The image of Adam and Eve expelled from paradise, their faces transformed by pain and shame of having betrayed the trust of God, is the masterwork of Masaccio and can be admired in Cappella Brancacci in Florence, in the Santa Maria del Carmine church. The frescoes, painted along with Masolino da Panicale, were commissioned by Felice Brancacci, and continued by Filippino Lippi after the death of Masaccio. As for the Trinity in Santa Maria Novella, also with the frescoes in Cappella Brancacci, Masaccio turned around the history of painting.
A perfect painting harmony
You’ll be amazed by the harmony of the figures, making almost unrecognizable the author of the fresco: especially if you think that Masolino was an old master while Masaccio was already an artist renaissance, with a perspective vision completely different. By the will of Felice Brancacci, the two artists worked on the same walls, without making a distinction between the right side from the left one because this would have led to a stylistic division too obvious and pronounced. This forced Masaccio and Masolino to some common choices that have cancelled the personal style distinctions. The result is a great balance between the drawings.
An extraordinary History of Sin
The cycle of frescoes in the Cappella Brancacciwas begun by Masolino and Masaccio and completed 50 years later by Filippino Lippi. The frescoes tell the story of sin and redemption through St. Peter. Starting on the left side of the Cappella Brancacci are depicted these scenes:
Left wall, on the top
The beautiful and painful Expulsion from Paradise of Adam and Eve by Masaccio. An angel with a sword is chasing them and a violent light shapes the bodies. Adam is crying and covering his face , while Eva covers her arms and breasts and her face is deformed by the screams of pain. Immediately after there is the scene of the Tribute. It refers to the episode about Jesus in Capernaum with his apostles who is stopped by a tax collector who asks a fee to enter the city. Jesus orders Peter to go to the lake to catch a fish, and after having caught, must open his mouth and pull the coin that was in it.
The fresco contains 3 episodes from the centre: Jesus instructs St. Peter to catch a fish; on the left St. Peter is fishing and on the right St. Peter gives the coin to tax collector. On the right there is the Preaching of St. Peter by Masolino.
Left wall, on the bottom
In the lower part there are only scenes from the life of St. Peter: Saint Peter visited in prison by St. Paul by Filippino Lippi, the son of the Resurrection of Theophilus and St Peter’s in chair, both by Masaccio. Masaccio painted also the last scene: St. Peter healing the sick with his shadow.
Right wall, on the top
In this part of the Cappella Brancacci stands out The Temptation of Adam and Eve, just when they are about to eat the apple. In this case the faces of the two are restless but serene, just before they realize what they have done, such as is the case of the Original Sin of Masaccio.
Always on the top there is the Baptism of the neophytes by Masaccio and the Healing of the Lame Man and Resurrection of Tabita, by Masolino and Masaccio.
The right wall, on the bottom
On the right wall on the bottom , there are The distribution of goods and the death of Ananias and Sapphira (Masaccio) The dispute with Simon Magus and Crucifixion of Peter (Lippi) and the St. Peter free from prison.
Information to visit the Cappella Brancacci
Address: Piazza del Carmine 14
How to get there: by feet
Opening hours: Wednesday-Saturday and Monday: 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday and holidays: 1 pm – 5 pm. Closed: Tuesdays, New Year, January 7, Easter, May 1, July 16, August 15, Christmas.
Ticket price: full price € 6.00