Michelangelo

Parkstone International
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Michelangelo, like Leonardo, was a man of many talents; sculptor, architect, painter and poet, he made the apotheosis of muscular movement, which to him was the physical manifestation of passion. He moulded his draughtsmanship, bent it, twisted it, and stretched it to the extreme limits of possibility. There are not any landscapes in Michelangelo's painting. All the emotions, all the passions, all the thoughts of humanity were personified in his eyes in the naked bodies of men and women. He rarely conceived his human forms in attitudes of immobility or repose. Michelangelo became a painter so that he could express in a more malleable material what his titanesque soul felt, what his sculptor's imagination saw, but what sculpture refused him. Thus this admirable sculptor became the creator, at the Vatican, of the most lyrical and epic decoration ever seen: the Sistine Chapel. The profusion of his invention is spread over this vast area of over 900 square metres. There are 343 principal figures of prodigious variety of expression, many of colossal size, and in addition a great number of subsidiary ones introduced for decorative effect. The creator of this vast scheme was only thirty-four when he began his work. Michelangelo compels us to enlarge our conception of what is beautiful. To the Greeks it was physical perfection; but Michelangelo cared little for physical beauty, except in a few instances, such as his painting of Adam on the Sistine ceiling, and his sculptures of the Pietà. Though a master of anatomy and of the laws of composition, he dared to disregard both if it were necessary to express his concept: to exaggerate the muscles of his figures, and even put them in positions the human body could not naturally assume. In his later painting, The Last Judgment on the end wall of the Sistine, he poured out his soul like a torrent. Michelangelo was the first to make the human form express a variety of emotions. In his hands emotion became an instrument upon which he played, extracting themes and harmonies of infinite variety. His figures carry our imagination far beyond the personal meaning of the names attached to them.
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About the author

Muntz was a member of the Institut de France and curator of the collections Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He has been one of the most influential specialists on the Italian Renaissance.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Parkstone International
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Published on
Dec 22, 2011
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Pages
82
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ISBN
9781780424705
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Individual Architects & Firms / General
Art / European
Art / General
Art / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
Art / History / Renaissance
Art / Individual Artists / Monographs
Art / Techniques / Painting
Art / Techniques / Printmaking
Art / Techniques / Sculpting
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Leonardo’s early life was spent in Florence, his maturity in Milan, and the last three years of his life in France. Leonardo’s teacher was Verrocchio. First he was a goldsmith, then a painter and sculptor: as a painter, representative of the very scientific school of draughtsmanship; more famous as a sculptor, being the creator of the Colleoni statue at Venice, Leonardo was a man of striking physical attractiveness, great charm of manner and conversation, and mental accomplishment. He was well grounded in the sciences and mathematics of the day, as well as a gifted musician. His skill in draughtsmanship was extraordinary; shown by his numerous drawings as well as by his comparatively few paintings. His skill of hand is at the service of most minute observation and analytical research into the character and structure of form. Leonardo is the first in date of the great men who had the desire to create in a picture a kind of mystic unity brought about by the fusion of matter and spirit. Now that the Primitives had concluded their experiments, ceaselessly pursued during two centuries, by the conquest of the methods of painting, he was able to pronounce the words which served as a password to all later artists worthy of the name: painting is a spiritual thing, cosa mentale. He completed Florentine draughtsmanship in applying to modelling by light and shade, a sharp subtlety which his predecessors had used only to give greater precision to their contours. This marvellous draughtsmanship, this modelling and chiaroscuro he used not solely to paint the exterior appearance of the body but, as no one before him had done, to cast over it a reflection of the mystery of the inner life. In the Mona Lisa and his other masterpieces he even used landscape not merely as a more or less picturesque decoration, but as a sort of echo of that interior life and an element of a perfect harmony. Relying on the still quite novel laws of perspective this doctor of scholastic wisdom, who was at the same time an initiator of modern thought, substituted for the discursive manner of the Primitives the principle of concentration which is the basis of classical art. The picture is no longer presented to us as an almost fortuitous aggregate of details and episodes. It is an organism in which all the elements, lines and colours, shadows and lights, compose a subtle tracery converging on a spiritual, a sensuous centre. It was not with the external significance of objects, but with their inward and spiritual significance, that Leonardo was occupied.
Miguel Ángel, al igual que Leonardo, fue un hombre de muchos talentos: escultor, arquitecto, pintor y poeta; logró expresar la apoteosis del movimiento muscular, que para él era la manifestación física de la pasión. Llevó el arte del dibujo a los límites extremos de sus posibilidades, estirándolo, moldeándolo y hasta retorciéndolo. En las pinturas de Miguel Ángel no hay paisajes de ningún tipo. Todas las emociones, todas las pasiones, todos los pensamientos de la humanidad están personificados, para él, en los cuerpos desnudos de hombres y mujeres. Rara vez concibió formas humanas en poses de inmovilidad o reposo. Miguel Ángel se convirtió en pintor para poder expresar en un medio más maleable lo que su alma de titán sentía, lo que su imaginación de escultor veía, pero que la escultura le negaba. Así, este admirable escultor se convirtió en el creador de la decoración más lírica y épica jamás contemplada: la Capilla Sixtina en el Vaticano. La vastedad de su ingenio está plasmada sobre esta vasta superficie de más de 900 metros cuadrados. Cuenta con 343 figuras principales con una prodigiosa variedad de expresiones, muchas de ellas en tamaño colosal, y además un gran número de personajes secundarios que se introdujeron como efecto decorativo. El creador de este gigantesco diseño tenía sólo treinta y cuatro años cuando comenzó su trabajo. Miguel Ángel nos obliga a ampliar nuestro concepto de lo que es la belleza. Para los griegos se trataba de la perfección física, pero a Miguel Ángel poco le importaba la belleza física, salvo en ciertas ocasiones, como en el caso de su pintura de Adán en la capilla Sixtina y de sus esculturas de la Pietà. Aunque era maestro en anatomía y en las leyes de la composición, se atrevió a hacer caso omiso de ambas cuando le era necesario para expresar sus ideas: exageraba los músculos en sus figuras y hasta las colocaba en posiciones que el cuerpo humano no puede asumir naturalmente. En una de sus últimas pintura, El juicio final en el muro del fondo de la Capilla Sixtina, dejó fluir su alma como en un torrente. Miguel Ángel fue el primero en hacer que la figura humana expresara una amplia variedad de emociones. En sus manos, la emoción se convertía en un instrumento que podía tocar para extraer temas y armonías de infinita diversidad. Sus figuras llevan nuestra imaginación mucho más allá del significado personal de los nombres que poseen.
Leonardo pasó los primeros años de su vida en Florencia, su madurez en Milán y los últimos tres años de su existencia en Francia. El maestro de Leonardo fue Verrocchio. Primero fue orfebre, luego pintor y escultor: como pintor, fue representante de la escuela científica del dibujo; más famoso como escultor con la estatua Colleoni en Venecia, Leonardo fue además un hombre de gran atractivo físico, encantador en sus modales y conversación y poseedor un intelecto superior. Era versado en las ciencias y las matemáticas de su época, además de ser un músico de grandes dotes. Su habilidad como dibujante era extraordinaria y puede verse en sus numerosos dibujos, así como en sus comparativamente escasas pinturas. Su habilidad manual estuvo al servicio de la más minuciosa observación e investigación analítica del carácter y la estructura de las formas. Leonardo fue el primero de los grandes hombres que tuvieron el deseo de captar en una pintura un cierto tipo de comunión mística creada por la fusión de la materia y el espíritu. Ya terminados los experimentos de los Primitivos, realizados de forma incesante durante dos siglos, y con el dominio de los métodos de pintura, fue capaz de pronunciar las palabras que sirvieron de contraseña a todos artistas posteriores dignos de tal nombre: la pintura es una cuestión espiritual, cosa mentale. Completó el dibujo florentino con el modelado por luz y sombras, un sutil recurso que sus predecesores sólo habían usado para dar una mayor precisión a sus contornos. Usó ese maravilloso talento en el dibujo, así como su manera de modelar la figura y el claroscuro, no sólo para pintar la apariencia exterior del cuerpo, sino para hacer algo que nunca se había logrado con tal maestría: plasmar en sus obras un reflejo del misterio de la vida interior. En la Mona Lisa y sus otras obras maestras llegó a utilizar el paisaje como algo más que una mera decoración pintoresca, convirtiéndolo en una especie de eco de esa vida interior y en un elemento de la armonía perfecta. A través de las todavía muy recientes leyes de la perspectiva, este docto erudito, que además fue un iniciador del pensamiento moderno, substituyó la manera discursiva de los Primitivos por el principio de concentración, que es la base del arte clásico. La pintura ya no se presenta al espectador como un conjunto casi fortuito de detalles y episodios. Se convierte en un organismo en el que todos los elementos, las líneas y colores, las sombras y la luz componen una trama sutil que converge en un centro a la vez sensual y espiritual. La preocupación de Leonardo no era la importancia externa de los objetos, sino su trascendencia interna y espiritual.
Léonard de Vinci (Vinci, 1452 – Le Clos-Lucé, 1519) Léonard passa la première partie de sa vie à Florence, la seconde à Milan et ses trois dernières années en France. Le professeur de Léonard fut Verrocchio, d'abord orfèvre, puis peintre et sculpteur. En tant que peintre, Verrocchio était représentatif de la très scientifique école de dessin ; plus célèbre comme sculpteur, il créa la statue de Colleoni à Venise. Léonard de Vinci était un homme extrêmement attirant physiquement, doté de manières charmantes, d'agréable conversation et de grandes capacités intellectuelles. Il était très versé dans les sciences et les mathématiques, et possédait aussi un vrai talent de musicien. Sa maîtrise du dessin était extraordinaire, manifeste dans ses nombreux dessins, comme dans ses peintures relativement rares. L'adresse de ses mains était au service de la plus minutieuse observation, et de l'exploration analytique du caractère et de la structure de la forme. Léonard fut le premier des grands hommes à désirer créer dans un tableau une sorte d'unité mystique issue de la fusion entre la matière et l'esprit. Maintenant que les Primitifs avaient conclu leurs expériences, poursuivies sans relâche deux siècles durant, il pouvait prononcer les mots qui serviraient de sésame à tous les artistes du futur dignes de ce nom : peindre est un acte intellectuel, une cosa mentale. Il enrichit le dessin florentin en intensifiant la perspective de champ par un modelage de l'ombre et de la lumière que ses prédécesseurs n'avaient utilisé que pour donner une plus grande précision aux contours. Cette technique est appelée sfumato. Cette merveilleuse maîtrise du dessin, ce modelé et ce clair-obscur, il les utilisa non seulement pour peindre l'aspect extérieur du corps, mais aussi, comme personne avant lui, pour explorer une part du mystère de sa vie intérieure. Dans sa Mona Lisa, sa Sainte Anne et ses autres chefs-d'oeuvre, il ne se contente pas d'utiliser le paysage comme un ornement plus ou moins pittoresque, mais bien comme une sorte d'écho de cette vie intérieure, un élément constitutif de cette harmonie parfaite. Se fiant aux lois toujours assez récentes de la perspective, ce docteur en sagesse académique, qui, à cette même époque, posait les bases de la pensée moderne, substitua à la manière discursive des Primitifs le principe de concentration qui est le fondement de l'art classique. Le tableau ne nous est plus présenté comme un agrégat presque fortuit de détails et d'épisodes. C'est un organisme dont tous les éléments, lignes et couleurs, ombres et lumières, composent un subtil entrelacs convergeant vers un noyau spirituel, voire sensuel. Dans Mona Lisa, Léonard de Vinci dépeignit la quintessence de l'univers et de la femme, éternelle idée de l'homme et symbole de la beauté parfaite auquel il aspire. La nature est évoquée ici par un magicien dans tout son mystère et sa puissance. Derrière le charmant visage, calme, derrière le front, juvénile et pourtant méditatif, pparaissent des montagnes, des glaciers, de l'eau et des rochers. Dans cette très petite portion de surface peinte, se dévoile une vaste révélation, à côté de l'éternel féminin, de notre planète, notre mère la Terre. Léonard de Vinci ne se préoccupait pas de l'aspect extérieur des objets, mais bien de leur signification intérieure et spirituelle.
Leonardo’s early life was spent in Florence, his maturity in Milan, and the last three years of his life in France. Leonardo’s teacher was Verrocchio. First he was a goldsmith, then a painter and sculptor: as a painter, representative of the very scientific school of draughtsmanship; more famous as a sculptor, being the creator of the Colleoni statue at Venice, Leonardo was a man of striking physical attractiveness, great charm of manner and conversation, and mental accomplishment. He was well grounded in the sciences and mathematics of the day, as well as a gifted musician. His skill in draughtsmanship was extraordinary; shown by his numerous drawings as well as by his comparatively few paintings. His skill of hand is at the service of most minute observation and analytical research into the character and structure of form. Leonardo is the first in date of the great men who had the desire to create in a picture a kind of mystic unity brought about by the fusion of matter and spirit. Now that the Primitives had concluded their experiments, ceaselessly pursued during two centuries, by the conquest of the methods of painting, he was able to pronounce the words which served as a password to all later artists worthy of the name: painting is a spiritual thing, cosa mentale. He completed Florentine draughtsmanship in applying to modelling by light and shade, a sharp subtlety which his predecessors had used only to give greater precision to their contours. This marvellous draughtsmanship, this modelling and chiaroscuro he used not solely to paint the exterior appearance of the body but, as no one before him had done, to cast over it a reflection of the mystery of the inner life. In the Mona Lisa and his other masterpieces he even used landscape not merely as a more or less picturesque decoration, but as a sort of echo of that interior life and an element of a perfect harmony. Relying on the still quite novel laws of perspective this doctor of scholastic wisdom, who was at the same time an initiator of modern thought, substituted for the discursive manner of the Primitives the principle of concentration which is the basis of classical art. The picture is no longer presented to us as an almost fortuitous aggregate of details and episodes. It is an organism in which all the elements, lines and colours, shadows and lights, compose a subtle tracery converging on a spiritual, a sensuous centre. It was not with the external significance of objects, but with their inward and spiritual significance, that Leonardo was occupied.
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