What were the unique characteristics of Renaissance art? Artists often portrayed religious subjects, but they used a realistic style Art had more secular, or worldly, overtones Artists used perspective, which shows three dimensions on a flat surface
Donatello –Made sculpture more realistic by carving natural postures and expressions that reveal personality –David was first large, free- standing nude statue of the Renaissance (late 1460s) Sculpture
Leonardo da Vinci Da Vinci lived and worked from 1452-1519. He is identified as the “Renaissance Man” or known for being an expert in all subjects including painting, sculpture, architecture, engineering, military science, botany, anatomy, geology, aerodynamics, and optics. He left behind 10,000 pages of drawings, ideas, sketches and notes. He is famous for writing left-handed, in reverse, or mirrored images. However, he only left about a dozen paintings.
The Last Supper (1495-1498) was painted on a wall in the dining hall of the monastery in Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan. The wall mural is over 15x28 feet. Christ and His disciples are seated at a table celebrating Passover. Christ announces “One of you will betray me” and sends everyone into shock.
Order of disciples left to right- Bartholomew, James, Andrew, Judas, Peter, John, Thomas, James, Phillip, Matthew, Jude, Simon. Since Judas is the one who betrays Jesus, he is shown in shadow. He also is the only one featured with his elbow on the table which displays bad manners.
The painting contains several references to the number 3, which may be an allusion to the Holy Trinity. The Apostles are seated in groupings of three; there are three windows behind Jesus; and the shape of Jesus' figure resembles a triangle. There may have been many other references that have since been lost to the painting's deterioration.
The Mona Lisa (1503-1506 The Louvre, Paris) is the world’s most famous portrait. Her identity is said to have the wife of a prominent Florentine merchant.
The painting is called “enigmatic” or puzzling and mysterious because she has a gentle smile yet her eyes lack the same warmth. She has plucked eyebrows and eyelashes and a shaved hairline which was popular at that time. This adds to the unsettling feeling she gives. Her direct stare at the viewer which contrasts the serenity of the background also causes allure. She is considered an ideal woman. This small work (30”x21”) is said to have been Leonardo’s favorite because he carried it around with him until he died.
Michelangelo Michelangelo knew at a young age he wanted to be an artist and started working in Florence under the artist Ghirlandaio at age 13. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer.
The Pieta carved in1498 out of a single block of marble. However, the figures are out of proportion.
Mary is overly large compared to Christ. Mary is depicted youthful and peaceful, not heartbroken. Since its completion, the Pieta has sustained some damage. During a move in the 18 th century, Mary lost four fingers that were later restored. Then in 1972, and mentally ill man walked into the chapel and attacked Mary with a hammer while screaming “I am Jesus Christ”. Now the sculpture is in St. Peter’s Basilica behind bullet proof glass.
The Sistine Chapel took four years and five months to complete. The large ceiling contains four large and five smaller Old Testament scenes as well as 400 other figures that fill the space. There are 9 scenes from the book of Genesis with the best know being The Creation of Adam. To paint the large Last Judgment scene Michelangelo had to climb 6 or 7 levels of scaffolding every day. He once fell and badly injured one leg.
Contrary to popular belief, he painted the whole thing standing…not lying on his back. Burning candles and oil lamps created soot that darkened the images. Attempts to fix the damage simply made it worse. However, in 1979 restorers were able to clean the paintings appropriately over the course of 10 years. The room is now monitored for temperature and moisture control as well as filters that clean the air. The Sistine Chapel sees 19,000 visitors a day.
Raphael Raphael is known as one of the great masters of the High Renaissance along with Leonardo and Michelangelo.
Choose 1 of the following Recreate or create your own piece of Renaissance art. (A few of the pieces are featured on pages 478 and 479) –If you choose to create your own, you must tell me why it would be considered Renaissance art. Write an 8 line rap/poem based on the Renaissance. –The rap/poem must RHYME and have an AABB or ABAB rhyme scheme.