Tommaso di Giovanni di Simone Kassai, nicknamed Masaccio, was born in 1401 in Italy, in the town of San Giovanni, near Florence. Perhaps it was the place and time period when he was born that played an important role in shaping him as one of the most prominent and distinctive artists of the early Renaissance.
There is not too much information about the life of the future master. It is known that his grandfather was an artist, a specialist in then very popular chests, which were called cassone and were often used as furniture items. Since such chests were lavishly decorated, some researchers of Masaccio's work believe that he could learn some of the skills of his art in childhood or be inherited as an artistic gift.
The boy was left without a father early, and when his stepfather passed away, he turned out to be the breadwinner of a rather large family. In addition to him and his mother, she also had a younger brother, who also became an artist, known by the nickname Skeja (sliver), as well as two half-sisters - the daughters of his stepfather. Brother’s nickname indicates his possible connection with the family business - the production of chests.
Masaccio himself received his nickname ("clumsy, sloppy") for his deep immersion in his art. When he worked, he was not interested in anything, so his clothes were often stained with paints.
Learning from other major Renaissance masters, Donatello and Brunelleschi, Masaccio took the best of the styles of these artists and sculptors, added his own vision of the world and created his own special recognizable style. It was realistic, and accurately reproduced the appearance of people, nature and architecture. For comparison, we must add that the fashion was a romantic, distorted "Gothic" style of the image.
During his short life, Masaccio created many paintings and frescoes, mainly intended for churches. His masterpieces are widely known as the “Triptych of St. Juvenal”, “Madonna and Child with St. Anne”, the Leaning Triptych, “Prayer for the Chalice”, frescoes of the chapel Brancacci and “Sagra”, or “Lighting”, which has not survived to this day , strongly disliked by the customer - the Carmelite monastery, but had an irresistible impact on contemporaries.
According to the surviving descriptions, she depicted a procession of many people, but she was distinguished by the realism of the image and the complete lack of pomposity, so characteristic of the ceremonial painting of that century. In addition, many saw in the fresco the influence of ancient Roman sculpture and the freedom-loving ideas of Greece and Rome.
In addition to church painting, there are examples of civilian works masterfully executed by Masaccio. These are portraits, only one of them is precisely identified ("Portrait of a Young Man"), the other two, most likely copies. Despite the classical form of the image in profile, the features characteristic of the Renaissance image are already visible on it.
Not being particularly popular in life, the artist, after his untimely death at the age of 26, became a role model for many followers, including Renaissance titans such as Rafael Santi and Michelangelo Buonarotti. The cause of his death remained a mystery, as did his father, who died only a year older.