Michelangelo’s Pietà and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa
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Published: Fri, 04 May 2018
The Pietà (1498-1499) is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture by the renowned artist Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter Basilica in Vatican City. It is the first of a number of works of the same theme by the artist. The statue was commissioned for the French cardinal Jean de Billheres, who was a representative in Rome. The statue was made for the cardinal’s funeral monument, but was moved to its current location, the first chapel on the right as one enters the basilica, in the 18th century. It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed (See History after completion).
This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. The theme is of Northern origin, popular by that time in France but not yet in Italy. Michelangelo’s interpretation of the Pietà is unique to the precedents. It is an important work as it balances the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty with naturalism. The statue is one of the most highly finished works by Michelangelo.
The structure is pyramidal, and the vertex coincides with Mary’s head. The statue widens progressively down the drapery of Mary’s dress, to the base, the rock of Golgotha. The figures are quite out of proportion, owing to the difficulty of depicting a fully-grown man cradled full-length in a woman’s lap.
Michelangelo’s Pieta, Figure 1.8
Much of Mary’s body is concealed by her monumental drapery, and the relationship of the figures appears quite natural. Michelangelo’s interpretation of the Pieta was far different from those previously created by other artists, as he sculpted a young and beautiful Mary rather than an older woman around 50 years of age.
The marks of the Crucifixion are limited to very small nail marks and an indication of the wound in Jesus’ side.
Christ’s face does not reveal signs of The Passion. Michelangelo did not want his version of The Pieta to represent death, but rather to show the “religious vision of abandonment and a serene face of the Son”, thus the representation of the communion between man and God by the sanctification through Christ
Leonardo da Vinci in probably one of the most renowned artist in the world, in this work we will try to depict who the man is through some of his life and some of his predominate works such as The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and Self Portrait. These works and the man have been analyzed and critiqued over time and we will attempt to see how his affect on us helped shape some of the art world we live in today.
Da Vinci was an Italian polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and “his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote”. Marco Rosci points out, however, that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.
The Mona Lisa is a 16th-century portrait painted in oil on a poplar panel by Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci during the Renaissance in Florence, Italy. The work is currently owned by the Government of France and is on display at the Musée du Louvre in Paris under the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
The painting is a half-length portrait and depicts a seated woman (it is almost unanimous that she is Lisa del Giocondo) whose facial expression is frequently described as enigmatic.] The ambiguity of the subject’s expression, the monumentality of the composition, and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work. The image is so widely recognized, caricatured, and sought out by visitors to the Louvre that it is considered the most famous painting in the world.
Leonardo Da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in Florence, Italy. According to Da Vinci’s contemporary, Giorgio Vasari, “…after he had lingered over it four years, left it unfinished….” It is known that such behavior is common in most paintings of Leonardo who, later in his life, regretted “never having completed a single work”.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa
He is thought to have continued to work on Mona Lisa for three years after he moved to France and to have finished it shortly before he died in 1519. Leonardo took the painting from Italy to France in 1516 when King François I invited the painter to work at the Clos Lucé near the king’s castle in Amboise. Most likely through the heirs of Leonardo’s assistant Salai, the king bought the painting for 4,000 écus and kept it at Château Fontainebleau, where it remained until given to Louis XIV. Louis XIV moved the painting to the Palace of Versailles. After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre. Napoleon I had it moved to his bedroom in the Tuileries Palace; later it was returned to the Louvre. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) it was moved from the Louvre to the Brest Arsenal.
There has been much speculation regarding the painting’s model and landscape. For example, that Leonardo probably painted his model faithfully since her beauty is not seen as being among the best, “even when measured by late Quattro cento (15th century) or even twenty-first century standards.” Some art historians in Eastern art, such as Yukio Yashiro, also argue that the landscape in the background of the picture was influenced by Chinese paintings, however this thesis has been contested for lack of clear evidence.
Mona Lisa was not well known until the mid-19th century when artists of the emerging Symbolist movement began to appreciate it, and associated it with their ideas about feminine mystique. Critic Walter Pater, in his 1867 essay on Leonardo, expressed this view by describing the figure in the painting as a kind of mythic embodiment of eternal femininity, who is “older than the rocks among which she sits” and who “has been dead many times and learned the secrets of the grave.”
The Last Supper was created when Leonardo da Vinci was already a well known artist when he created his masterpiece The Last Supper. He painted The Last Supper on the back wall of the dining hall at the Dominican convent of Sta Maria delle Grazie in Italy. The reason this painting is laid out the way it is is that Leonardo was trying to “extend the room”, to make it look like Jesus and his apostles were sitting at the end of the dining hall. This painting became an instant famous work of art considering the religious aspects of Christianity at the time of its painting and is considered mysterious by some people to hold hidden messages about the life of Christ and his followers.
The Last painting of Da Vinci we will look at is his own Self Portrait. The portrait is drawn in red chalk on paper. It depicts the head of an elderly man in three-quarter view, turned towards the viewer’s right. The subject is distinguished by his long hair and long waving beard which flow over the shoulders and breast. The length of the hair and beard is uncommon in Renaissance portraits and suggests, as now, a person of sagacity. The face has a somewhat aquiline nose and is marked by deep lines on the brow and pouches below the eyes. It appears as if the man has lost his upper front teeth, causing deepening of the grooves from the nostrils. The eyes of the figure do not engage the viewer but gaze ahead, veiled by the long eyebrows, with a sense of solemnity or disillusionment. If this is indeed a self-portrait of Leonardo, his attitude may reflect the fact that by this time his career was largely behind him, and artistic fashion was beginning to leave him behind.
The drawing has been drawn in fine lines, shadowed by hatching and executed with the left hand, as was Leonardo’s habit. The paper has brownish “fox marks” caused by the accumulation of iron salts due to moisture. It is housed at the Royal Library (Biblioteca Reale) in Turin, Italy, and is not generally viewable by the public due to its fragility and poor condition.
This is just a small sample of the work and the life of one of the most famous if not the most famous artist in the world. All of his works have captivated the art community for centuries. This man probably shaped and influenced some of the greatest and brightest people throughout history. He is one of the most beloved artist as well he was very concentric in that it was not only art in which thing he influenced but here we will just talk about his art and how it helped shape the world of today.
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