The story of Masaccio's masterpiece, completed by Lippi, inside Santa Maria del Carmine
The Basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine houses a real treasure of the Renaissance, the famous Brancacci chapel. Provision for the chapel had been made in the will of Pietro Brancacci, a wealthy wool merchant, but it was one of his descendants, Felice, who commissioned the frescoes depicting episodes from the life of St Peter.
Begun by Masolino and Masaccio, the cycle of frescoes was left unfinished in 1428 when Masaccio set off for Rome. It would be almost sixty years before they were completed, this time by Filippino Lippi, probably engaged by his patron, Pietro del Pugliese, who would also be depicted in the Story of the martyrdom of St Peter. So it is that chapel contains a variety of styles, Gothic, courtesy of Masolino, and the Renaissance of Masaccio.The Temptation of Adam and Eve on the right wall is countered by Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise by Masaccio, one of the first great painters of the Renaissance. Filippino Lippi’s style did not differ much from Masaccio’s. The hands of the two artists are recognizable In the Raising of the Son of Theophilus, left half-completed by Masaccio, which depicts Masolino, Brunelleschi and himself, while a self-portrait of Filippino and portrait of Del Pugliese are to be found in the Martyrdom of St Peter.