Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 19th Renaissance Superheroes

Superheroes:  Introducing the Renaissance in Florence and Rome
 Introducing the Renaissance in Florence and Rome
January 19: Introducing the Renaissance in Florence and Rome                                         
Homework due today: Stoksdad, Chapter 12 continued (pp. 338-345)
In Class: Art Ninjas Part One – Leonardo and Donatello
Key Works and Terms:
  Donatello, David (12-20)
  Leonardo, Last Supper (13-12)
  Leonardo, Mona Lisa (13-3)
  Leonardo, Vitruvian Man (page 342)
  Leonardo, Virgin and Child with St. Anne (not in book)
  Raphael, Stanza della Segnatura (13-1)
  Raphael, School of Athens (13-5)
  Nam Jun Paik, Leonardo da Vinci (Reynolda House)Barbara Kruger, You Invest
  Perspective (Orthogonal, Vanishing Point), High RenaissanceSfumato, tempera,

Leonardo (Leo) — "The courageous leader and devoted student of martial arts, Leonardo wears a blue mask and wields two katana. He is the oldest of the four. Leonardo was named after the Italian polymath, scientist, engineer, inventor, anatomist, and painter, Leonardo da Vinci. (paraphrased from wikipedia)

Leonardo da Vinci (the Man)(1452-1519)-- The playful trickster and devoted student of engineering, painting, anatomy, botany, poetry, and more, Leonardo grew his hair long and surrounded himself with musicians, poets, and royals. He entertained his friends at court with his wit, and gave us some of the most famous paintings in all of history. Leonardo was younger than Donatello but significantly older than the other two artists and, though they barely knew each other, is sometimes characterized as a mentor to Michelangelo and Raphael, and lived to be 67 years old.. (me)

Michelangelo   Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles HD wallpaper for Standard 4:3 5:4 Fullscreen UXGA XGA SVGA QSXGA SXGA ; Wide 16:10 5:3 Widescreen WHXGA WQXGA WUXGA WXGA WGA ; HD 16:9 High Definition WQHD QWXGA 1080p 900p 720p QHD nHD ; Other 3:2 DVGA HVGA HQVGA devices ( Apple PowerBook G4 iPhone 4 3G 3GS iPod Touch ) ; Mobile VGA WVGA iPhone iPad PSP Phone - VGA QVGA Smartphone ( PocketPC GPS iPod Zune BlackBerry HTC Samsung LG Nokia Eten Asus ) WVGA WQVGA Smartphone ( HTC Samsung Sony Ericsson LG Vertu MIO ) HVGA Smartphone ( Apple iPhone iPod BlackBerry HTC Samsung Nokia ) Sony PSP Zune HD Zen ; Tablet 2 Android ;

Michelangelo (Mike or Mikey) — Easy-going and free-spirited, Michelangelo wears an orange mask and wields a pair of nunchaku. Michelangelo provides much of the comic relief, most of the time. He is the youngest of the four Turtles. While he loves to relax and eat pizza, this Turtle also has an adventurous and creative side. He is something of the "surfer" boy, speaking usually in a Southern California accent. He is named after the Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer, Michelangelo Buonarroti. His name was originally misspelled "Michaelangelo" by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman. (wikipedia)

Michelangelo Buonarotti (the man)(1475-1564)-- sometimes surly and often isolated. Michelangelo sometimes wore the same pair of leather pants for weeks, too busy with painting or careless of his appearance to change. He loved to worked long hours on sculpture, but his skills as a painter meant that he seldom had time to sculpt, as his paintings were in such high demand. IF any of the Renaissance artists could be described as a bad boy, that would be Michelangelo, as he ften went against norms and butted heads with the pope. 23 years Leonardo's junior, Michelangelo died at age 89. (me)

Donatello (Don or Donnie) — The scientist, inventor, engineer, and technological genius, Donatello wears a purple mask and wields the . Donatello is perhaps the least violent Turtle, preferring to use his knowledge to solve conflicts. He is named after the early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence, Donatello

Donatello (the man) (1386-1466) Trained as a goldsmith, Donatello gained some fame as a sculptor, though less than the other three artists here, with the result that we know much less about Donatello's life. Donatello died at age 80 when the second oldest artist of the group, Leonardo, was just 14.

Raphael (Raph) (1483-1520) — The team's bad boy, Raphael wears a red mask and wields a pair of sai. He has an aggressive nature and seldom hesitates to throw the first punch. He is often depicted with a Brooklyn accent. His personality can be alternately fierce and sarcastic, and oftentimes delivers deadpan humor. Still, he is intensely loyal to his brothers and sensei. Raphael is good friends with Casey Jones. He is named after the Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, Raphael.(wikipedia)

Raphael Sanzio (the artist)-- is the teams sweetheart and the youngest of the four artists.. Described as gracious, well-mannered, and polite, Raphael was  a great leader, running a large and highly successful workshop, meaning that he produced a great body of work despite dying at the young age of 37. Most of his works depict religious subjects. Unlike the other three artists, Raphael loved the ladies, and, though he never married, he had a number of affairs and a lifelong mistress. (me)\

Donatello seems the least likely of the Ninja Turtles. Personally, I would have picked Titian, who lived at the same time as Leo, Mich, and Raph, but lived in Venice, rather than Florence where the ninja's earned their fame. If I'd had to pick a Fourth Florentine artist, I would have chosen Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574). Giorgio seems like a pretty good Ninja Turtle name, and he did live at the same time as the others. He was only a passable artist, but a superstar writer and historian, so he seems like he would have rounded the team nicely. 

But, Donatello served an important purpose with the Ninja turtles as a less-violent problem solver. He serves an important purpose here by way of introducing several of the major principles of the Renaissance. 

Of the Four Artists who gave their names to the Ninja Turtles, Donatello is the earliest, by far the least famous, and certainly the least well documented. Art History has used Donatello for a very particular purpose: to signify the early Renaissance in a rather literal and cool way, writing a clear storyline onto his life and works, since the artwork made room for these interpretations, and the story of the artist was so sketchily drawn.

The very sketchiness of the story tells us something about the way the Renaissance ushers in our modern idea of the artist. We do, at least, remember Donatello's name, and history recorded that several of his sculptures were in fact his sculptures. This very practice: recording names and attaching artworks to them, tells a story of the changing role of artists in this, the earliest modern period. In the 1400's, our modern concept of artists as unique, specially gifted, or quite simply, worthy of recording, emerged.

Trained as a goldsmith, Donatello achieved a high degree of skill in that medium, as well as in marble, bronze, and architecture. He may not serve as an exemplar of the "renaissance man"-- a person with extreme skill in many areas, but he certainly had versatility.

More importantly, perhaps, Donatello demonstrated his desire to revitalize classical (now, what does that mean again?) ideas of celebrating the human form. His David was the first full sized nude sculpture to appear in Italy since Roman times. He sought to renew sculpture by bringing an intense realism back to his study of the human individual, and to achieve this feat he studied the art of Greek and Roman sculptors

Perhaps even more importantly for those of us living and working today, Donatello experimented and innovated constantly through his life. It's difficult to identify his works simply by looking at them, because his style evolved constantly. We have come to expect artists to innovate constantly, develop new ideas and new ways of working, but that certainly wasn't the case before the early modern period.
Key Work: Donatello, David, 1430-40

Donatello's name has come to stand for several of the particular traits of the Renaissance: he turned his gaze on Classical Greece, like the Kritios Boy, below from about 480 bce, adopting from that period a system of values that placed the male nude at the apex of aesthetic perfection, and creating idealized sculptures that emphasized unity, balance, anatomical accuracy, and a relaxed, serene naturalism.

In his later works, we can paint Donatello as moving through his own history of art, leaving the Greeks to move into more Roman standards. His sculpture of the Paduan Dictator Erasmo of Narmi shows obvious and direct debt to the Roman sculpture of Marcus Aurelius.

While it remains in an idealized mode, with Erasmo perfectly upright, stable, strong, and with the diagonals demonstrating Erasmo's forward motion,

Donatello depicts his face in a less idealized, presumably more realistic mode (1453). Later still, in a work like Penitent Magdalen, Donatello refuses idealization altogether, instead featuring a sometimes painfully realistic depiction of both the figure and the face.

His Penitent Magdalen (1455) takes cues from later Roman portraits, with their unflinching look at aging or blemishes, but this work by Donatello is far more individualistic-- or shall we say modern-- in its artistic analysis of the subject.

So, to repeat, Donatello has served Art History in two specific ways: he stands as a clear example of the way that artists of the Renaissance brought back to life the standards and ideals of art valued by classical Greece and Rome and he exemplifies that quality of modern artists of constantly inventing and reinventing themselves and their art.

Donatello, Penitent Magdalen, 1455

1000 words: A Dream Bird: Freud and Leonardo’s tricks; how can we use Biography and Psychoanalysis to Read images?

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) epitomizes the ‘Renaissance Man’: his picture appears in the wikipedia entry on the subject. The stories—and most of them are true—tell us that Leonardo painted an angel that made his master (Verrocchio) put down his brush forever;

Verrocchio, Baptism of Christ, 1475. Leonardo painted the angel on the left

Leonardo invented flying machines that inspired the first helicopter, made vast leaps in terms of our understanding of anatomy and hydrodynamics, invented the double hulled ship, the bobbin winder and the tank.

Leonardo was an accomplished musician and poet, a geologist, botanist, and geographer. He painted what many agree is the most famous painting in the world. He took that painting with him to France when he moved there at the request of King Francis I who loved and admired Leonardo so much that legend (probably apocryphal) tells us that he died in the king’s arms.
Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, King Francis I Receiving the Last Breath of Leonardo da Vinci, 1519, 1818
François-Guillaume Ménageot, Death of Leonardo da Vinci in the Arms of Francis I, 1519, 1781

Leonardo experimented constantly with materials and techniques, sometimes to disastrous effect. The Last Supper started deteriorating almost before it was dry. He did achieve extraordinary effects with composition and perspective though.

Última Cena - Da Vinci 5.jpg
Key Work Leonardo, Last Supper, fresco, 1494-1498
Andrea Solari, Last Supper, copy ~1520

Key Work Leonardo, Last Supper, fresco,  1498

Worth 1000 words: Leonardo's tricks and why Freud criticized themFirst, in lieu of a joke, a joke played by Leonardo, and an example of one of the many tricks he played on friends and loved ones.

Paraphrased slightly from Gaston DeVere's somewhat stilted and old fashioned 1915 translation of Giorgio Vasari. You can find DeVere's full translationhere.
File:Buckler b (PSF).jpg
Leonardo's father, Ser Piero da Vinci, at home at his villa, received a peasant who had who had made a buckler [a buckler is a round shield] out of a fig tree that he had cut down on the farm. The peasant wished for Ser Piero to get the buckler painted for him in Florence. Ser Piero asked Leonardo to paint something upon it. Leonardo found the shield twisted, badly made, and clumsy, so straightened it by the fire, and gave it to a wood turner to be made smooth and even. Leonardo coated it with gesso, and having prepared it in his own way, he began to think what he could paint upon it, that might be able to terrify all who should come upon it, producing the same effect as once did the head of Medusa.

"For this purpose, then, Leonardo carried to a room of his own into which no one entered save himself, lizards great and small, crickets, serpents, butterflies, grasshoppers, bats, and other strange kinds of animals, out of the number of which, variously put together, he formed in paint a great ugly creature, most horrible and terrifying, which emitted a poisonous breath and turned the air to flame; and he made it coming out of a dark and jagged rock, belching forth venom from its open throat, fire from its eyes, and smoke from its nostrils, in so strange a fashion that it appeared altogether a monstrous and horrible thing; and so long did he labor over making it, that the stench of the dead animals in that room was past bearing, but Leonardo did not notice it, so great was the love that he bore towards art."

Caravaggio's 1597 shield with head of Medusa. Many have suggested that Caravaggio studied Leonardo's shield, or at least read Vasari's account, but no one has yet proven the claims.

The work finally finished, though his father and the peasant had forgotten about it, Leonardo told his father that he might send for the buckler at his convenience. Ser Piero knocked at the door, and Leonardo asked him to wait a little; and went to the room, adjusted the buckler in the soft light from the window, and asked his father to come in to see it. Ser Piero, at the first glance gave a sudden start, not thinking that that was the buckler, nor merely painted form fell back a step, Leonardo said, "This work serves the end for which it was made; take it, then, and carry it away, since this is the effect that it was meant to produce."

Leonardo found the trick he played on his father very successful. Sigmund Freud criticized Leonardo for this sort of trick. Freud most criticized in the man that he called: "a universal genius... among the greatest of the human race."  Freud used biographical details of Leonardo's life to tell explore and explain his paintings, especially in his detailed study of The Virgin and St. Anne with John the Baptist. 

Key Work: Virgin and Child with St. Anne and John the Baptist, 

Key WorkLeonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, ~1505

Unknown Student of Leonardo, Mona Lisa Copy, ~1505
Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa copy, detail, image credit and news story about the copy here.

Most famous painting in the world? presumably one of the top five. Why? Where does she get her power?

Raphael Sketch of Mona Lisa

Marcel Duchamp, LHOOQ, 1919 

Salvador Dali, Self Portrait as Mona Lisa, 1954
Andy Warhol, Thirty are better than one, 1963 

Nam Jun Paik, Leonardo da Vinci, 1991

Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa and Self Portrait, details. 

Below, I have taken excerpts for you from Vasari's Lives of the Most Famous Painters, Sculptors, and Architects. You can find huge portions of this important text at the valuable site created by Adrienne DeAngelis, here.

fromVasari's "Life of Leonardo"

Supplemental/Optional Excerpts from Giorgio Vasari
THE GREATEST GIFTS are often seen, in the course of nature, rained by celestial influences on human creatures; and sometimes, in supernatural fashion, beauty, grace, and talent are united beyond measure in one single person, in a manner that to whatever such an one turns his atten- tion, his every action is so divine, that, surpassing all other men, it makes itself clearly known as a thing bestowed by God (as it is), and not acquired by human art. This was seen by all mankind in Leonardo da Vinci, in whom, besides a beauty of body never sufficiently extolled, there was an infinite grace in all his actions; and so great was his genius, and such its growth, that to whatever difficulties he turned his mind, he solved them with ease. In him was great bodily strength, joined to dexterity, with a spirit and courage ever royal and magnanimous; and the fame of his name so increased, that not only in his lifetime was he held in esteem, but his reputation became even greater among posterity after his death.

Leonardo, Self Portrait, ~1512

Truly marvellous and celestial was Leonardo, the son of Ser Piero da Vinci; and in learning and in the rudiments of letters he would have made great proficience, if he had not been so variable and unstable, for he set himself to learn many things, and then, after having begun them, abandoned them. Thus, in arithmetic, during the few months that he studied it, he made so much progress, that, by continually suggesting doubts and difficulties to the master who was teaching him, he would very often bewilder him. He gave some little attention to music, and quickly resolved to learn to play the lyre, as one who had by nature a spirit most lofty and full of refinement: wherefore he sang divinely to that instrument, improvising upon it. Nevertheless, although he occupied himself with such a variety of things, he never ceased drawing and working in relief, pursuits which suited his fancy more than any other. Ser Piero, having observed this, and having considered the loftiness of his intellect, one day took some of his drawings and carried them to Andrea del Verrocchio, who was much his friend, and besought him straitly to tell him whether Leonardo, by devoting himself to drawing, would make any proficience.

Verrocchio, Baptism of Christ, 1470's, Verrocchio was Leonardo's teacher. It's likely that Leonardo painted the Angel with his back slightly turned from us. Legend says that Verrocchio, after seeing Leonardo's amazing skills as a painter, never painted again.

Andrea was astonished to see the extraordinary beginnings of Leonardo, and urged Ser Piero that he should make him study it; wherefore he arranged with Leonardo that he should enter the workshop of Andrea, which Leonardo did with the greatest willingness in the world. And he practised not one branch of art only, but all those in which drawing played a part; and having an intellect so divine and marvellous that he was also an excellent geometrician, he not only worked in sculpture, making in his youth, in clay, some heads of women that are smiling,

of which plaster casts are still taken, and likewise some heads of boys which appeared to have issued from the hand of a master; but in architecture, also, he made many drawings both of groundplans and of other designs of buildings; and he was the first, although but a youth, who suggested the plan of reducing the river Arno to a navigable canal from Pisa to Florence. He made designs of flour mills, fulling- mills, and engines, which might be driven by the force of water: and since he wished that his profession should be painting, he studied much in drawing after nature, and sometimes in making models of figures in clay, over which he would lay soft pieces of cloth dipped in clay, and then set himself patiently to draw them on a certain kind of very fine Rheims cloth, or prepared linen: and he executed them in black and white with the point of his brush, so that it was a marvel, as some of them by his hand, which I have in our book of drawings, still bear witness;

Leonardo, Drapery for a Seated Figure, 1400's

besides which, he drew on paper with such diligence and so well, that there is no one who has ever equalled him in perfection of finish; and I have one, a head drawn with the style in chiaroscuro, which is divine.

Leonardo, Anatomical Studies, 1509-10

And there was infused in that brain such grace from God, and a power of expression in such sublime accord with the intellect and memory that served it, and he knew so well how to express his conceptions by draughtsmanship, that he vanquished with his discourse, and confuted with his reasoning, every valiant wit. And he was continually making models and designs to show men how to remove mountains with ease, and how to bore them in order to pass from one level to another ; and by means of levers, windlasses, and screws,

he showed the way to raise and draw great weights, together with methods for emptying harbors, and pumps for removing water from low places, things which his brain never ceased from devising; and of these ideas and labours many drawings may be seen, scattered abroad among our craftsmen; and I myself have seen not a few. He even went so far as to waste his time in drawing knots of cords, made according to an order, that from one end all the rest might follow till the other, so as to fill a round; and one of these is to be seen in stamp, most difficult and beautiful, and in the middle of it are these words, "Leonardus Vinci Accademia."

And among these models and designs, there was one by which he often demonstrated to many ingenious citizens, who were then governing Florence, how he proposed to raise the Temple of S. Giovanni in Florence, and place steps under it, without damaging the building; and with such strong reasons did he urge this, that it appeared possible, although each man, after he had departed, would recognize for himself the impossibility of so vast an undertaking.

He was so pleasing in conversation, that he attracted to himself the hearts of men. And although he possessed, one might say, nothing, and worked little, he always kept servants and horses, in which latter he took much delight, and particularly in all other animals, which he managed with the greatest love and patience; and this he showed when often passing by the places where birds were sold, for, taking them with his own hand out of their cages, and having paid to those who sold them the price that was asked, he let them fly away into the air, restoring to them their lost liberty.

For which reason nature was pleased so to favor him, that, wherever he turned his thought, brain, and mind, he displayed such divine power in his works, that, in giving them their perfection, no one was ever his peer in readiness, vivacity, excellence, beauty, and grace.

Leonardo, Vitruvian Man,

We praise Leonardo for his ability to convey psychological depth in his paintings. Many have also found great psychological depth in the man. Sigmund Freud found enough to pen a psychobiography of Leonardo in 1910, 491 years after the Renaissance man's death.

We know relatively little about Leonardo, but Freud manages to paint an entire psychological diagnosis based on the small amount of evidence. Let me summarize how Freud reads one image based on Leonardo's biography, and ask you what you think of that guiding question for the week: how does the biography of the artist contribute (both positively and negatively) to our appreciation of an image. First, though, remember that by entering the 16th century, we have largely left behind a time where we know nothing, not even the name, of most artists.

Key Work:Leonardo, Virgin and Child with St. Anne, ~1500-1513

Leonardo da Vinci, Virgin and Child with St. Anne, cartoon, 1499-1500

Original in the Bargello, Florence'David' by Michelangelo JBU0001.JPG

Donatello, David, 5+' ; Verocchio, David, 1475, 4+', Michelangelo, David,17+ '

Key Work: Raphael, School of Athens, 1510, fresco
Stanze della Ssegnatura. Raphael's paintings of Philosophy (School of Athens) , Theology, Justice, and Poetry-- the Four Branches of Knowledge
January 24: The Renaissance in Florence and Rome                                                          
Homework: Stoksdad 346-353
In Class: Lives of Artists – Raphael and Michelangelo; Michelangelo and Mannerism
Key Works and Terms:
  Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel Ceiling
  Michelangelo, Pieta (13-7)
  Michelangelo, David (13-8)
  Michelangelo, Moses
  Pontormo, Deposition (13-23)
Ron Mueck, Big ManMark Quinn, Alison Lapper Pregnant
  Mannerism, Patron

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