Masaccio Biography

Early Life

Masaccio, originally named Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was born on 21st of December in 1401, in the small town of Castel San Giovanni di Altura (today’s San Giovanni Valdarno) in Italy. His father was a notary, and he passed away when Masaccio was only five. His mother then remarried, and the family moved to Florence – a city which was a vital center of Renaissance culture and art at that time. It is believed that this environment may have helped to shape Masaccio’s interest in art from a very young age.


Although there is no concrete evidence about Masaccio’s formal training, it is thought that he may have studied with a local artist, as was customary during those times. Some historians believe that he may have apprenticed with the painter Masolino da Panicale. By the time he was 20, he was enrolled as a painter in the Florentine guild, which implies that he had already mastered his craft well enough by then to be considered a professional.


Masaccio’s work was heavily influenced by the art and architecture of Classical Antiquity, the naturalism of Giotto, and the contemporary innovations of Brunelleschi and Donatello. His use of perspective, human anatomy, and light was noted as revolutionary for the time, and shifted the course of Italian painting away from the idealized Gothic style.

Major Artwork

Masaccio is widely acknowledged for his innovative use of perspective and chiaroscuro, making his figures and settings appear incredibly lifelike. Among his most famous works is the ‘Holy Trinity”, located in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, which is one of the earliest-known examples of strict linear perspective being used in painting. Another significant work is the ‘Brancacci Chapel’ in the Florentine church of Santa Maria del Carmine, where he painted a series of frescoes that depicted scenes from the life of St. Peter. ‘’The Expulsion from paradise’’ is another one of his crucial works, renowned for its effective portrayal of anguish and guilt.

Art Movements

Masaccio was pivotal in the development of the Early Renaissance (also known as Quattrocento) art movement. His innovative approach to painting, including his understanding of light, shadow, and perspective, shaped the evolution of Italian painting and led to the full development of Renaissance art by artists like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.


Tragically, Masaccio died very young aged 27, in late 1428. Despite his short life, his contribution to the world of art is immense. He is considered one of the greatest painters of the Early Renaissance, whose techniques remained influential even after centuries. He revolutionized visual art and established the fundamentals upon which future generations of artists would build.