Thursday, March 24, 2011

Michelangelo Master of Marble and Fresco

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, 1475-1564, was one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance and one of the most tormented. His often unhappy life was compensated by his love for his work. A master in stone he is equally famous for one of the greatest fresco masterpieces ever created.

His David, 1501-1504, is considered by most to be the ultimate marble statue of the Renaissance. Michelangelo justly famous for his ability to capture a moment of movement in his statues, as the David clearly demonstrates.



The Sistine Chapel 1508-1512, the ceiling fresco is 130'6" x 43'5".


Moses 1513-1515, One of the many statues from the tomb of Pope Julius II.


Lorenzo de Medici 1526-31. One of three statues the great master completed for Lorenzo's tomb.




Detail from the Pieta,1498-1499, the peace of death.

The mother morns the loss of her son, from the Pieta 1498-1499.


The Creator of the Universe bestows life to man. A detail from the Sistine Chapel.


Rodanini Piet 1564, his last work. Even in his last days, when every movement was full of pain, his love for his art pushed him to continue his work. In this case, he was working on this statue less than a week before he died.

Elizabeth I- "Good Queen Bess"



Princess Elizabeth (1533-1558).



Coronation regalia of Queen Elizabeth I 1558-1603.



Her firm belief was that investing in industry, the sciences and arts would make here country stronger. She constantly strove to attain these goals throughout her reign. To her people, tired of the bloodshed rule of her predecessors, Elizabeth was a popular enlightened monarch. With much depth of feeling they took to calling her "Good Queen Bess."



She refused to have any man in a position of authority over her, so remained unmarried. This earned her the title "the Virgin Queen" (and yes Virginia was named after her due to this nickname).



The Golden Hind, the ship of Elizabeth's greatest "Sea Dog" (privateer)-Sir Francis Drake. This ship under Drake's command was the first English vessel to circumnavigate the globe, 1577-1580.



In response to the constant Sea Dog raids of his colonial fleets and possessions, Spanish King Philip II launched the Spanish Armada with the intention of landing an army of conquest in England in 1588. Tradition has it that the Queen Elizabeth appeared before her troops at Tilbury, giving a powerful speech to rally them for the coming battle. In her most famous line she said, "I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England." Her strong leadership is often credited with assisting in the great military victory that followed.



The Spanish Armada Campaign was a decisive victory for the English. Virtually the entire Spanish fleet's combat ability was destroyed in action or by the storms that followed the survivors around the British Idles and back to Spain. For minimal loses, the English defeated the greatest power, and largest empire, of the day. Spain would send two more weaker armadas towards England and both would suffer similar fates. Hence forth England's star would be ascending, while Spain's slowly fell from the heaven's.



Elizabeth Tudor was one of the few people who have a period of time named after them. The Elizabethan Age today brings images of England at the height of Renaissance and a Golden Age of advances in the arts and sciences that would soon change the World. When she came to the throne of England, her country was a minor player in world affairs. She left England as one of the up and coming World Powers, a land of enlightenment making its first major steps on the road to become one of the greatest empires in all history.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci

Lenardo da Vinci the ultimate Renaissance man-April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519

Self portrait red chalk on paper circa 1512-1515, Royal Library of Turin



His creative mind was centuries ahead of the rest of the World. Here is his design for a bike, from one of his early 16th century folios. Mass produced versions looking like this design were not made until the late 19th century.


As a scientist and inventor he was enamored with the concept of mans ability to fly. Here is one of his designs for a man powered machine.



Human and animal anatomy was also a passion of Leonardo. He felt that a better understanding of what was under the skin, flesh and muscle would make him a better artist.













Here we see his "drawing" from the inside out concept on this incomplete St. Jerome sketch. The bones are clearly visible as Leonardo is starting to "flesh out" his creation. This drawing is another of the many works that the great master never completed.


Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci, circa 1474/-478, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC




The young man in this photo clearly shows the average size of most of Leonardo's portraits.











Virgin of the Rocks circa 1495-1508 oil on panel National Gallery, London. This is an improved version of his earlier work Madonna of the Rocks. Both as famous for the detailed and beautiful backgrounds that were a hallmark of many of his works.



These two pages of original line sketches by Leonardo are examples of his varied interests in all aspects of his World.
Among the objects depicted are, men, feathers, wings, gauges, complex machinery and elements of nature.










These reconstructions of his famous mechanical "robot" knight demonstrate some of our continued infatuation with Leonardo, Renaissance Master.















Albrecht Durer-Master Renaissance Artist


Durer (1471-1528)is considered by many experts to be the greatest Renaissance artist of Northern Europe. This self portrait at age 28 is an excellent example of his painting style.



He is also known for his many elaborate engravings. In this close up detail of "Knight, Death and the Devil." Durer's skills and fine hand at engraving are abundantly clear.


"The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," Death, Famine, War and Plague was on of his most famous works. A vision of the horrors facing mankind through the ages, it is as relevant to day as when he created the original engraving.

















Self portrait at age 26





Symbolism gone wild: Melencolia 1
(note his magic square under the bell)


















Another field in which he excelled was in mathematics. In Durer's "Magic Square'" all the lines (horizontal and vertical) and diagonals will add to 34.