Trittico di Masaccio

The Masaccio Museum of Cascia

A tribute to Masaccio

The "Masaccio" Museum of Sacred Art in Cascia (Reggello) is housed in the buildings next to the 'Pieve di San Pietro' in Cascia. There are paintings exhibited, as well as silverware, monstrances, thuribles, reliquaries, astylar crosses and other important ecclesiastical objects from the XV-XIX centuries, coming from various churches in the area and from the historical archives of the Pieve di Cascia. The Museum conserves the most valuable work of the Montagna Fiorentina: a Triptych with Madonna and Child and Saints, the first known work by Masaccio. The triptych portrays the Madonna seated with the Child and two angels in the centre, San Bartolomeo and San Biagio on the left, and San Giovenale and Abbot Sant'Antonio on the right, in tempera.

The inscription on the bottom of the triptych bears the date: "(ANNO DOMINI MCCCCXXII TWENTY-THIRD APRIL)", thus constituting the oldest known of the works by Masaccio, who was born nearby in San Giovanni Valdarno just 21 years before. 1422, the year in which the triptych was made, was also the year when Masaccio enrolled at the institute of "Arte dei Medici e Speziali" as other painters of that time in Renaissance Florence. The presence of San Giovenale in the triptych confirms that the work was created specifically for the church of the same name near Cascia, where the work remained until 1961 when it was taken away to be restored.

Up to then no-one had suspected that the charming but poor little country church had kept for over five centuries such an important work. It was only during the restoration that the critics recognised the handiwork of this great artist and it suddenly became famous. The presence of such a valuable work in a little church like San Giovenale is due probably to the Signori Castellani, patrons of the church and rich merchants and owners of the nearby fortress of the 'Torre del Castellano'. The golden halo of the Madonna bears an inscription in Arabic, probably inspired by a pilgrim or merchant who had visited the Middle East.
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Villas, castles and the Vallombrosa Abbey
Reggello is at an altitude of 390m and has a population of around 14 thousand inhabitants. There are many villas and castles nearby. The area is famous for the Vallombrosa Abbey and the Olive Oil exhibition that is held there. Reggello was home to one of the oldest known Etruscan settlements, probably chosen for its position on an old road that connected Fiesole and Arezzo. ...