Essay on High Renaissance

Submitted By creeme
Words: 901
Pages: 4

High and Late Renaissance in Italy Following the artistic developments of the early renaissance came a period from late 15th through the 16th century, called the High Renaissance. This period was the height of the combined stylistic creations of the early Renaissance. Many famous artists thrived in this period, producing beautiful artwork, of which much is considered masterpieces. This period of artistic flourish provided for some of the most famous artists in history including Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Leonardo da Vinci is considered the most influential artist and thinker of this time. He, unlike many other artists, did not idealize nature. He had many interests in science and the natural world, which contributed to his incredible ability to portray subjects and scenes surrounding them in the way that they were actually viewed. His paintings, among many of his other achievements show his profound knowledge of the human anatomy, light, human expression, and his subtle progression of tone. In Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna of the Rocks, many of these qualities are shown. As previously stated, Leonardo “believed modeling with light and shadow and expressing emotional states were the heart of painting” (Kleiner, 259). The figures in this painting are The Virgin Mary, Christ child, John the Baptist, and an angel, all of whom seem to be separated by fantastic light and shadow from the dull light of the echoing landscape. Leonardo uses the prevalent technique of atmospheric perspective, from the early Italian Renaissance, to give this painting depth and to make his subjects appear as if there were miles of air between them and the landscape. More of these stylistic features appear in one of Leonardo’s, and perhaps the world’s, most famous portrait, the Mona Lisa. His, often used, technique of chiaroscuro, is shown by the illuminated, plausible subject of, Lisa di Antonio Maria Gherardini contrasting with the somber, blurred background. This is combined with atmospheric perspective to guide the viewer to the details of the lively subject. Leonardo da Vinci also, often, used gradual tones to create curiosity. This is called sfmuato and this technique smoothed sharp edges, blending the light with shadow. In Mona Lisa’s smile, this technique is used, eliminating the lines in her face that would clearly depict her emotion; however, because these facial features are blended, there is a lingering question as to whether she is smiling from happiness or whether this is an expression of sorrow. Raphael’s style greatly changed from his schooling in “the Studio of Perugino” (Kleiner, 263), upon seeing the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. His painting of Madonna in the Meadow contains influence from Leonardo da Vinci’s tendency of pyramidal grouping and Michelangelo’s sculptural quality of figures, discussed later. Raphael differs from both of these artists, however, in using clarity in both his figures and everything surrounding them. There is no difference in light to detach the subjects from a mysterious backdrop and the figures contain Raphael’s “definitive rendering of this sublime theme of grace and dignity” (Kleiner, 263); areas where Raphael creates his own ingenious identity in the High Renaissance period. Michelangelo, though proficient in many artistic styles and mediums, “thought of himself, first, as a sculptor” (Kleiner, 265). He believed that sculptors get to “make man” from images of the mind. These images of the mind are not to be confused with being developed in the mind, however. Rather, Michelangelo, just as Leonardo da Vinci and many other Renaissance artists believed that these ideas are