Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Art History III


Venus of Urbino, Titian.

Titian created one of his great paintings of a nude for the Duke of Urbino.

School of Athens, Raphael.

Raphael and Michelangelo were in the service of Pope Julius II in the early years of the sixteenth century.

Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo.

Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci.

Mona Lisa (La Gioconda or Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo) It is a painting in oil on a poplar panel, completed circa 1503–1519. It is on permanent display at the Musée du Louvre in Paris

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".

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.

David, Michelangelo.

On August 16, 1501, Michelangelo was given the official contract to undertake this challenging new task. He began carving the statue early in the morning on Monday, September 13, a month after he was awarded the contract. He would work on the massive biblical hero for more than two years.

On January 25, 1504, when the sculpture was nearing completion, Florentine authorities had to acknowledge there would be little possibility of raising the more than 6-ton statue to the roof of the cathedral.

Michelangelo's David differs from previous representations of the subject in that the Biblical hero is not depicted with the head of the slain Goliath, as he is in Donatello's and Verrocchio's statues. Most scholars consider that the work depicts David before his battle with Goliath.

Michelangelo's David pose is unlike that of any earlier David; Donatello and Verrocchio had both represented the hero standing victorious over the head of Goliath, and Andrea del Castagno had shown the boy in mid-swing, even as Goliath's head rested between his feet, but no earlier Florentine artist had omitted the giant altogether. The contrast between his intense expression and his calm pose perhaps suggests that David is represented after he has made the decision to fight Goliath but before the battle has actually taken place.

In 1504 David was installed next to the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio. It took four days to move the statue the half-mile from Michelangelo's workshop into the Piazza della Signoria.

The Pietà, Michelangelo.

Michelangelo’s Pietà (or Rondanini Pietà) is one of the great tomb markers in the Vatican.

Pietà is one of Michaelangelo’s great nonfinito works. 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. 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.

Michelangelo made the sculpture Moses for the Tomb of Julius II.

Il Cenacolo or L'Ultima Cena, Leonardo da Vinci.

The Last Supper by Leonardo was painted at a monastery in Milan

The Last Supper measures 450 × 870 centimeters (15 feet × 29 ft) and covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. The theme was a traditional one for refectories, although the room was not a refectory at the time that Leonardo painted it. The main church building had only recently been completed (in 1498), but was remodeled by Bramante, hired by Ludovico Sforza to build a Sforza family mausoleum. The painting was commissioned by Sforza to be the centerpiece of the mausoleum. The lunettes above the main painting, formed by the triple arched ceiling of the refectory, are painted with Sforza coats-of-arms. Leonardo began work on The Last Supper in 1495 and completed it in 1498.

Sophisticated patrons, like the Medici, appreciated allusions to ancient Greek and Roman literature and commissioned Botticelli to paint mythological subjects, like the Birth of Venus.

Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli.

David, Donatello.
In the early part of the 15th -century, the Italian painter Masaccio provided new direction for Florentine painting.

With the bronze David, Donatello reintroduced the life-size nude, once so evident in the ancient world.

Scholars do not know the circumstances surrounding the creation of Donatello’s bronze David.

In 15th-century Italy, wealthy families, such as the Medici in Florence, were powerful and influential patrons of the arts.

Gate of Paradise, Lorenzo Ghibirti.

In 1425 Lorenzo Ghiberti was commissioned to design a pair of bronze doors for The Battistero of San Giovanni in Florence. He labored on the task for 27 years, fashioning a masterpiece that Michelangelo called "truly worthy to be the Gates of Paradise" for its remarkable beauty and grandeur.

Sculptor, painter, draftsman, architectural consultant, stained-glass designer, entrepreneur, author of a treatise on the arts, and the first artist to write an autobiography, Ghiberti could honestly declare in his Commentaries that "few things of importance were made in our city that were not designed or devised by my hand.”

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1476-1564) is reported to have called the Baptistery's eastern doors the Gates of Paradise, a reference to heaven's beatific entrance. The essays in Gary Radke's catalogue justify the Italian High Renaissance master's legendary praise of Lorenzo's Ghiberti's work some five centuries later.

Dome at the Cathedral of Florence (Dome of Heaven)

Brunelleschi designed the Dome at the Cathedral of Florence, symbolically represents the Dome of Heaven.

The governing body for the city of Florence met in the Palazzo Della Signoria.

Saint Luke was the patron saint of painters.

Giorgio Vasari wrote the first survey of Italian art in 1550.


The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects

Giorgio Vasari
Often called "the first art historian", Vasari invented the genre of the encyclopedia of artistic biographies with his Le Vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori (Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects), dedicated to Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, which was first published in 1550. He was the first to use the term "Renaissance" (rinascita) in print, though an awareness of the ongoing "rebirth" in the arts had been in the air since the time of Alberti, and he was responsible for our use of the term Gothic Art, though he only used the word Goth which he associated with the "barbaric" German style. The Lives also included a novel treatise on the technical methods employed in the arts. The book was partly rewritten and enlarged in 1568, with the addition of woodcut portraits of artists.

Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro dell’Arte (The Book of Art) instructs the artist in the technique of painting as well as the proper lifestyle for the artist.

The Cathedral of Florence is also known as San Giovanni.

Santa Maria del Fiore, Cathedral of Florence.

Post Renaissance

Saint Theresa of Avila in Ecstasy, Bernini.

The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music. The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe.

The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation, that the arts should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement. The aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors and expressing triumphant power and control. Baroque palaces are built around an entrance of courts, grand staircases and reception rooms of sequentially increasing opulence.

Incredulity of st Thomas, Caravaggio.

The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, El Greco.

El Greco (1541 – April 7, 1614) was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El Greco" (The Greek) was a nickname, a reference to his ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, ΔομήνικοςΘεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos).

El Greco was born on Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the centre of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.

El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Benvenuto Cellini.

Benvenuto Cellini was one of the most important artists of Mannerism.

Mannerism was the first style supported by the Catholic Church as propaganda for the Inquisition.

Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it. Mannerism is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) qualities.

Benvenuto Cellini (3 November 1500 – 13 February 1571) was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, painter, soldier and musician, who also wrote a famous autobiography. Besides his works in gold and silver, Cellini executed sculptures of grander scale. The most distinguished of these is the bronze group of Perseus with the Head of Medusa, a work (first suggested by Duke CosimoI de Medici) now in the Loggia dei Lanzi at Florence, his attempt to surpass Michelangelo's David and Donatello's Judith and Holofernes. The casting of this work caused Cellini much trouble and anxiety, but it was hailed as a masterpiece as soon as it was completed. Cellini made his most famous work in the French court at Fontainebleau.

Cellini's Saliera, made in Paris, 1540–1543; Gold, partly covered in enamel, with an ebony base.

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