Mary D Edwards, Adjunct Professor (CCE) published the following:
“Masaccio’s Shivering Neophyte” in Source: Notes in the History of Art, XXXIV, No. 3 (Spring 2015), pp. 9-16
In the note, Edwards argues that Masaccio Peter Baptizing the Neophytes may well have been inspired in part by Taddeo Gaddi’s Baptism of Jesus, a panel once part of a cupboard originally located in Santa Croce in Florence and attributed to Giotto. The trecento artist produced a unique version of the baptism of Jesus: Not only did he depict Jesus kneeling in the River Jordan rather than standing but he showed him entirely nude and gripping his upper arm with one hand as if cold. Masaccio could well have taken the motif of Jesus’ very human reaction to cold air on naked flesh from Gaddi’s image and used it for his shivering neophyte; and he may have used the pose of a nude Jesus kneeling in the water for the convert over whom Peter pours the baptismal waters. In both Gaddi’s and Masaccio’s works the depiction of the reaction of exposed skin to chilly air is an extraordinary example of the realism associated not only with the painters of the Renaissance but with those of late medieval Italy who heralded Humanism.