Instructor Linda King
May 13, 2013
da Vinci and Michelangelo
Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti (whom is famously known as Michelangelo), are two of the most well renowned artists of the Italian Renaissance and even today. Both of these artists impacted the art world with their Renaissance style painting, sculpting, architecture, and more. Although there were some similarities between da Vinci and Michelangelo such as getting their inspirations from bible passages, there were many differences as well such the way da Vinci’s colors blended and Michelangelo’s contours were very crisp. We will be taking a look at the differences between Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo as well as how these two artists influenced the art of the 16th century in Italy and Europe.
Leonardo da Vinci was born in a small town of Vinci near Florence in 1452. According to Kleiner (2010) Leonardo da Vinci trained in the studio of Andrea del Verrocchio and who is known as “Renaissance Man” for his brilliant application of humanist ideals in his famous paintings. Leonardo had an immense talent and an unrestricted imagination. Leonardo’s interests in art were so deep and unfamiliar because no other artist had prior experience with these interests. These interests were so great it may have frustrated any hope of all Leonardo’s brilliant mind could conceive. Nevertheless, Leonardo accomplished paving the road that both art and science venture on for generations to come. Most focuses on Leonardo are on his artistic ability and his contribution to the art world, however, Leonardo had an unsatisfying curiosity which was revealed in his extensive notes scattered with sketches involving botany, geology, zoology, geography, cartography, military engineering, animal lore, anatomy, and aspects of physical science that included both hydraulics and mechanics. Leonardo continuously made statements that all of his scientific investigations contributed to his art and enabled him to be a better painter. Leonardo grasped a better understanding of perspective, light, and color because of his in-depth explorations of optics (Pg. 458, Para. 1).
According to Pedram & Jafari (2008) Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th Century oil painting on poplar wood known as Mona Lisa, is the most famous painting in the world. Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait which shows a woman whose gaze meets the observer with a mysterious expression (Pg. 856, Para. 3). Harris & Zucker (n.d.) noted the Mona Lisa is probably a portrait of the wife of a Florentine merchant and her gaze would be meant for her husband. For reasons unknown, the painting was never delivered to the person intended and Leonardo da Vinci kept it with him when he went to work for the king of France, Francis I (Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa”, Para. 2).
Another extremely well-known piece by Leonardo da Vinci is Last Supper. According to Kleiner (2010) Leonardo da Vinci mixed oil and tempera and then applied much of it to a dry plaster called secco. Leonardo used this technique to develop a mural that would have a resemblance to oil painting on wood or canvas instead of fresco. There was a problem with this method though; the paint quickly began to flake on account of the wall did not soak up the pigment (Pg. 473, Para. 7). Kleiner (2010) noted that even though Leonardo had experimented with materials, this painting was Leonardo’s most impressive work both emotionally and formally. In this piece Christ is sitting at a long table parallel to the picture plane with 12 disciples on either side of him in a basic looking but large room. In this painting Christ’s hands are extended out and he makes a statement of “One of you is about to betray me” (Matt. 26:21) during the initiation of the Eucharist. The painting portrays the 12 disciples questioning their selves as well as some wondering about others in the painting “Is it I?” (Matt. 26:22) (Pg. 460, Para.