Masaccio’s Illusionism

Masaccio, Holy Trinity, c.1424-1427

With the help of his friend Filippo Brunelleschi, Masaccio is often identified as the first artist to apply theories of linear perspective to painting.  His perspectival masterpiece is the Holy Trinity in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence.  Watch the following podcasts produced by the National Gallery of Art on the use of perspective systems in the Renaissance and Masaccio’s Holy Trinity fresco.  Describe what effect you think Masaccio’s painting would have on a Renaissance viewer.

Introductory video on Renaissance perspective

Video on Masaccio’s Holy Trinity

(you can also download these podcasts from the NGA server in iTunes)

Please submit a post by Saturday, November 3.

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8 Responses to Masaccio’s Illusionism

  1. the viewers where very surprised. They probaly would have seen this as very strange but interesting. Massacio actually was able to make the painting look like it had a depth that wasnt really there. People saw the fresco as if he carved into the wall. They were stil very religious during that time so the fresco had alot of meaning as well. His painting was the start of a new form of art work that many other artist tried to gain that same amount of depth or more.

  2. kevon says:

    The Renaissance viewers would be curious and interested. They would be so curious in the painting of the holy trinity by Masaccio because Masaccio, using linear oersoective was able to make the fresco look as if it was a 3D figure while the painting stayed flat. The illusion of linear perspective on the painting was interesting to the viewers because it was a revolutionary way of creating art and many other renaissance painters tried to accomplish what masaccio had done.

  3. the effect that i think this painting would have on a renaissance viewer is most probrably a huge impact. since this painting is quite an outstanding painting when it comes to renaissance because he uses a fancy technique to fool the eye which is quite intriguing. he was able to cause a 3d effect in a flat surface making the flat surface contain more space then it would usually have. making a new revolution in the art history thus making other painters wanting to do the same.

  4. Juwel says:

    Creating a sense of space was a major innovation of the time, as was linear perspective, a clever method that causes your eye to see in three-dimension. Masaccio didn’t paint his master piece in one day, it took him 28 days to complete the whole painting. The amazing thing about this painting is that the missing areas around the edges and the gaps represent the original fresco that no longer exist. I think those are the effect that this painting would have on a renaissance viewer.

  5. JonathanChu says:

    I believe that the viewers during the Renaissance period would have found this piece interesting because it’s a new application to art and it introduced a new concept called linear perspective. That gave art a more three dimensional feeling even though the painting itself is flat and two dimensional. Viewers were also able to see how Massacio created the vaults using strings and also were able to see lines connected to the vanishing points because they are visible on the fresco.

  6. Anujat Deb says:

    The painting of Holy Trinity, by Masaccio would have a huge impact on a renaissance viewer because they are not used to seeing a painting technique like this. The use of Linear Perspective makes this painting look like it is 3D even though it’s lying flat on a wall. This effect was revolutionary as it has spread to the renaissance painters and motivate them to try and do the same.

  7. I think that the painting of the Holy Trinity, well the process of making it, to be more specific, would have shocked a renaissance viewer in a very good way. I think it would bring interest to the viewer due to the fact that they never saw a picture that uses such technique and has the illusion of a 3D image. This was an incredible breakthrough that has been used in almost everything ever since and i think the renaissance people would have loved to have known about and used it.

  8. Of course renaissanse viewers were shocked! They were used to see paintings that didn’t have any real sense of space. Therefore, they must have been impressed to see a painting that created a 3d effect, much more natural and realistic than paintings that didn’t involve linear perpective in the past.

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