- Hardcover: 245 pages
- Publisher: Abbeville Press; 1st edition (April 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0789200902
- ISBN-13: 978-0789200907
- Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 1.5 x 13.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Masaccio 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Magnificent, large, full-page color reproductions distinguish this important monograph on Florentine painter Masaccio (1401-1428), whose naturalistic style during the last seven years of his short life revolutionized Renaissance artists' use of perspective and light. Art historian Spike, who lives in Florence and serves as a guest curator in Europe and the U.S., boldly hypothesizes that the iconography of Masaccio's frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel of Florence--with their descending tiers of heaven, sky, sea and land--was based on the creation story in Genesis. In his engaging essay on Masaccio's life and work, Spike locates sources for the artist's naturalism in Donatello's sculpture and in the classical proportions of Brunelleschi's architecture. Rejecting the prevailing assumption that Filippino Lippi's additions to Masaccio's fresco of Saint Peter, executed in the 1450s, left Masaccio's basic composition intact, Spike argues that Lippi radically reworked the original.
Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Few painters have had the impact of Masaccio (1401-28), who helped lay the naturalistic foundations of modern art during a career that seems to have lasted only six years. In his useful synthesis, Spike, an independent scholar and curator living in Florence, successfully summarizes our current understanding of the artist's career. An intelligent introductory essay sorts out his oeuvre's chronology; elucidates aspects of Masaccio's enigmatic relationship with his inferior partner, Masolino; and clarifies his connection with the great innovators Giotto, Brunelleschi, and Donatello. Commentaries accompanying the complete corpus of color illustrations allow further insights into the work's formal qualities and iconography, and a summary catalogue raisonne includes a compilation of early documentary sources, condition reports, and further scholarly discussion. Although not as exhaustive as P. Joannides's Masaccio and Masolino: A Complete Catalogue (Abrams, 1993), this volume should fulfill the requirements of most collections.?Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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For example, the scholar wading through Spike's preface is rewarded by archipelagos like the following heartwarming conclusion: "Investigations into subject matter can only proceed deeper and deeper into the hidden recesses of the human heart and mind. For this reason, we prefer to study the works of geniuses." (italics added) If Masaccio were alive and working today, certainly he would derive quite a bit of enjoyment from oblique compliments like that! And even Leonardo would have to laugh when he encountered the following notion from the preface: "The stylistic development between the earliest and the latest works (a span of only seven and a half years) is unprecedented and astonishing. Compared to Masaccio, Leonardo da Vinci was a stick-in-the-mud." (italics added)
The beauty of this literary paen to an artist centuries in his grave reflects the incredible power of Masaccio's few paintings to distinguish themselves above excellence. Luxurious color photographs allow lavish attention to details of the frescoes, most notably at the Brancacci Chapel. Black and white photographs in the catalog of Masaccio' known works accompany the provenances and physical details. A section of Comparative Illustrations adds bonus value to this outstanding reference. Page after page of wonderfully intriguing paintings and fragments by contemporaries of Masaccio give the reader a deeper understanding. Then, surprisingly, the book ends with a bibliography and index, etc.
Dr John T Spike is author of numerous volumes like this one, and was Director of the 1999 Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea in Florence, Italy. His activities also include contemporary art criticism.