Archive for February, 2013

The Sacrifice of Iphigenia

Posted: February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

sacrifice-of-iphigenia

The Sacrifice of Iphigenia was painted in 1671 by the famous Dutch painter Jan Steen.  This painting was one of the last great pieces before the fall of the Renaissance era.  Although most paintings of this time were different than those of the Italian Renaissance, The Sacrifice of Iphigenia shared similarities with paintings from that past.  Jan Steen utilized depth into the distance and lighting to focus on Iphigenia.  Also, this painting contains lifelike people and shading to make the people appear as though they are living.  These techniques are similar to the Italian Renaissance which was the pinnacle of art.  This famous painting was stolen in World War II by the Nazis who stole valuable artifacts as well as lighting cities in Europe on fire.  After the fall of the Nazis, the painting was then returned to its original owner and is now stationed at the Boston Museum of fine arts.

Jan Steen is reenacting a scene of capture and sacrifice during the battle of Troy.  Iphigenia, who is in the middle of the painting dressed in white, is being sacrificed by her father, Agamemnon, so the Greeks could sail off and fight Troy.  Iphigenia embraces her fate, and understands that the only thing she could control is her heroic response to it.  Agamemnon was a famous military leader, and was the son of the King Atreus.  The light from the background that shines on Iphigenia symbolizes her bravery, and that she is the center of attention in the painting.  The Sacrifice of Iphigenia was the last great piece of the Renaissance era, and symbolizes the bravery and heroism of a young woman doing the best for her nation.

Advertisements

David

Posted: February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

Michelangelos_David

Built from 1501-1504, David is regarded as one of the most famous sculptures of the Italian Renaissance.  Michelangelo constructed this masterpiece which is still an iconic image in the art world today.  This statue represents the biblical hero David, who defeated Goliath in the ultimate underdog battle.  The Battle of David and Goliath was a biblical story that consisted of a David overtaking the mighty Goliath who was a giant warrior.  David had no fear, and his emotions are summarized in his posture and facial expression in the statue.  Michelangelo started to build David when a group of overseers commissioned a project to construct twelve statues from stories in the Old Testament.  One of the biblical stories from the Old Testament was David and Goliath, which was the inspiration for Michelangelo’s David.  The statue weighs six tons, and it took a lot of effort to move David the nine times he was relocated.  The statue currently stands in Florence in the Galleria dell’Accademia, which is where Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous work the Vitruvian Man sits as well.

David represents confidence, strength and determination because of his heroic battle with Goliath.  Michelangelo sculpted David as if he was about to enter battle rather than in his triumphant victory afterwards.  Michelangelo does this because it shows David’s true characteristics that are essential to a true hero which, include; confidence, determination, and fearfulness.  Evidence to support this would be the flexing of the veins, the posture with his weight on one side, and having the face of determination.  Michelangelo thought that a hero should always be ready for battle, and not celebrate after a victory.  This statue epitomizes the hero that would never give up or back down from a challenge.  The nature of the hero that David represents soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties in Florence.  Florence was being threatened by large rival states at the time David was being constructed, and the statue idolizes the will to never give up no matter how big the challenge.  Michelangelo portrayed David as a true hero because of his determination through his posture and look throughout the piece.

Vitruvian Man

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

vitruvian-man-leonardo-da-vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci created many masterpieces during his career, and the Vitruvian Man is one of his most anatomical related pieces.  Drawn in 1487,  Da Vinci based it after the ideas of human proportions which were described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius.  Vitruvius  described the human body as being the sole source of balance and proportion in architecture.  He also thought that the human figure was essential into figuring out measurements numerically and anatomically.  Unlike most of Leonardo’s works, he drew the Vitruvian Man with pen and ink, which solidified his abilities and multiple talents with art.  This piece is also called the Canon of Proportions, which would symbolize Vitruvius’s view on the human body and its relation with the shapes of architectures.  The Vitruvian Man is currently stored at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, Italy.

During the Renaissance, people were intrigued by the human body, and were interested in finding out more on the topic.  Leonardo Da Vinci created this piece by observing the human body on his own and utilizing the works of the Roman Architect Vitruvius.  This drawing also symbolizes Da Vinci’s interest in the laws of proportion, and the measurements that make up the world.  Leonardo also attempts to relate man with nature in the Vitruvian Man by linking the figure of  a man to the proportions of the universe.  In addition, Da Vinci’s multiple sketches of positions and body parts symbolize how the measurements of the human body are similar to the measurements that are in nature.  Leonardo Da Vinci’s purpose for drawing this masterpiece was to show the symmetric relationship between man and the universe as a whole.

St. Peter’s Basilica

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

dome

St. Peter’s Basilica was constructed in 1626 by a handful of famous architects whom  include Donato Bramante and Carlo Maderno.  The most famous attribute of the Basilica is the dome at the peak of the building, which was a popular centerpiece on other building architectures during the Italian Renaissance.  The St. Peter’s Basilica dome was blueprinted by Michelangelo, who was also a famous sculptor and painter to go along with his architectural skills.  The Basilica is stationed in the Vatican City, which is the holiest Catholic Christian city in the world, and is where the Pope runs the Roman Catholic (Christian) Church.  The name St. Peter’s Basilica originated from Jesus’s Disciple Simon, who was commonly known as Peter.  Peter is recognized as the founder of the Christian Church, and he is reportedly buried in the foundation underneath the Basilica.  The interior contains exquisite sculptures, artifacts, and stone walls, and is a popular destination spot for many tourists.  The appearance of the Basilica is stunning from afar because it lays alongside the Tiber River, which is the third longest river in Italy.

St.Peter’s Basilica is the holiest Catholic Christian building complex in the world, and houses the most religious and spiritual artifacts in Catholicism.  The entire structure resembles the shape of the cross, which ties into the religion of Christianity and the Pope.  The shape also symbolizes the power of the religion through the crucifixion of Jesus, who Christians believe is the son of God.  The name of the Basilica also ties into the symbolizing shape because St. Peter was one of the leaders who started the Christian Church.  The name, St. Peter, links to Jesus because Peter was one of his Disciples.  Jesus is the most celebrated entity in Christianity, and is linked in every way imaginable, to St.Peter’s Basilica.  The shape and name of St. Peters Basilica symbolize the religion of Christianity and the most important entities in the Catholic Christian Church.

The Pieta

Posted: February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

the pieta

This sculpture, titled The Pieta, was constructed by Michelangelo from 1498-1499 and is one of the most historic monuments in western civilization.  Michelangelo was regarded as one of the most talented and versatile artists of his generation for his architectural skills as well as painting.  This sculpture was assembled by Michelangelo for the French Cardinal Jean de Billheres, who was a representative in Rome at the time.  The Pieta, which is made of marble, was made as the Cardinal’s funeral monument, and is the only reported piece to have been signed by Michelangelo himself.  The Pieta was one of Michelangelo’s finest works, and is currently stationed in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy.

The Pieta portrays the scene of when The Virgin Mother Mary first sees Jesus after his crucifixion.   Michelangelo depicts Mary to look like a young woman, which is odd, because Mary is often referred to as being old in many reenactments.  Mary’s youthful appearance symbolizes the purity of life, and that women such as The Virgin Mother that have good intentions, will never be treated hastily.  Examples of this would be that women with good intentions would never age or be in pain.  Also, another interpretation would be that The Virgin Mother Mary appearance and position could suggest that she is holding the baby Jesus in her arms.  The viewer of the sculpture is seeing an image of the future, while Mary is seeing the Baby Jesus after he was born.  Evidence to suggest this would be that Mary is staring down as though she is looking at a small child, and not an adult.  The Pieta illustrates the scene after Jesus’s crucifixion, and the time at which Christ was unified with God.

Mona Lisa

Posted: February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

mona lisa

This painting,  the Mona Lisa, is regarded as one of the most famous masterpieces of all time.    Painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, approximately from 1503-1506, the Mona Lisa set the stage for Da Vinci’s dominance in the art world.  The Mona Lisa is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, who was a member of the Gherardini family in Italy.  The husband of Lisa Gherardini asked Da Vinci to paint a portrait of his wife, and that is how the Mona Lisa came to be.  Da Vinci worked on the Mona Lisa for countless years, but failed to finish at first.  After being invited to France by the King to work in his castle, it is reported that Da Vinci took the Mona Lisa with him and finished the job.  The Mona Lisa was subject to theft in later years because of its huge popularity and high value.  Today, the Mona Lisa is priceless, and is the most iconic figure in art.

Leonardo Da Vinci is portraying the ideal wife, how humanity connects with nature, and the Madonna (The Virgin Mother).  The gesture the woman makes with her hands is a use of symbolism by Da Vinci that she is a virtuous woman and faithful wife.  The gesture is that her left hand is resting on her right hand that represents a feeling of calmness.  The beautiful landscape in the distance and the glow and faint smile of the woman reflects the idea that there is a link between women and nature.  The Mona Lisa woman seems to blend into the scenery, which gives the impression that she is a part of nature.  Da Vinci utilizes the way the Mona Lisa woman is seated to represent that of the Madonna.  The Madonna had a signature pose that was present in multiple paintings created during the time that the Mona Lisa was made.  Also, the posture of the Mona Lisa forms a triangle similar to that of The Holy Trinity.  Most paintings by Da Vinci were of the religious type, and often included formations of the Holy Trinity triangle.  In conclusion, the Mona Lisa represents nature, beauty, and the Holy Trinity of the Christian faith.

The Creation of Adam

Posted: February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Michelangelo_-_The_Creation_of_Man

This painting, titled The Creation of Adam, was made around 1511 by Michelangelo.  Michelangelo was one of the most gifted painters of the Italian Renaissance, and was also well known for his sculptures and architectures.  In this painting, Michelangelo depicts a scenery of when God created the first life on earth.  As you already know from Bible stories, Adam and Eve were the first humans to live on earth, and Michelangelo displays the scene of when Adam was created by God.  This painting was part of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel artwork in St Peter’s Basilica, and is the most famous painting from it.  The Creation of Adam is traditionally thought to illustrate the creation of man from The Book of Genesis when God breathes life into Adam.  This painting is one of the most iconic images of humanity, and hails a deeper secret within, that accredits Michelangelo as one of the most intellectual artists of all time.

Michelangelo displays the creation of man within this painting, but also portrays beliefs of the Christian Faith.  As each point out to each other,  their fingers are not touching which, symbolizes that Adam is receiving life from God.  In addition,  the similarity in each of God’s and Adam’s outstretched arms is a reminder that man is created from the likeness of God.  Above all, Michelangelo portrays the creation of man through a hidden image in the surroundings of God.  God,as well as the angels surrounding him, make up an image that is anatomically similar to the human brain.  Michelangelo is attempting to convey that God is giving man every quality, including thinking, thought, and emotions.  In the corner of the hidden brain image surrounding God, there is a sad angel present.  The placement of this angel is anatomically correct to the area of the human brain that is activated when someone experiences a sad thought.  Also, the scenery around God depicts the birth of a child, which includes the uterus and umbilical cord.  The red cloth is the uterus and the green string below is the umbilical cord.  This relates to the creation of man because God wants Adam to see the physical birth of man in retrospect to Adam, not having been born by a woman.  Michelangelo incredibly symbolizes the human brain long before this human organ was anatomically documented by medical science, and this baffles historians and physicians to this day.