Thursday, May 30, 2013

Domenico Ghirlandaio created an exceptionally

Domenico Ghirlandaio created an exceptionally complex and expansive setting on three levels, including a steeply descending ramp and a jutting wall. Elements of the landscape, such as the church on the right, are viewed partly through other structures. Sony VPCCA15FH/W battery Raphael's design for Fire in the Borgo shows buildings around a small square in which the background events are highlighted by the perspective. The depiction of landscape was encouraged by the development of linear perspective and the inclusion of detailed landscapes in the background of many Early Netherlandish paintings of the 15th century. Sony VPCCA15FW/B battery Also through this influence came an awareness of atmospheric perspective and the observation of the way distant things are affected by light. Giotto uses a few rocks to give the impression of a mountain setting. Paolo Uccello has created a detailed and surreal setting as a stage for many small scenes. Sony VPCCA15FW/D battery In Carpaccio's Deposition of the Body of Christ, the desolate rocky landscape echoes the tragedy of the scene. Mantegna's landscape has a sculptural, three dimensional quality that is suggestive of a real physical space. The details of the rocks, their strata and fractures, suggest that he studied the geological formations of the red limestone prevalent in areas of Northern Italy. Sony VPCCA15FW/P battery Antonello da Messina sets the grim scene of the Crucifixion in contrast to the placid countryside which rolls into the far distance, becoming paler and bluer as it recedes. Giovanni Bellini has created a detailed landscape with a pastoral scene between the foreground and background mountains. Sony VPCCA15FW/W battery There are numerous levels in this landscape, making it the equivalent of Ghirlandaio's complex cityscape (above). Perugino has set the Adoration of the Magi against the familiar hilly landscape of Umbria. Sony VPCCA15FX/W battery Leonardo da Vinci, displays a theatrical use of atmospheric perspective in his view of the precipitous mountains around Lago di Garda at the foothills of theAlps in Northern Italy. Light and shade exist in a painting in two forms. Tone is simply the lightness and darkness of areas of a picture, graded from white to black. Sony VPCCA16EC battery Tonal arrangement is a very significant feature of some paintings. Chiaroscuro is the modelling of apparent surfaces within a picture by the suggestion of light and shadow. While tone was an important feature of paintings of the Medieval period, chiaroscuro was not. Sony VPCCA16EC/P battery It became increasingly important to painters of the 15th century, transforming the depiction of three dimensional space. Taddeo Gaddi's Annunciation to the Shepherds is the first known large painting of a night scene. The internal light source of the picture is the angel. Sony VPCCA16FG/B battery In Fra Angelico's painting, daylight, which appears to come from the actual window of the friary cell which this fresco adorns, gently illuminates the figures and defines the architecture. In his Emperor's Dream, Piero della Francesca takes up the theme of the night scene illuminated by an angel and applies his scientific knowledge of the diffusion of light. Sony VPCCA16FG/W battery The tonal pattern thus created is a significant element in the composition of the painting. In his Agony in the Garden, Giovanni Bellini uses the fading sunset on a cloudy evening to create an atmosphere of tension and impending tragedy. Sony VPCCA16FH/B battery In Domenico Veneziano's formal portrait, the use of chiaroscuro to model the form is slight. However, the painting relies strongly on the tonal contrasts of the pale face, mid-tone background and dark garment with patterned bodice for effect. Botticelli uses chiaroscuro to model the face of the sitter and define the details of his simple garment. Sony VPCCA16FW/W battery The light and shadow on the edge of the window define the angle of the light. The suggested authorship of this early 16th century portrait includes Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, Mariotto Albertinelli and Giuliano Bugiardini. The painting combines many of the lighting effects of the other works in this gallery. Sony VPCCA17EC battery The form is modelled by the light and shade, as if by a setting sun, which gives an element of drama, enhanced by the landscape. The tonal pattern created by the dark garment, the white linen and position of the hand is a compositional feature of the painting. Sony VPCCA17EC/W battery In Leonardo da Vinci's John the Baptist, elements of the painting, including the corners of the model's eyes and mouth, are disguised by shadow, creating an air of ambiguity and mystery. While remaining largely dependent upon topographic observation, the knowledge of anatomy was advanced by Leonardo da Vinci's meticulous dissection of 30 corpses. Sony VPCCA17FX/D battery Leonardo, among others, impressed upon students the necessity of the close observation of life and made the drawing of live models an essential part of a student's formal study of the art of painting. Cimabue's Crucifixion, extensively destroyed by flood in 1966, Sony VPCCA17FX/G battery shows the formal arrangement, with curving body and drooping head that was prevalent in late Medieval art. The anatomy is strongly stylised to conform with traditional iconic formula. Giotto abandoned the traditional formula and painted from observation. Massacio's figure of Christ is foreshortened as if viewed from below, and shows the upper torso strained as if with the effort of breathing. Sony VPCCA18EC battery In Giovanni Bellini's Deposition the artist, while not attempting to suggest the brutal realities of the crucifixion, has attempted to give the impression of death. In Piero della Francesca's Baptism, the robust figure of Jesus is painted with a simplicity and lack of sharply defined muscularity that belies its naturalism. Sony VPCCA18EC/D battery The figure of Jesus in this painting, which is the combined work of Verrocchio and the young Leonardo, has in all probability been drafted by Verrocchio. The contours retain the somewhat contorted linearity of Gothic art. Much of the torso, however, is thought to have been painted by Leonardo and reveals a strong knowledge of anatomical form. Sony VPCCA190 battery Leonardo's picture of St. Jerome shows the results of detailed study of the shoulder girdle, known from a page of drawings. Michelangelo used human anatomy to great expressive effect. He was renowned for his ability in the creation of expressive poses and was imitated by many other painters and sculptors. Sony VPCCA1AFJ battery The observation of nature meant that set forms and symbolic gestures which in Medieval art, and particularly the Byzantine style prevalent in much of Italy, were used to convey meaning, were replaced by the representation of human emotion as displayed by a range of individuals. Sony VPCCA1AGJ battery In this Resurrection, Giotto shows the sleeping soldiers with faces hidden by helmets or foreshortened to emphasise the relaxed posture. In contrast, Andrea Castagno has painted a life-sized image of the condotierre, Pippo Spano, alert and with his feet over the edge of the painted niche which frames him. Sony VPCCA1AHJ battery Filippo Lippi in this early work shows a very naturalistic group of children crowding around the Virgin Mary, but looking with innocent curiosity at the viewer. One of the children has Down syndrome. Masaccio depicts the grief resulting from loss of innocence as Adam and Eve are expelled from the presence of God. Sony VPCCA1C5E battery Antonello da Messina painted several versions of Ecce Homo, the tormented Christ as he was presented to the people by the Roman Governor. Such paintings usually show Christ in a tragic but heroic role, minimising the depiction of suffering. Antonello's depictions are starkly realistic. Sony VPCCA1S1C/CN1 battery In his Lamentation over the Dead christ, Mantegna has here depicted the dead body of Jesus with daring foreshortening, as if the viewer were standing at the end of the slab. In this detail from a larger painting, Mantegna shows a nervous little child, wearing a tummy-binder and holey slippers, Sony VPCCA1S1E battery turning away and chewing its fingers while the infant Christ is circumcised. Giorgione paints a natural and unglamorised portrait of an old woman, unusual in its depiction of her illkempt hair and open mouth with crooked teeth. Among the preoccupations of artists commissioned to do large works with multiple figures were how to make the subject, Sony VPCCA1S1E/B battery usually narrative, easily read by the viewer, natural in appearance and well composed within the picture space. Giotto combines three separate narrative elements into this dramatic scene set against the dehumanising helmets of the guards. Sony VPCCA1S1E/D battery Judas betrays Jesus to the soldiers by kissing him. The High Priest signals to a guard to seize him. Peter slices the ear off the high priest's servant as he steps forward to lay hands on Jesus. Five figures dominate the foreground, surrounding Jesus so that only his head is visible. Sony VPCCA1S1E/G battery Yet by skilful arrangement of colour and the gestures of the men, Giotto makes the face of Jesus the focal point of the painting. In The Death of Adam, Piero della Francesca has set the dying patriarch so that he is cast into relief against the black garment worn by one of his family. Sony VPCCA1S1E/P battery His importance to the story is further emphasised by the arch of figures formed around him and the diagonals of the arms which all lead to his head. The Resurrection of the Son of Theophilus is a remarkably cohesive whole, considering that it was begun by Masaccio, left unfinished, vandalised, and eventually completed by Filippino Lippi. Sony VPCCA1S1E/W battery Masaccio painted the central section. Pollaiuolo, in this highly systemised painting, has taken the cross-bow used by the archers in the foreground, as the compositional structure. Within this large triangular shape, divided vertically, he has alternated the figures between front and back views. Sony VPCCA1S2C/CN1 battery Botticelli's long, narrow painting of Mars and Venus is based on a W with the figures mirroring each other. The lovers, who shortly before were united, are now separated by sleep. The three small fawns who process across the painting hold the composition together. Sony VPCCA1S3C/CN1 battery Michelangelos mastery of complex figure composition, as in his The Entombment was to inspire many artists for centuries. In this panel painting the figure of Christ, though vertical, is slumped and a dead weight at the centre of the picture, while those who try to carry the body lean outwards to support it. Sony VPCCA2AJ battery At first glance, Signorelli's Fall of the Damned is an appalling and violent jumble of bodies, but by the skilful placement of the figures so that the lines, rather than intersecting, flow in an undulating course through the picture, the composition is both unified and resolved into a large number of separate actions. Sony VPCCA2S0E battery The colours of the devils also serve to divide the picture into the tormentors and the tormented. The Battle of Ostia was executed by Raphael's assistants, probably to his design. The foreground of the painting is organised into two overlapping arched shapes, the larger showing captives being subdued, while to the left and slightly behind, they are forced to kneel before the Pope. Sony VPCCA2S1E battery While the Pope rises above the second group and dominates it, the first group is dominated by a soldier whose colour and splendid headdress acts like a visual stepping stone to the Pope. At the edges of this group two stooping figures mirror each other, creating a tension in which one pushes away from the edge of the painting and the other pulls upward at its centre. Sony VPCCA2SFX/R battery Through the Renaissance period, the large altarpiece had a unique status as a commission. An altarpiece was destined to become a focal point, not only visually in the religious building it occupied, but also in the devotions of the worshippers. Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna of the Rocks, now in the National Gallery, Sony VPCCA2Z0E battery London but previously in a chapel in Milan, is one of many images that was used in the petitioning of the Blessed Virgin Mary against plague. The significance of these images to those who commissioned them, who worshipped in their location, and who created them is lost when they are viewed in an art gallery. Sony VPCCA35FA/PI battery The two Enthroned Madonnas by Cimabue and Duccio di Buoninsegna demonstrate the variations on a theme that was formalised and constrained by tradition. Although the positions of the Madonna and Child are very similar, the artists have treated most of the features differently. Sony VPCCA35FF/P battery Cimabue's throne is front-on and uses perspective to suggest its solidity. The angels, their faces, wings and haloes, are arranged to form a rich pattern. The gold leaf detailing of the Madonna's garment picks out the folds in a delicate network. The Child sits regally, with his feet set at the same angle as his mother's. Sony VPCCA35FG/PI battery In Duccio's Rucellai Madonna, the largest of its kind at 4.5 metres high, the throne is set diagonally and the Child, much more of a baby despite his gesture, sits diagonally opposed to his mother. While the positioning of the kneeling angels is quite simplistic, they have a naturalism in their repeated postures and are varied by the beautiful colour combinations of their robes. Sony VPCCA35FH/D battery On the Madonna's robe the gold border makes a meandering line, defining the form and contours, and enlivening the whole composition with a single decorative detail. Giotto's Ognissanti Madonna is now housed in the same room of the Uffizi as Cimabue's and Duccio's, Sony VPCCA35FN/R battery where the advances that he made in both drawing from the observation of nature, and in his use of perspective can be easily compared with the earlier masters. While the painting conforms to the model of an altarpiece, the figures within it do not follow the traditional formula. Sony VPCCA35FW/B battery The Madonna and Child are solidly three dimensional. This quality is enhanced by the canopied throne which contributes the main decorative element, while gold borders are minimised. The angels, which mirror each other, each have quite individual drapery. Sony VPCCA35FW/W battery A hundred years later, Masaccio, still within the constraints of the formal altarpiece, confidently creates a three dimensional figure draped in heavy robes, her chubby Christ Child sucking on his fingers. The lutes played by the little angels are both steeply foreshortened. Sony VPCCA36EC battery In Fra Angelico's painting the figures lack the emphasis on mass of Masaccio's. Angelico was renowned for his delicacy in depicting the Madonna. The appeal of such paintings is demonstrated in the way the adoring angels are clustered around. As in Masaccio's painting, the Madonna's halo is decorated with pseudo-kufic script, probably to suggest her Middle Eastern origin. Sony VPCCA36EC/W battery In the hands of Piero della Francesca the formal gold frame is transformed into a classical niche, drawn in perfect linear perspective and defined by daylight. The assorted saints cluster round in a natural way, while the Madonna sits on a realistic throne on a small podiun covered by an oriental carpet, Sony VPCCA36FA/B battery while the donor Federico da Montefeltro kneels at her feet. A concession to tradition is that the Madonna is of a larger scale than the other figures. In Bellini's painting, while on one hand, the figures and the setting give the effect of great realism, Bellini's interest in Byzantine icons is displayed in the hierarchical enthronement and demeanour of the Madonna. Sony VPCCA36FG/B battery The Milanese painter Bergognone has drawn on aspects of the work of Mantegna and Bellini to create this painting in which the red robe and golden hair of Catherine of Alexandria are effectively balanced by the contrasting black and white of Catherine of Siena, and framed by a rustic arch of broken bricks. Sony VPCCA36FH/W battery In Andrea Mantegna's Madonna della Vittoria, the Madonna may occupy the central position, framed in her garlanded gazebo, but the focus of attention isFrancesco II Gonzaga whose achievements are acknowledged not only by the Madonna and Christ Child but by the heroic saints, Michael and George. Sony VPCCA36FW/B battery Leonardo da Vinci abandoned any sort of formal canopy and surrounded the Madonna and Child with the grandeur of nature into which he set the figures in a carefully balanced ye seemingly informal trapezoid composition. The Sistine Madonna by Raphael uses the formula not of an altarpiece but the formal portrait, with a frame of green curtains through which a vision can be seen, Sony VPCCA36FW/W battery witnessed by Pope Sixtus II for whom the work is named. The clouds around the Virgin are composed of cherubic faces, while the two iconic cherubs so beloved with the late 20th century fashion for angels, prop themselves on the sill. This work became the model for Murillo and many other painters. Sony VPCCA37EC battery Andrea del Sarto, while using figures to a very natural and lifelike effect, abandons in the Madonna of the Harpies practical reality by setting the Madonna on a Classical plinth as if she were a statue. Every figure is in a state of instability, marked by the forward thrust of the Madonna's knee against which she balances a book. Sony VPCCA37EC/B battery This painting is showing the trends that were to be developed in Mannerist painting. The largest, most time-consuming paid work that an artist could do was a scheme of frescoes for a church, private palace or commune building. Sony VPCCA38EC battery Of these, the largest unified scheme in Italy which remains more-or-less intact is that created by a number of different artists at the end of the Medieval period at theBasilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Sony VPCCA38EC/R battery It was followed by Giotto's Proto-Renaissance scheme at Padua and many others ranging from Benozzo Gozzoli's Magi Chapel for the Medici to Michelangelo's supreme accomplishment for Pope Julius II at the Sistine Chapel. Giotto painted the large, free-standing Scrovegni Chapel in Padua with the Life of the Virgin and the Life of Christ. Sony VPCCA3E1E battery Breaking from medieval tradition, it set a standard of naturalism. The two large frescoes of Allegories of Good and Bad Government painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti for the Commune of Siena are completely secular and show detailed views of a townscape with citizens, emphasising the importance of civic order. Sony VPCCA3S1E battery By contrast, Andrea di Bonaiuto, painting for the Dominicans at the new church of Santa Maria Novella, completed a huge fresco of the Triumph of the Church, which shows the role of the church in the work of Salvation, and in particular, the role of the Dominicans, who also appear symbolically as the Hounds of Heaven, shepherding the people of God. Sony VPCCA3SFX/R battery The painting includes a view of Florence Cathedral. Masaccio and Masolino collaborated on the Brancacci Chapel fresco cycle which is most famous for Masaccio's lifelike innovations, Masolino's more elegant style is seen in this townscape which skillfully combines two episodes of the Life of St. Peter. Piero della Francesca's fresco cycle in the church of San Francesco, Sony VPCEH13FX/B battery Arezzo, closely follows the Legend of the True Cross as written by Jacopo da Varagine in the Golden Legend. The pictures reveal his studies of light and perspective, and the figures have an almost monolithic solidity. Benozzo Gozzoli's fresco cycle for the private chapel of the Medici Palace is a late work in the International Gothic style, a fanciful and richly ornamental Sony VPCEH13FX/L battery depiction of the Medici with their entourage as the Three Wise Men. The elaborate cycle for the House of Este's Palazzo Schifanoia at Ferrara, executed in part by Francesco del Cossa, was also fanciful in its depictions of Classical deities and Zodial signs which are combined with scenes of the life of the family. Sony VPCEH13FX/P battery Mantegna's paintings for the Gonzaga also show family life but have a preponderance of highly realistic elements and skillfully utilise the real architecture of the room they decorate, the mantelpiece forming a plinth for the figures and the real ceiling pendentives being apparently supported on painted pilasters. Sony VPCEH13FX/W battery While in the Brancacci Chapel, historians seek to identify the faces of Masaccio, Masolino and perhaps Donatello among the apostles, Domenico Ghirlandaio at the Sassetti Chapel makes no attempt to disguise his models. Each fresco in this religious cycle has two sets of figures: Sony VPCEH15EG/B battery those who tell the story and those who are witness to it. In this scene of the Birth of the Virgin Mary, a number of the noble women of Florence have come in, as if to congratulate the new mother. The Punishment of the Sons of Korah by Botticelli is one of episodes the Life of Moses series, Sony VPCEH15EN/W battery which, together with The Life of Christ, was commissioned in the 1480s as decoration to the Sistine Chapel. The artists Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli all worked on the carefully designed and harmonious scheme. Sony VPCEH16EA/P battery Michelangelo's painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which he executed alone over a period of five years, with narratives from Genesis, prophetic figures and the Ancestors of Christ, was destined to become one of the most famous artworks in the world. Sony VPCEH16EF/B battery Simultaneously, Raphael and a number of his assistants painted the papal chambers known as Raphael Rooms. In The School of Athens Raphael depicts famous people of his day, including Leonardo, Michelangelo, Bramante and himself, as philosophers of ancient Athens. 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