Masaccio - The Holy Trinity

by Alexandra Tuschka

This groundbreaking work may not seem so exciting to us today. The fresco by the Italian Masaccio is considered in art history to be the first in which central perspective was consistently applied. The vanishing point is approximately at Jesus' feet. This is tailored to the viewer, whose height corresponds to that of the figures in the fresco and who views the scene from below.


The scene shown is framed in a magnificent architecture. In the center of the fresco, Jesus' emaciated body is clearly visible. God the Father personally presents the body to the viewer. This motif is more common in the northern Alpine region, but unusual for Italy. Typical of the late Middle Ages, we still find here the staggering of the persons according to their ranks. The principals are in the niches and, next to the cross, Mary and John.


Behind the triumphal arch we can see a barrel vault - possibly inspired by Brunelleschi. The recesses in the vault make the lines of flight particularly clear. Not only is the room correctly depicted in central perspective, but the figures also possess an unusual plasticity.


Masaccio - The Holy Trinity

Fresco, 1426, 667 x 317 cm, Basilica of S. Maria Novella in Florence

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