Tomasso di Giovanni, 1401-1428, Florentine painter, is best known for his frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel of the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, and for his use of linear perspective in the Trinity in Santa Maria Novella in Florence.
According to Vasari he was called Masaccio (a diminutive form of Tomasso with the pejorative ending -accio) because he was concerned only for his painting and had no interest in his appearance or in money making ( Vasari, Le Vite, Testo III.125). For Vasari he was important because 'no master of that age approached so nearly as this man did to the moderns', and because of his influence on later painters, including Raphael and Michelangelo, who studied his work in the Brancacci chapel (see Vasari, Le Vite, Testo III.123 and Vasari on Masaccio). Leonardo da Vinci also gave him a key role in the development of Florentine art - and for both Leonardo and Vasari Florentine art was the standard against which all art was to be judged (see Leonardo da Vinci on Masaccio). Reynolds in Discourse Twelve similarly stresses his importance as a precursor of Raphael and Michelangelo (see Reynolds on Masaccio). The House of Commons Select Committee 1853 Report on the National Gallery concluded that painters such as Masaccio did have historical significance; the Gallery should buy works which illustrated the art 'in its rise and progress, as well as in its perfection... What Chaucer and Spenser are to Shakespeare and Milton, Giotto and Masaccio are to the great masters of the Florentine school'.
Ruskin 's interest in Masaccio during his visit to Florence in 1845 can be seen in extracts from his letters at Works, 3.178 and Works, 3.180, and Works, 36.51. Few, though, would accept Ruskin's reference there to Eastlake and Kugler as wrong- headed in suggesting that the whole cycle was not by the same hand; the reference is to Kugler, ed. Eastlake, Handbook of the History of Painting, Part One, The Italian Schools, First Edition, p. 106).
On Masaccio's Tribute Money in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence see MP I:84. There are further references to Masaccio's mountains in the Tribute Money at Works, 5.396 and the plate facing that page, and at Works, 6.362.