Pisa Polyptych, Masaccio (Part II)

Pisa Polyptych, Masaccio (Part II)
Pisa Polyptych, Masaccio (Part II)

In a previous entry we already talked about one of Masaccio's most outstanding works and which, however, has created more controversy, The Politician of Pisa. It is about a politician that the Italian artist made for the church of Santa María del Carmen in Pisa and that, according to the studies carried out in this regard, had about nineteen pieces, although the truth is that art historians do not agree in this regard and to this day it is still unknown exactly which canvases were part of the composition.

In this context, we will briefly review some of the works that are considered to have formed part of the altarpiece. The most prominent panel appears to have been a composition of Mary with Child done in tempera on wood and now on display at the National Gallery in London. In it we find Mary seated on a Renaissance-looking throne that follows the same compositions that Brunelleschi had used; María appears dressed in a large blue tunic and placed slightly diagonally, which gives greater depth to the table, however, her appearance is too monumental with respect to the frame in which she is framed. On her lap appears the Child Jesus and in the lower part, in the foreground, two little angels playing musical instruments. One of them has placed the neck of his instrument facing the viewer in order to give the canvas greater depth. In the backgroundwe find a third plane, behind the throne from which other little angels appear.

picture picture

At the top of the altarpieceyou must have found this Crucifixionwith the figure of Jesus Christ in the center flanked by his mother, the Virgin Mary, and on the other side Saint John the Evangelist. At the foot of the cross, in a very theatrical gesture of pain, we find Mary Magdalene kneeling, bowing her head and raising her arms in an exclamation of pain and anguish. This table shows a contradiction between medievalist painting, with a golden and inexpressive background and the most archaic figure of Jesus Christ that shows little naturalism, and Renaissance modernity that little by little was taking over the most vivid figures and forms. For a long time this panel was thought to be the work of an anonymous artist until it was finally included in Masaccio's production.

According to some theories, flanking the crucifixion we would find the panels that represent Saint Paul whose body performs a torsion that gives movement to the figure and who has been represented together with his sword military man and the Holy Scriptures and Saint Andrew,who has arranged himself in profile and whose filigree nimbus refers us more to tradition than to modernity.

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