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Compare and contrast Annunciation (Merode Altarpiece) by Robert Campin (15th Century Northern) and Holy Trinity by Masaccio (Early Italian Renaisscnce)


         Masaccio 可以算是早期文艺复兴时期的先驱人物,虽然他英年早逝但是他仍然给人们留下了譬如‘Virgin Mary with Pesudo-Arabic halo’, ‘The Expulsion’ and ‘Holy Trinity’ 这样的杰作。Masaccio可以算是第一个将透视法完整的运用到绘画中来的画家。大约在1427年,Masaccio为佛罗伦萨新圣母玛利亚教堂做的壁画‘Holy Trinity’正式揭幕。‘Holy Trinity’展现了圣父,圣子,圣灵三者神圣精神的融合。整幅画看上去极其的真实,就好像是在墙上掏了个洞,然后在这面墙中向大家展示上帝的伟大。Masaccio能做出这一点正是因为他是在创造一个立体的空间展现给人们。在耶稣的右手下面看着人们的是玛利亚。她手指着十字架,前面的台阶是断开的,这可以看做是一个持续的空间。而上帝背后屋顶的透视更加完善了这个整体的空间。而在十字架上的耶稣可以算是整个空间的中心,画中的所有人物都是在围绕着他。Masaccio用他的高超的自然主义手法把观众拉入了这神圣的一刻,去和故事情节中的人物合为一体。而文艺复兴所做的正是不再单单把观赏者扔到一边,而是带着他们走入画中去,去感受整个作品的氛围。


Compare and contrast Annunciation (Merode Altarpiece) by Robert Campin (15th Century Northern) and Holy Trinity by Masaccio (Early Italian Renaissance)

15th century can be regarded as a line of demarcation of European history, which ends the Middle Ages and leads human into a brand new era. During this period of time, art, philosophy and science have made progress to a great extent. The core driving force of this progress is the Humanism, which has still been long discussed so far. The gist of the Humanism is human oriented and encouragement of seeking for id and ego. It encourages us to look for happiness in real life and be our own master. However, the point is just opposite to the thought of Church in the Middle Ages. What ironical is that the Humanism originated from people’s skeptical thinking about the world and the existence of God, right because of the dark governing of Roman Churches and prevalence of the Black Plague as well.

The starting point of the Renaissance can be positioned in Italy. As a European trade center, Italy allowed the emerging bourgeoisie to grow here gradually. Again as the former site of the ancient Rome Empire, Italy also reserved a great amount of art and literature books of ancient Rome. After studying the ancient literature of Greek and Rome, people in the Renaissance time began to rethink the relationship between the world and themselves, and even more admired the wisdom and talent of the past scholars. In its early stage, Humanism was only popular in Italy and France. Until 16th century, it began to be known by the entire Europe. From the geological point of view, the tide of the Renaissance did not arrive in North Europe very early. However, far away from the Roman Churches and new literature center also allowed North Europe art to keep its unique and strong style, regardless of before or after the Renaissance.

    Masaccio is a pioneer in Early Renaissance. Though he passed over early in his life, he has left masterpieces to people, such as “Virgin Mary with Pesudo-Arabic halo”, “The Expulsion” and “Holy Trinity”. Masaccio is the first artist that thoroughly applies perspective to painting. In about 1427, Masaccio formally unveiled the frescoes “Holy Trinity” in the Santa Maria Novella in Florence. “Holy Trinity” expresses the integrity of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The entire frescoes looks impressively real, like a hole in the wall, through which to express the greatness of God.

    Masaccio has successfully made this effect because he is trying to build a three-dimensional display space to people. It is Maria that painted under Jesus’s right hand looking at people. She points at the cross with broken stairs in the front, which can be viewed as a prolonged space. Moreover, the perspective of roof behind the Holy God further completes the whole space. Jesus on the cross is the center of the entire painting space, surrounded by everything in the painting. Masaccio takes full advantage of his excellent naturalistic painting skill, which involves the audience into this holy moment and integrates the audience, environment with the story. This is the focus of the Renaissance, which leads audience to walk into the painting and feel the pure atmosphere of the work, rather than leaves the audience alone.


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