Maso di Banco, Sylvester and the Dragon, Bardi di Venuo Chapel, Santa Croce, c. 1340
di Banco Sylvester and the Dragon Bardi Chapel c1340
Maso Di Banco
(active 1320-50 in Firenze)
Florentine painter who was the most talented of Giotto’s pupils. Maso’s work displays a style that effectively and intelligently incorporated the teachings of the master. It was the work of Maso that Ghiberti singled out in the 15th century for praise. Maso is mentioned in connection with the Bardi family in a document of 1341. It was a member of this family that provided for the foundation of a chapel bearing the family name. The Bardi di Vernio chapel in Sta. Croce was largely decorated by Maso di Banco. The frescoes representing five scenes from the legend of St Sylvester possess clarity of design and harmony of colour. The architectural settings and figures in the St Sylvester Resurrecting the Ox and St Sylvester Resurrecting the Two Magi Killed by a Dragon anticipate the monumental style of Masaccio and Piero della Francesca.
Maso’s elegance, the suaveness of his contours, and his use of colour display elements of Sienese and Florentine influence, yet his style always remained severe and monumental like that of Giotto. He became a distinguished master in Florence, though he had few followers.