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Painting in central Italy

Video transcript

[Music] in the Brancato chapel in santa maria del carmen a just to the left of Musashi is great painting the tribune money is another painting by masaccio the expulsion from Eden the frescoes in this Chapel all tell the story of the life of st. Peter except for the expulsion we could ask what is the expulsion doing sooner this is the story of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden they've eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge and God has discovered that transgression and has banished them from Eden and we see in foreshortened angel that's an armed angel it looks like the marshal to me chasing them out of the Garden of Eden they're being evicted and what follows from this is that mankind knows in and death exactly this is the memory from which everything else comes in terms of Catholic understanding of man's destiny well that's right because it is from this false embrace that Christ is required it makes Christ's coming necessary to redeem us but it also makes necessary the church that st. Peter found sometimes Mary and Christ are seen as the second Adam and Eve Adam and Eve who caused the fall into sin and Mary and Christ you make possible salvation that idea is something that everybody in this church would be familiar with I love the architecture on the extreme left the gate of heaven itself that they've just left reminds me of the indebtedness that masaccio has to keep a light Giotto in the previous century where architecture is sometimes used simply as a foil as a kind of stage set there's so much emotion I'm especially interested in the contrast of emotions and he's covering his face there is a kind of shame and a real awareness of his sin his body is exposed to us and actually that's interesting this whole chapel was fairly recently cleaned and for a very long time there was a a vine that covered up his genitals that someone had painted over that's right long after but we've been restored to the original nudity that masaccio gave us which is absolutely here appropriate but he's not covering his body he's covering his face it's a kind of internal sense of guilt whereas Eve seems to have been taken directly from the ancient classical prototype of the modest Venus she is shown in a beautiful contrapposto covering herself but it's her shame which seems more physical but because her face is exposed we can see the real pain that she expresses through it you said beautiful contrapposto but I think about contrapposto as a standing relaxed pose and these figures are in motion they are there moving forward masaccio is first artist in a very long time to attempt to paint theme embody naturalistically no and as a result he hasn't quite gotten all of it perfect there's some awkward passages Adams arms are a little bit too short Eve's left arm is a little bit too long given that massages the first artist to really attempt to this naturalism in a thousand years some of that is to be forgiven I have to say that I think he's done an extraordinary job if you look at Adams abdomen for example it is really beautifully rendered there is a physicality here there's a sense of weight and there's a sense of musculature that I can't remember seeing in earlier painting massage is employing modeling very clearly from light to dark he's so interested in modeling because that's what makes the forms appear three-dimensional and also that foreshortened angel is helping to create a sense of space for the figures to exist in even though as you pointed out that architecture is more symbolic yeah it's just totally schematic isn't it a couple of changes that are probably worth noting one is that you can really see the giornata you can see that Adam was painted separately from Eve and you can see a darker blue and back of Adam that really highlight those different patches of plaster those we're not differentiate Abel the 15th century I know that's changed over time I turned out there you mean that the different days that different parts of the fresco were painted in right Renate means a day's work this is boo fresco which means that it was painted on two wet plaster and so an artist could only do a small section at a time because the plaster would otherwise dry other changes that have taken place in the painting that I think are worth noting are that the sword and the rays of light that are emanating from Eden are now black but that's oxidized silver and it would have been very shiny initially I think it's important also to note that the explosion is the first scene that we look at as we enter into this chapel they literally walk into the story almost like a panel in a cartoon it is leading our eye from left to right so that we can read through the story of st. Peter [Music]