(b. 1401, San Giovanni Valdarno, d. 1428, Roma)
Adoration of the Magi1426
Tempera on poplar, 21 x 61 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
This painting is the central predella panel of the Pisa Altarpiece, directly beneath the enthroned Madonna and Child. Compared to Gentile da Fabriano's painting of the same subject done in Florence just a few years before, Masaccio's treatment is entirely new. Besides offering lifelike portraits of the patron and his nephew in contemporary dress at the middle right, he has given the entire scene a convincing atmosphere which surrounds the figures and the landscape. In the distance, the atmosphere breaks down the clarity of the forms resulting in an effect which is referred to as aerial perspective.