Brancacci Chapel

Church in Florence

Brancacci Chapel
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Fotoarchiv Scala

The Brancacci Chapel, located inside the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, is renowned for its magnificent cycle of frescoes painted by Masolino, Masaccio, and Filippino Lippi. The frescoes, which adorn the three walls of the chapel, depict scenes from the life of Saint Peter and the Original Sin.

The decoration of the chapel was commissioned in approximately 1425 by Felice Brancacci, a Florentine ambassador in Egypt. Initially, the task was given to Masolino, who later collaborated with the young and talented Masaccio. The two artists worked together for a period, but then Masaccio had to continue the work alone, likely due to his trip to Rome. Unfortunately, Masaccio’s life was cut short, as he died in 1428, leaving the frescoes unfinished.

Almost six decades later, between 1481 and 1485, Filippino Lippi completed the frescoes. His contribution to the cycle shows a noticeable difference from the styles of Masolino and Masaccio. Masolino’s figures are delicate and elegant, reflecting the Late-Gothic artistic culture, while Masaccio’s work stands out for its powerful figures, the use of perspective, and a remarkable realism that is characteristic of early-Renaissance Florentine painting. The frescoes “Expulsion from the Garden of Eden” and “The Tribute Money” on the left wall are often considered emblematic of Masaccio’s significant impact on the development of Renaissance art.

In contrast to the seriousness and power of Masaccio’s frescoes, Filippino Lippi’s later intervention brings a sense of tenderness to the scenes, particularly evident on the wall to the right. The frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel not only represent a captivating narrative of biblical events but also showcase the evolution of artistic styles during the transitional period from the Late-Gothic era to the early Renaissance in Florence.

The Brancacci Chapel appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Florence!

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Visiting Brancacci Chapel

Address: Brancacci Chapel Apartment, Via Santa Monaca, Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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