First use of perspective
One of the founders of art as we know it today was Masaccio (also spelled Masaccio). Born as Tommaso Guidi in 1401 Arezzo, a town near Florence, his nickname is interpreted as “Clumsy Tom”; the artist was often caught daydreaming and preoccupied with his work. Masaccio rejected the gaudy Gothic style and focused on giving his figures the appearance of weight and bulk, leading to his development of perspective. It was Masaccio who is credited with the first use of perspective and therefore changing Western painting forever. He brought a new freedom to his work, and his frescos inspired a young Leonardo da Vinci. This man was one of the few artists whose importance and impact was realized by others during his lifetime. Masaccio became a member of the Florentine Painter’s Guild, which was a honor for such a young man. Wrote Vasari: “It was Masaccio who perceived that the best painters followed nature as closely as possible (since painting is simply the imitation of all living things of nature” (Cummings 12). On a trip to Rome in 1428, the 27-year-old Masaccio died so suddenly that it is believed he was poisoned.