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The Virgin and Child
Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

The Virgin and Child 1426

Masaccio (1401–1428)

The National Gallery, London

(b Castel San Giovanni [now San Giovanni Valdarno], nr. Florence, 21 Dec. 1401; d Rome, ?June 1428 [or perhaps 1429]). Florentine painter. Although he died aged only 26 or 27, he brought about a revolution in painting and he ranks alongside his friends Alberti, Brunelleschi, and Donatello as one of the founding fathers of the Renaissance. His affectionate nickname, which may be translated as ‘Hulking Tom’ or ‘Sloppy Tom’, was given to him, so Vasari says, because he was so completely absorbed in art that ‘he refused to give any time to worldly matters, even to the way he dressed’. He became a member of the painters' guild in Florence in 1422, but nothing is known of his training, the tradition that he was taught by Masolino, later his collaborator, now being discounted.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)


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