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A good example of the work of Masaccio (1401-1428) and how it relates to the artistic innovations of the Early Italian Renaissance is his fresco, The Holy Trinity, with the Virgin and Saint John and donors (Santa Trinità). The fresco depicts the Crucifixion of Jesus with an unusual barrel vault in the background, which greatly enhances the three-dimensionality of the work. It is the earliest known surviving work to use systematic linear perspective, and the fresco features several of Masaccio's innovative techniques, including a vanishing point and the occupation of the viewer's space (with characters kneeling in the extreme bottom "front" of the piece). Its framed background was inspired by Roman triumphal arches, and Masaccio employs a technique known as trompe l'oeil ("deceives the eye") in which the barrel vault is
"... divided into squares with rosettes that diminish and are foreshortened so well that there seems to be a hole in the wall."
The fresco, which can be viewed in Florence's Santa Maria Novella Church, is highly three-dimensional except in one respect: The God who stands behind the Crucifix is given greater space since he is "an immeasurable being." The painting is also the first known work to use the iconic combinations of the Virgin Mary, St. John the Evangelist, God and the tomb in a single piece.
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