Masaccio was born in 1401 and lived but twenty seven years, but in that short period of time he opened the pathway which the painters of the Renaissance later traveled to success, for he made many worthwhile contributions that were essential to the development of modern painting.

In fact he was the artist who first mastered and taught the mixing of color with oil. Up to that time water had been used to moisten colors, and although this method was not entirely satisfactory, it was the only one known to painters up to Masaccio's time.

He also taught his contemporaries how to draw the human foot, for before his day no artist had been able to draw a foot in any position except on tiptoe or with trailing mantles or gowns so that the feet are not visible.

Masaccio studied this problem, and finally decided that feet could be painted in different positions just the same as the arms or any other part of the body, and with this idea in mind, he worked until he accomplished this heretofore impossible achievement.

He was the first artist to combine colors so that they produced the tint of real flesh, and he was the first to overcome the most baffling problems that up to this time had retarded advances in drawing. One of the most important of these was the mastery of "Perspective."

Masaccio was the first really advanced painter of the Renaissance, and his labors were of priceless value to the great painters of the High Renaissance period. While he did not attain perfection in all of the changes he brought about, he made the way easier for the artists who came after him by breaking down the seeming insurmountable barriers that had hindered the progress of his predecessors.

His finest paintings may be seen in Brancacci Chapel of the church of Santa Carmine, Florence. Among his best frescoes we find the miracles of St. Peter raising Tabitha and Healing the Cripple.

Healing of the Cripple and the Raising of Tabitha, 1425
Fresco. Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, Italy
Masaccio (1401-1428)

St. Peter Healing The Cripple

Shortly after the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles, Peter and John, walking to the temple about three o'clock in the afternoon, saw a man near the gate who had been lame since birth. They observed that the poor man was begging alms from the people who were going into the temple to pray. Peter, moved with compassion, commanded the afflicted man, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and walk. Almost immediately the unfortunate man felt his leg well and strong, and when St. Peter lifted him up he hurried into the temple gratefully praising God.

St. Peter Raising Tabitha

St. Peter lived for some time at Joppe in the house of a man known as Simon the Tanner. While there, a widow named Tabitha died, and the poor of the city mourned her loss, for she was noted for her charity. St. Peter, moved by the lamentations of the sorrowing people, raised the charitable woman to life.

The Baptism of the Neophytes, 1425
Fresco. Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, Italy
Masaccio (1401-1428)
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