This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
Maso di San Giovanni, near Florence, on St. Thomas' Day, 1401. This date is disputed by some writers who place his birth in 1417. Masaccio was the son of Giovanni di Simone Giudi, a notary, and at a very early age began to show signs of unusual ability in drawing and color. He went to Florence and entered the circle of artists, most of whom are famous now for solving such problems as perspective and anatomy. These men were assisting Ghiberti the sculptor. Here Masaccio learned the principles of design and soon showed a superiority over his fellow-students and workers. It is claimed by some that Masoline was his instructor, but this is uncertain on account of the confusion of the dates. In 1417 he went to Rome and decorated the chapel in the church of San Clémente. Here he painted a crucifixion and scenes from the life of St. Catherine. He also painted portraits of Pope Martin V and Emperor Sig-ismund. In 1421 he returned to Florence and entered the guild of Speziali and in 1424 that of painters. It was through the influence of Giovanni di Bicci dei Medici, who had regained his power in Florence in 1420, that he received his commission to decorate the chapel of Brancicci in the church of Carmine. Some writers say that Masaccio was called to finish this work which was started by Masoline, so that not all the paintings here can be attributed to him. At this he worked from 1423 until his death, which occurred very suddenly at Rome in 1428. It has been hinted that he died of poisoning at the hands of his contemporaries, but this is very uncertain. Besides the works already mentioned, he painted frescoes in Santa Maria Novella and a group of St. Ann, the Virgin and the infant Savior, which originally was for the church of St. Ambrogio but now is in the Academia delle Belle Arti in Florence. A number of paintings by Masaccio, not in existence now, are mentioned by Vasari. Masaccio has been called the founder of modern painting, as he broke the ties that bound art to the traditions of the church and the time. He solved the problem of so foreshortening the feet that the figures did not seem to be standing on tiptoe. He was the first to paint landscape backgrounds with any degree of success, and in his painting of the figure he caught the very essence of the inner life. His decorations in the Brancicci have been studied and loved by some of the world's greatest painters, among them Michael Angelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and many of less fame. See Jameson's Italian Painting.
Masaniello (mä'' ză-nyĕVlo), rightly Tom-maso Aniello, a fisherman of Amalfi, Italy, was born about 1622, and became a Neapolitan insurrectionist and the leader of the revolt which took place in Naples in July, 1647, against the Spanish viceroy, the duke
of Arcos. A government was set up by the citizens, and Masaniello was made captain-general of the Neapolitan people. An attempt of some nobles to kill him cost their own lives; the viceroy was obliged to give back the privileges bestowed on the citizens by Charles V; and the people were allowed to keep their arms till this agreement should be ratified by the king of Spain. The rising brought to a successful end, the hero of the hour threw off his rich robes and declared himself a fisherman again. But the people would not let him resign. The next day he was a different man; either success or poison had turned his head, and the freedom he had fought for soon gave place to a reign of terror. The people fell away from him, and the viceroy's agents had no trouble in assassinating him at Naples, July 16, 1647. His reign lasted just nine days. Auber's opera of Masaniello is based on the story.
Mascart (măs-kãr'), Eleuthere Elie N., an eminent French physicist, born Feb. 20, 1837. He entered the normal school at Paris in 1858 and received his doctor's degree in 1864. In 1872 he was appointed professor of physics in the College of France. In 1878 he was placed in charge of the meteorological bureau of France. He was elected to the Academy of Sciences in 1884. His principal work is along the line of atmospheric electricity, optics and terrestrial magnetism. As a writer of treatises on these subjects he has rendered important service.
Mashonaland (mă-shō'nà-lănd'), Africa, is the region northeast of Matabeleland (q. v.) It includes the plain — 4,000 to 4,600 feet high — whose backbone is formed by Um-vukwe Mountains. It is said to be the healthiest part of South Africa, with rich soil, grass all the year round and many running streams. The Matabele drove the Mashona to the mountains, where they built their villages on almost inaccessible crags. A peaceful and industrious people, of the Bantu race, they lived in the greatest fear of their fierce neighbors. They raise rice, Kafir corn, Indian corn, groundnuts, sweet potatoes, tobacco and cotton, which they weave into blankets. Iron, copper and gold are found in large quantities. Mauch, a German traveler, discovered many old mines which at one time had been skillfully worked, especially at a place called Zimbabwe, which he thought was the Ophir of the Bible. Mashonaland became a British protectorate in 1888, and now has 392,500 inhabitants. With Matebeleland, Mashonaland has since been organized by the British South African Company, under Cecil Rhodes, and is now named Southern Rhodesia. The native population is 410,300, and the Europeans number about 5,000. The capital is Salisbury (population about 2,000), which is now reached by a railway line from Bulawayo, thence south to the Cape. See Montagu Kerr's The Far hue-