was the central focus, or perhaps that is the intention, but the beautiful detailed designs of the other objects in view are the most intriguing to me. Good post.

bazza said...

Kezza: Yes the figure where all the lines converge is Christ. This would have seemed like a kind of magic to fifteenth century observers.
Do you do any painting or drawing these days? It's a lovely hobby.

Kelly said...

There was a time when I drew quite a bit. I've done some painting in the past, too. Abstract art and landscapes/nature. Never could draw/paint a person, though. Maybe it's a "you must love it so you draw or paint it" type of thing. I don't know. I do know I would like to get back into painting and/or drawing again someday. It frees something special inside a person when they create art.

bazza said...

Kezza: I go to a painting class once a week. Its mixed ability and very non-judgemental and it's great fun. I recommend it!

Kelly said...

That's cool that you do that. It sounds like non-threatening fun. heh heh.

I don't know if I told you or not, in the past, but the gym where I work out (or used to work out) is actually inside the county's Adult Center- which is huge. They have painting classes, computer classes, yoga, holistic therapy and classes on a whole bunch of other interesting stuff there. I'm going to try to sign up for that (the painting class) next week. Hopefully, nothing will distract me from this endeavor. :) Wish me luck!