That big or fat or messy, clumsy Tom,
Masaccio, the painting master
Realistically portraying God’s Kingdom
On canvas framed and on walls of plaster.
Upon the latter such he did receive
Censor by prudes who blushed and brushed his lines
With fig leaves put across Adam and Eve.
All do they hide is their own impure minds.
This artist deserves much more man’s respect.
Though died so young, he gave such influence
To those who followed his point of perspec-
Tive, the Vanishing Point for evidence.
It is not the nudity that’s evil.
It’s the censorship plays the Devil.
There are those delicate souls of less wit
Who take offence at innocence and truth
Fearful of natural depiction. It
Drives them to destruction with oh such ruth-
Lessness they hide from us the whole; forsooth,
These many generations, until some brave
Soul restored it to what the artist gave.
Adam as he was
And so does
Thus not shamed by nudity,
Shamed by sin they be.
NOTE: This ode consisted of a Sonnet as the Strophe, a Rhyme Royal as the Antistrophe and a Shadorma as the Epode.
Masaccio (December 21, 1401 – autumn 1428), born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone. His penname means big, fat, messy or clumsy Tom.
The illustration and poem concern his painting, “The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden” (1425), which was part of a larger work on the Brancacci Chapel in Florence. This particular panel was many years later censored by someone painting fig leaves over the privates of Adam and Eve. The painting was smoke-damaged by a fire in 1771 and in the restoration the alterations were discovered and removed.