Saints Jerome and John the Baptist by Tommaso di Giovanni Masaccio

Saints Jerome and John the Baptist by Tommaso di Giovanni Masaccio

One of the last works of the artist is the side flap of a triptych depicting Saints Jerome and John the Baptist. It was written shortly before the death of Masaccio in Rome in 1428. The decorative style, so widespread in the painting of the beginning of the 15th century, is alien to the works of Masaccio. In them, as in the works of his predecessor, Giotto, everything is subordinated to the perspective construction of space and the use of light and shade.

After the painter’s early death, the rest of the work, commissioned by Pope Martin V for the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, was completed

by Masolino. This board depicts strict, monumental figures of saints dressed in red. Jerome holds the opened book and the mock of the basilica; the lion lies on its legs.

John the Baptist is depicted in his usual form: he is barefoot and holds a cross in his hands. Both figures amaze with anatomical accuracy of the image and almost sculptural sense of volume. It can be said without exaggeration that the works of Masaccio are real gems in the collection of the London National Gallery.

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