Comparison Of Massacio
’s Holy Trinity And Campin’s Merod Altarpiece Essay, Research Paper
Masaccio’s Holy Trinity and Campin’s Merode Altarpiece were both created during the same period, however their paintings show the influences of the Italian and northern styles, respectively, to bring forth new and different tools and methods of art.
Masaccio’s Holy Trinity does not have an emphasis on ornamentation and idealistic elegance of the International Style. Masaccio instead focuses on the naturalistic and humanistic view of the subject matter. Using the usual medium of fresco painting, Masaccio also managed to create a life-size or perhaps a greater than life-size human Christ who occupies a true space in our real world. When seeing the piece, one may feel as if there is in fact another room in which he/she is looking into where the painting is actually observing space and mass. In using linear perspective to create the illusion of space, Masaccio set the vanishing point to be at the base of the first step where all lines come together in this painting. It is also noticed that the “trinity” theme is carried out through triangular patters in the painting. It seems in Masaccio’s piece that the Italian artists’ concern was to present the humanistic and naturalistic view of observation in art. The appreciation of mathematical proportions by the Italian artists is also evident in Masaccio’s use of such scientific studies in his piece. Perhaps the desire to achieve a realistic painting for the purpose of brining the art to the people was the motivation for the development of linear / one-point perspective.
Unlike Masaccio, Campin’s Merode Altarpiece uses a highly ornamented style and a strange sense of perspective and does not use linear perspective as Masaccio did. The Northern style of idealistic elegance (International Style) brings upon a realistic three-dimensional space different to the linear perspective. There is an exaggeration of perspective; it seems as if the items on the table can slide of at any moment. Also, the three individual panels of the triptych do not seem to be within the same level or area. Campin used oil and tempura paint to catch the details to things in his painting. He was used symbolism to create the religion in everyday life scenario. Campin’s use of perspective is confusing to interpret. Although objects in the painting do seem to occupy space, how they are related to our space is strange. It seems that the mathematical perspective is not of very much importance to Campin, but instead detail to the ornamentation and detailing and the new idea of human and religion interaction in every day life.