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Abbeville Press Publishers, 1995 - Art - 245 pages
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Bold and realistic, the narrative power of Masaccio's entire body of work is explored in this elegant volume. In just seven years before his death at the age of twenty-six, Masaccio (1401-1428) developed a fully naturalistic and dramatic style that inaugurated Renaissance painting.
His best-known work is the fresco cycle in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence (painted with Masolino), one of the world's artistic landmarks. Recently restored, these frescoes - with all of Masaccio's other works - are shown in stunning detail in this volume. An opening essay places the painter in his historical and art-historical context, emphasizing Masaccio's innovations. The second part of the book presents two dozen important paintings in full-spread or full-page reproductions with enlarged details and annotated brief essays for each. The last section is an illustrated catalogue raisonne of all of Masaccio's works, from the frescoes on public view in the Brancacci Chapel to other panels in Europe and the United States.
John T. Spike's lucid, authoritative text traces Masaccio's artistic development with particular attention to the artist's connection to Donatello and Brunelleschi. He proposes a new reading of the iconography of the influential Brancacci Chapel, and discusses the extent of Filippino Lippi's over-painting in the chapel, based on information gleaned from recent ultraviolet and infrared photography that appears in this volume. Comprehensive and engaging, this profusely illustrated exploration of Masaccio's genius opens new lines of inquiry that will be explored for decades to come.

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Few painters have had the impact of Masaccio (1401-28), who helped lay the naturalistic foundations of modern art during a career that seems to have lasted only six years. In his useful synthesis ... Read full review

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About the author (1995)

John T. Spike is a critic and art historian of international standing. In 1979 he was awarded a PhD by Harvard University, presenting a thesis on the seventeenth century painter Mattia Preti, to whom he has subsequently devoted numerous publications, including the catalogue raisonne of the paintings (1999) and "Mattia Preti: The Collected Documents "(1998). In recognition of his contribution to the studies regarding the artist, he was awarded honorary citizenship of Taverna, birthplace of Mattia Preti.
During his career, Spike has organized numerous exhibitions of Italian art and has spoken at conferences in leading museums and galleries throughout the world, including the Pinacoteca Nazionale de Bologna, the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Palazzo Te in Mantua, the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musee du Louvre in Paris, Palazzo Barberini in Rome, the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, the La Valletta National Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He is a permanent consultant to two Italian museums, the Museo Civico of Taverna and the Museo Civico of Urbania, and of the Cathedral Museum of Mdina, Malta. He has accepted invitations to speak in public at the British Institute in Florence, Harvard University, Yale University and the University of Malta.
Since 1989, Spike has been the General Editor of Abaris Books, Norwalk, Connecticut, and has published "The Illustrated Bartsch," a multiple volume compendium of the European prints made prior to 1750; he is also the author of four of the over ninety volumes published by Abaris Books.
As well as the catalogue raisonne of the paintings of Caravaggio (Abbeville Press, New York-Paris, 2001), Spike has recently published important books on the Florentine Renaissance: "Masaccio" (Abbeville Press, 1996), and "Fra Angelico" (Abbeville Press, 1997), that have also appeared in Italian and French (the second also being published in German by Hirmer Verlag). "Fra Angelico "was nominated "Art Book of the Year 1997" by the Hearst press in the United States.
As well as being the author of a great number of articles and reviews covering a vast range of themes for art periodicals such as" The Burlington Magazine "and "Il giornale dell-arte," Spike is a permanent member of the international editorial boards of "FMR" and "Studi di storia dell'arte." He is also a member of the jury for the Treviso Prize, one of the most prestigious Italian prizes devoted to creation and conservation within the ambit of culture. In 1998 he was awarded the Anthurium Prize, an annual Calabrian award for services to culture.
He has written essays on numerous contemporary artists that have been included in books and exhibition catalogues in New York and Italy. He was a member of the jury for the First Contemporary Art Biennial held in Florence in December 1997, and was subsequently nominated as the event's director.
Born in New York in 1951, John T. Spike has lived in Florence since 1989 with his wife Michele and their son Nicholas.

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