Brancacci Chapel, Florence

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 Reviews

Santa Maria del Carmine, Piazza del Carmine 00390552382195

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  • meaganelizabeth's Profile Photo

    Brancacci Chapel to see Masaccio

    by meaganelizabeth Written Aug 10, 2005

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    If you are interested in art of art history, please go see the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden. This famous peice of Masaccio is quite enthralling. The fresco has been cleaned and worked on since 2001. This is a picture of the before and after.

    Expulsion from the Garden of Eden
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    Brancacci Chapel: A Must for Art Lovers!

    by JoostvandenVondel Updated Aug 8, 2009

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    Those who spend but a few days in Florence will probably overlook this incredibly important structure which many scholars believe is the embodiment of the roots of the Renaissance style. This chapel was the inspiration of many Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo and is often seen as the precursor to the Sistine Chapel.

    The 'Cappella dei Brancacci' was begun in 1386, as a chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine. Hovever, it's crowning glory, the painting cycle representing the Life of Saint Peter, was painted between 1425 and 1427 as basically a co-operative effort between Masolino da Panicale and Masaccio (with some later additions by Filippino Lippi).

    The painting cyle, which is equivalent to the function of stained glass windows during the Middle Ages, was a pictoral means of instructing the faithful of certain biblical passages or lives of the saints. This must always be kept in mind when contemplating such works. Yes, the work itself is noted for its scientific perspective, its use of chiaroscuro (juxtaposition of light and dark, giving depth and adding drama to a painted work) and the naturalism by which the figures are portrayed. Yet, the visitor must try and appreciate the faith that the artists put into its creation and the effect it would have on the faithful's contemplation on the deeds of Christ's first successor.

    The Chapel is flanked by two pillasters with scenes from the Garden of Eden. To the right one can see Masolino's 'Temptation of Adam and Eve' and to the right Masaccio's 'Expulsion from the Garden of Eden'. The juxtaposition of these two frescoes would recall to the religious how, what seemed to be a relatively innocent succombing to a mild temptation, would lead to the anguish of exil from Paradise, an anguish so incredibly caught on the faces of Adam and Eve in the fresco by Masaccio.

    Within the interior of the chapel, the prayerful would be relieved to see how the Gospel reveals to the Christian the good news of benevolence and redemption. Saint Peter is the major figure of these frescoes, and indeed, the successor of Christ rarely gets such artistic devotion as he does in the Brancacci Chapel. The most famous of the frescoes, 'The Tribute Money' located on the upper right wall, figures both the successor of Christ and Christ himself in a three part narrative. The narrative is based on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew 17: 24-27 where the Evangelist states:

    24 When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel came to Peter and said, 'Does your master not pay the half-shekel?'
    25 'Yes,' he replied, and went into the house. But before he could speak, Jesus said, 'Simon, what is your opinion? From whom do earthly kings take toll or tribute? From their sons or from foreigners?'
    26 And when he replied, 'From foreigners,' Jesus said, 'Well then, the sons are exempt.
    27 However, so that we shall not be the downfall of others, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that rises, open its mouth and there you will find a shekel; take it and give it to them for me and for yourself.'

    In the centre we see Peter receiving the order from Christ; on the left, Peter is shown tenderly extracting the coin from the fish; on the right he is shown giving the tax.

    Another amazing fresco is that of Saint Peter 'Healing of the Cripple and the Raising of Tabitha'. Most will recognise the miracles of Jesus, but few recall the promise that Christ left his power of miracles to his disciples through the Holy Spirit. In this scene, we see the somewhat stern-faced yet benevolent disciple performing two miracles. Both miracles are portrayed within a Florentine setting as shown by the architecture in the background and the Florentine gentleman dressed stylishly in the foreground. Again, we must understand the context of these paintings. Strength combined with benevolence were two vertues well estimed by the Florentine Republic and the church-goers of the day would be reminded of the sanctity of these traits (not to mention the tax giving which was necessary for the well being of the earthly, or rather municipal, state). It would be ashame if we could not attempt to deduct deeper meaning from the frescoes rather than viewing them solely as illuminated works of art through our contemporary eyes.

    The Brancacci Chapel has a different access than the church of Santa Maria del Carmine and times of entry are also different. You can see some of the church from the Chapel, but if you want to visit the Church, you will have to exit the chapel via the adjoining convent (through which you enter). I was lucky enough not to have to queue up and the guardian allowed us more time than generally permitted in the Chapel. This is a very special place, and I highly recommend a visit!

    Admittance time. Weekdays: 10 am - 5 pm; reservation required; the ticket office closes 30 minutes before the museum closing time.
    Holidays: 1 pm - 5 pm; reservation required; the ticket office closes 30 minutes before the museum closing time.
    Closed on: Tuesday. December 25, January 1and 7, Easter, May 1, July 16, August 15. -
    Entrance: € 4.00; combined ticket Cappella Brancacci and Palazzo Vecchio; € 8.00

    Brancacci Chapel, View Cappella Brancacci, Masolino's Temptation Masaccio's Expulsion from the Garden of Eden Cappella Brancacci, Masaccio's Tribute Money Healing of the Cripple and Raising of Tabitha
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    Renaissance Art in the Brancacci Chapel

    by brendareed Written Jun 14, 2014

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    When I left for Florence, I knew I would be seeing some incredible art – after all I was going to a Renaissance art history course in the city! I had a short list of must-see pieces that I would’ve been disappointed to leave without seeing. In the case of the Brancacci Chapel, it was not just one piece –the entire chapel was on my list!

    The Brancacci Chapel is located in Church of Santa Maria del Carmine, which is on the other side of the Arno River – not a far walk if the weather is nice (it isn’t far if the weather is bad either, just seems longer!). As you look at the church, the entrance to the chapel is actually to the right of the church – you can’t get to it directly from the regular part of the church. Enter through the door and pay the admission fee. They will direct you to the chapel.

    The chapel was painted by Masalino and Masaccio, Masaccio being the more famous of the two. Later on Filippino Lippi would complete portions of the chapel. Michelangelo was influenced by Masaccio (and he lived about 100 years after Masaccio) and would come to this chapel for inspiration. He is quoted as saying that his only inspiration was Masaccio and God – quite a high honor then for Masaccio! It is said that this is the chapel where Michelangelo got into a fight and had his nose broken. So the place has some history and great artists attached to it.

    See my separate tips about Massacio's Tribute and Expulsion of Adam and Eve.

    Another important part of this chapel is the highlights in the paintings – look at them and figure out where the light is coming by where the highlights and shadows are. If you look at the center wall above the altar, there used to be a window up there that gave natural light. Masaccio painted this using unified light (another trendsetting technique) as if the paintings were being lit from that window!

    The other scenes in the painting tell the story of the life of Peter, including his crucifixion on an upside down cross (he didn’t want to be crucified in the same manner as Christ). You can see Peter healing a man by his shadow, being put in jail and leaving, and other miracles. And you can see Masaccio himself in the chapel – he is the man in the red looking out from the right door (on the far left side below The Tribute ).

    The ceiling has been redone in Baroque style after a fire destroyed it. Before you leave the church if it isn’t open to go into, try to catch a glimpse of the nave ceiling – it shows some pretty fine architecture that is all paint!

    Warning – they let you take photos but do not deviate from the barriers they have set up and please don’t touch anything or even think of leaning against the marble wall or sitting on the marble steps. You will hear about it from the guard. We watched one women slip in quietly to part of the church outside the barricade to pray and she was brusquely removed. When you take photos, don’t use a flash – the flash isn’t allowed because over time it can damage the artwork. This is just common sense whenever you are taking photos of paintings.

    Weekdays: 10-17 (closed on Tuesday)
    Sundays and holidays: 13-17
    Closed on New Year’s Day, 7 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 16 July, 15 August, Christmas Day

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    Massacio's Expulsion at the Brancacci Chapel

    by brendareed Written Jun 14, 2014

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    The Renaissance is about rebirth – the renewing of human spirit and emotion – and you just don’t see it any better than in the Expulsion of Adam and Eve . You will find them on the top half of the left hand side, all the way over to the left. Look at the sorrow and grief on their faces as the angel guides them out of the Garden of Eden – they are absolutely miserable. The anguish in Eve’s face is particularly striking.

    This is one of the more famous works by Massacio found in Florence.

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    Massacio's Tribute in the Brancacci Chapel

    by brendareed Written Jun 14, 2014

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    To the right of The Expulsion is another Masaccio (he primarily painted the entire left side, Masolino the right side, and both worked on the center). This one is call The Tribute and you see the story of Peter paying the taxes in three parts: in the middle is the tax collector demanding the money and Jesus instructing Peter on where to find the money, to the left of this scene is Peter (with his robe removed and in a heap beside him) getting the money from a fish’s mouth, and on the right is Peter paying the taxes. This painting is important to Renaissance art because it is the first to apply a one point perspective, meaning your eyes are draw back to a single point (somewhere behind Jesus’ head) – the architecture of the building helps with this.

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    Brancacci Chapel

    by halikowski Written Aug 1, 2005

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    Masaccio (actually mostly Masolino's) expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Paradise. One of the earliest and most important frescoes of the Florentine Renaissance.
    Worth every bit of the 5000 lire entry charge. Now its probably 5 euros with all the conversion inflation Italy has become famous for.

    cloister of the Church

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  • vanessadb's Profile Photo

    Brancacci Chapel

    by vanessadb Written Aug 26, 2002

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    The frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel were begun by Masolino and Masaccio, and finished by Filippo Lippi after the latter’s death. There are twelve scenes, starting with The Original Sin and up to the Scenes from the Life of Saint Peter. The most famous of all are the dramatic Expulsion and The Tribute Money.

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    Brancacci Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del

    by rexvaughan Written Sep 15, 2014

    What a treasure this little chapel is. It features a number of frescoes by Masaccio who is credited with bringing three-dimensionality to painting. In his works, the figures are lifelike, emotional and seem to be moving. Giorgio Vasari, the acknowledged first art historian, says that painters studied Masaccio to “learn the precepts and rules for painting well.” Michelangelo is said to have visited this chapel to be inspired and instructed.
    One of Masaccio’s most famous frescoes, “The Expulsion from Paradise,” is here as well as a whole series of them behind and around the altar. Actually many of them were finished by Filippo Lippi after Masaccio’s death ended his brief career.
    I have included a photo of a sculpture, obviously a Pieta, but I don’t know who did it. I found the pensive look on Mary’s face, the twisted body of Jesus and the appearance of Mary being younger than Jesus very arresting. If you know more about this piece, please let me know.

    Pieta The Expulsion from Paradise

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