“Madonna Cassini”, Masaccio – description of the painting

"“Madonna Cassini”, Masaccio – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Madonna Cassini – Masaccio. 1426. Wood, tempera. 20 four x eighteen cm.
This small picture was found in the middle of historical values ​​exported by Hitler troops from Italy. On the back of the board is the birth coat of arms of Cardinal Antonio Cassini (Casini), by which the image became clear as Madonna Cassini.

The painting depicts the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus on a canonical “flat” gold background, suitable for Gothic religious images. The Madonna’s pose with the baby at first glance seems completely normal and canonical too, but it’s worth looking at the image and it becomes clear that it is somewhat different from the static and dead icons of the Gothic era.

Here Madonna is having fun with the child, gently tickling his delicate neck. An innocent child rejoices in her mother’s affection and tries to catch her hand with her tiny hands. But the face of the Madonna is clouded, in her eyes there is no joy. It is as if she foresees the future, realizes that this child is doomed, and her life will be full of grief.

The picture amuses the eye not only with a charming motive, but also with the subtlety of writing. The faces of Mary and Christ are very lively and expressive, an affectionate blush even plays on the cheeks of the Virgin. Every golden curly curl on his head was written out for the baby Jesus, as much attention was paid to small details – the baby’s light shirt and his crib, as well as a gold edging on the dress and on the tunic of the Virgin Mary. Alive, rich colors and the highest craftsmanship make this religious image very close to reality and attractive.

Despite the smooth golden background and the complete absence of building parts, the artist was able to successfully convey air and place. To do this, he used the game of shadows and folds on the clothes and bodies of the characters. With these ordinary pictorial means, he achieved what was not previously in church painting — three-dimensionality, three-dimensionality of images."

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