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In the European history The Italian Renaissance began in 14th century and lasted until the 17th century. Renaissance means “rebirth”, because it was known as the cultural revival and was a huge change in the European history from medieval period to modernity. Before the Renaissance, there was a period known as the Middle Ages, however it’s mostly known as the Dark Ages. It was a period between The Decline of the Roman Empire in 476 C. E. and the Renaissance, where there were no accomplishments. After The Decline of the Roman Empire, not a single state or government united the people who lived in Rome. Moreover, Catholic Church became powerful and leaders drew their power from the alliances with the protection of the Church. People across Europe had to give 10% of the earnings each year to the church, which helped a great deal of money and power. Therefore, the economy in Europe was raised. However, Renaissance was a cultural and religious movement, and when people started finding interests in new things. One of the people was Leonardo da Vinci.
Leonardo was an Italian polymath who had interests in inventions, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He was known as the greatest painter of all times. His most famous paintings were Virgin of the Rocks, Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper. All of his paintings were unique in their own ways, leading to cultural religious understandings, inspiring others in artistic and intellectual ways, and was remarkable in the history of art. However, Leonardo’s inventions and scientific ideas were never published to the public.
There were two identical pieces for Virgin of the Rocks, or sometimes known as The Madonna of the Rocks. Some believe that the first painting “Madonna of the Rocks, Louvre” was helped by de Predis brothers and was gifted to Louis XII. The second painting which is now in London was accused that Leonardo did not painted it, however not long ago, according to the National Gallery, it was entirely painted by Leonardo himself. Geologist, Ann C Pizzorusso studied the two paintings, which the “Louvre” shows the formations of rocks, and that the London version does not. Leonardo was an artist that mastered realism, and went to great lengths when it comes to paintings with very demanding details and very accurate and precise definitions that only some could understand. However, there is a possibility that the National Gallery’s statement could be incorrect due to the style and the commitment in painting natural elements. Another outstanding painting is the Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa is an oil painting that is the best known painting and one of the most valuable paintings in the world. Even though, experts say that this painting was certainly painted between 1503 and 1506, the exact dates are still yet to be found. This painting also provides the characteristics of Leonardo’s style in the final years of his life. Renaissance men and women stated that there’s resemblance between Mona Lisa and the Virgin Mary of the Renaissance period.
Frank Zollner, a German professor stated that how Mona Lisa is painted follows the trail to Flemish models and paintings. To be specific, it peculiarly shows the vertical slices of columns at both sides of the panel had precedents that represent the Flemish portraiture. Moreover, Leonardo da Vinci was one of the very few artists that mastered the vanishing point. Vanishing point includes creating the sensational depth and drawing diagonal lines that intersects in a painting’s background to create three-dimensionality in a two-dimensional frame. This technique can be found in The Last Supper, which Leonardo spent three years on.
The Last Supper is a religious painting were he individualized Christ in the middle of the painting, and was separated from the others, yet at the same time, they were all united with one another, including Christ. Around Christ, there lies twelve disciples; which includes a traitor. Leonardo managed to express the emotions and thoughts of the twelve disciples through facial expressions, and demonstrating their personal reactions and movements they made. Not only was he known as the greatest painter of all times, he was also known as the greatest inventor in history, even though he had very little impact on technology. Sketches and diagrams were drawn in his notebooks, but they were never published to the public. He either lost interest in them or was because he wasn’t able to convince the wealthy patrons to finance the materials and supplies that were needed to build he models. Therefore, all his inventions were never built while he was alive. His ideas and inventions were gone to waste.
“Madonna of the Rocks, Louvre” inspired people all over Europe including Leonardo’s students. Therefore, the National Gallery claimed that the London version was painted by Leonardo’s very own students Boltraffio and d’Oggiono to show the devotion to their teacher, illustrating the natural forms and elements in their own unique ways. In the Louvre painting, it shows the Leonardo’s sfumato technique and it’s perceptible. Leonardo’s sfumato technique is fine shading that shows the gentleness and is indiscernible between the colors and tones. He also illustrated his talent for 3D effects applied to the landscape background. Knowing the differences in these two paintings, both paintings were successful weather Leonardo painted one or both.
Another painting that the sfumato technique was used was in the Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa sets the goal for all future oil-painted portraits, because Leonardo illustrated the magnificent mixture of landscape and portrait. The sfumato technique was also used for particularly for her hair, which reflects the rivers and valleys in the landscape behind her. Raphael, a young artist, adopted the Mona Lisa format for his own portraits, because he sketched through Leonardo’s work in progress. Over a dozen of outstanding replicas of Mona Lisa exist; most of them were replicated by Leonardo’s students. In addition, his painting, Mona Lisa inspired American lyricist Ray Evans and songwriter Jay Harold Livingston to compose the beautiful tunes and lyrics of a classic song “Mona Lisa. ”His artworks were influential that even Michelangelo and Raphael chose to adopt same Leonardo’s signature techniques was to create similarly active, realistic figures with naturalistic structures. The artistic standards of his days would guide generations of artists that followed. The Last Supper has been recreated, referenced, and imitated in the Western culture, mostly into creations such as: paintings, mosaics, and photography. In 1955, an artist named Salvador Dali recreated The Last Supper as “The Sacrament of The Last Supper. ” The Sacrament of The Last Supper was the opposite of the original painting; Christ was drawn as a blond, pointed out the shaded torso, and the disciples were drawn bowed down so that they could not be identified.
Only long after his death, his notebooks were found. Leonardo da Vinci was the man ahead of his time; if his inventions were actually built, it would have change history. It could have transformed the history of technology, even though with the materials in the 15th and 16th century could not have been possible. It’s a tragedy that his diagrams and sketches were never published and the fact that people only discovered it long after his death. Almost all of the inventions work if they were to be built while he was alive. Hence, he has no to very little effect on technology.
Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings were mostly about religious events during the Renaissance. Christianity have an influence during the Renaissance, thus his paintings were related Christ. His paintings shaped the way we see Christianity today, and people use his paintings as examples to sometimes spread the religion. Also, his paintings set the goals for young artists due to the meticulous details, creativity, techniques, and commitment to painting. Recently, engineers started to construct the models of Leonardo’s diagrams and sketches. As a result, his ideas and inventions actually worked. In conclusion, till today he has an influence on cultural religious understandings, inspiring young artists to work harder, and leaving intellectual, scientific, technological ideas and inventions behind. The Virgin of the Rocks, Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper were the three most outstanding artworks of Leonardo da Vinci’s collections, because Leonardo, who have mastered realism, used sfumato technique, Flemish models, vanishing points, and 3D techniques in these paintings. Not everyone could understand the definitions of these paintings, due to his accuracy and precision, and rigorous details painted. Furthermore, Leonardo da Vinci has a huge impact on the world today which was expressed throughout his artworks and inventions.
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