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#L8 The Genius of Leonardo.docx

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The Genius of Leonardo • Founder of high renaissance • His work is foundational of Renaissance art • Looking at both his achievements and projects that he did not complete • Wrote a lot of about nature, engineering ideas • Art of painting was not just about painting but about knowledge and art • Andrea del Verrochio and workshop, completed by Leonardo, Baptism of Christ • Oil on wood • "...When Leonardo painted an angel who was holding some garments; and although he was but a lad, he excuted it in such manner that his angel was much better than the figure of Andrea"- From Vasari's Life of Leonardo • Leonardo painted the angels when he was Verrochio's workshop who is known for sculpture but the workshop did more • Closely at the technical analysis • Already the manifestation of an artist's hand who is different from Verrochio's hand • Angels-> beginning of softness and colours • Verrochio-> hard and structural beings • Leonardo, Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci • Oil on panel • Portrait painted on both sides • Reverse side: Latin inscription "Virtutem format decorat"= Beauty Adorns Virtue • The superficial beauty of this painting is a manifestation from inner beauty of the sitter embodies • To look as you walk around it; 360 degree painting • New genre of style in Italy • It was more common in the north • Just began to develop in Italy • How do we know who this it • Juniper (ginepro) bush= Ginevra • Reconstruction • Both sides of the paintings were cut • We know this because the earliest writings of this painting mentions of the height and the hands of the sitter • Scholars have emphasized the similarity to Verrocchio's Portrait of a Lady with Flowers • Not really a copy, it is not Leonardo had in mind the prototype, it was more of a reference in how to construct this painting • Verrochio's is looking directly at us but Leonardo's is not frontal but a sense of movement • Difference between the foreground and the background • The juniper is used to refer to the sitter • Sitter is in full light, and is set against a dark background-chiaroscuro • Important: early example of quintensencial (sp?) device-> Blurring of contour scfumafo (sp?) • Leonardo, Adoration of the Magi • Last production made in Florence • A work of art that is not finished • Oil on wood • The artist had done the drawing and transfered it onto the panel • Put the first layer of colours-> the light colours because of chiaroscuro • Only lay down the first layer and colour • Can see how Leonardo created a work of art • Important because of the technicality • Important for a iconographical view point • Working in a Florentine tradition • The Adoration of the Magi was designed in that form • Having a parade of the magi • The scene of Mary and christ is always on one side in order to accomdate the parade • But the iconography has changed in Leonardo's version • The virgin is not on one side but in the center of the composition • Magi are coming-makes a sense of movement but not the same concept of a parade • The back ground in Leonardo's has ruins • Which means Christ was the manifestation of the new religion and redemption of believers • Leonardo, Study for the Sforza monument • "And there are those who have been of the opinion (so various and so often malign out of envy are the judgements of men) that he began it [the Sforza monument] with no intention of finishing it, because, being so great a size, an incredible difficulty was encountered in seeking to cast it in one piece..." Vasari, Life of Leonardo • Sent a letter to Sforza; application letter • The main project Leonardo was given at the very beginning • It was to celebratation of Sforza is the rulers of Milan • This plan was never realized • It was meant to be huge and put in a public square in front of the cathedral of Milan • This project wasn't neccesarily new, we had Donatello and Verrochio but Leonardo's version was to be much more larger • They are standing horses-> to create a life like horse • Leonardo's version-> horse in motion, its legs up, completely different project in technical difficulties • The other two versions were done in peices, Leonardo's version was to be in one piece • It took him years to come up with a technique to make the horse as one piece • It was a huge achievement for him but the french army invaded Milan so he had to escape the city and couldn't complete the project • Leonardo, The Virgin of the rocks • Oil on wood • Made in milan • Painted for a confortimity-Fransiscan chuch in milan (?) • The subject of emmaculate conception of virgin • It was a theological dogma • The Virgin was born without the original sin •
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