ANDREA DEL CASTAGNO
(b. 1423, Castagno, d. 1457, Firenze)
St John the Baptist1442
San Zaccaria, Venice
In 1442 Andrea went to Venice where he frescoed the ceiling of the chapel of St Tarasius in the church of San Zaccaria together with an artist known as Francesco da Faenza (probably Francesco Torelli). This is the painter's first signed and dated work, although earlier, presumably in 1440-41, he had already painted a Crucifixion with Saints for the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli, today in the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. Both this painting and the San Zaccaria frescoes depicting God the Father, Saints and Evangelists, show what a strong influence the work of Masaccio and Donatello had on the young Andrea. And in particular, Andrea's interest in Donatello's sculptural and linear dynamic power already evident in the Santa Maria degli Angeli Crucifixion, becomes much more obvious in the ceiling frescoes in San Zaccaria. Clear-cut outlines define the Masaccesque sculptural figures, so that their forms are strengthened and hardened.