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Michelangelo was a Renaissance artist who lived from 1475 to 1564. He changed art in the Renaissance by sculpting and painting with precision and detail that had never been done before, particularly focused on the human body. This change was revolutionary and has changed the way that art is today.
Art was a big focus in the Renaissance. A number of new art techniques came from the renaissance. Realism made art look more real and life-like and gave subjects more emotion. Perspective made a drawing or painting look three-dimensional balance and proportion. Use of light and dark shadows added drama to art. Sfumato added perspective to paintings by blurring lines between subjects. Foreshortening shortened lines to give illusions of depth. Examples of Renaissance works using these techniques are noted below.
Michelangelo was a famous painter, sculptor, architect and poet who exerted unique influence over the development of Western art, Michelangelo developed such skill in the art of realism that he was copied by many other artists. His ability to so skilfully and realistically depict human features arose from him having a better understanding of the human anatomy than most other artists. Starting from the age of 17, Michelangelo illegally studied corpses at a church, before they were going to be entombed. He did this to grasp a better knowledge of the human body structure so that his paintings and sculptures would appear more realistic (Realism). Michelangelo’s realism style eventually developed into its own movement called Mannerism, such was his impact on renaissance art.
An example of Michelangelo’s most famous work is the Sistine chapel ceiling. The ceiling depicts nine scenes from the book of Genesis that includes countless human figures including the famous The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgement scenes. The fresco painting incorporates so much detail down to the muscles and veins in every figure, even the background characters have a much detail as the main focus. This is achieved through a skilful use of various techniques such as those noted above.
A lot of Michelangelo’s art used perspective, which others before him didn’t. Doni Tondo is a great example of this. The main image in this painting, almost looks like it is real. The main three figures appear closer and larger that the figures in the background making the whole image look three-dimensional. This picture also demonstrates the use of light and dark shading, providing focus on the most important details in the front of the picture.
The way Michelangelo painted and sculpted using many techniques was predominantly to make his artwork look more real, change the way that art and artists are looked upon and stand out from other artists. His work had a profound influence on other artists of the time and of many generations since and was a great example of hard work, determination and persistence.
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