Time Traveling, Art Historian, Book Chapters 1-3
Art Historian of the twenty first century. I am most fascinated with the arts and culture of the Early Italian and Northern European Renaissance, but also the Early 20th Century. After many years in development, I finally have created the most advanced technology to date. I successfully designed and manufactured a time travel machine. And with this time travel machine I am going to travel to these time periods to gather information about specific works of art and the artists that created them. I will reflect the ideas, values, beliefs and desires that have characterized each of these societies, and reflect on how these influenced the art of its respected era. Although, I will travel to other ancient civilizations other that these three civilizations to complete the final chapters of my book of travels and experiences, but I am revealing the first three chapters of my book now, and only to you! I hope you enjoy. Chapter 1: Italian Renaissance and the Mona Lisa
As I began to plan my travels, I had to decide where to go first. Then I thought, nothing could be better than to see the world’s most famous piece of visual art, the Mona Lisa. This is oil on poplar wood panel painted by Leonardo da Vinci between the years 1503–1506 and ranks among Leonardo's finest work of art. (Mona Lisa, 1987). In the early middle ages, all types of arts were influenced by religion, and so this was the topic of most art. The late middle ages showed more naturalism in the arts and art took a more secular turn instead of being focused on religion only. The human figure and a depiction on the physical world and three dimensional space and mass became important. This continued to the arts of Renaissance. The Renaissance changed the way people thought of themselves. They were no longer just part of a larger religious group, there was the notion of the individual self. The Renaissance literally meaning “rebirth” began in Florence, when artists such Donatello and Brunelleshi turned to ancient Roman art and architecture for inspiration. There was a reinvention of the civilizations and ideals of classical Greece and Rome (Benton and DiYanni, 2008 pg.307). The period c.1500–20, known as the High Renaissance, is when artistic focus shifted from Florence to Rome, there classicism and Christianity converged, and this was highly influential on the arts. Since there was major concentration on humanism, a new self-consciousness arose about style. Humanist in general, appreciated beauty, in nature and in human endeavor. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) also known as a “Renaissance Man” because he was talented in a wide range of endeavors, was born and raised in Florence, Italy. He was known as a painter of portraits, and religious and historical works, but also as a sculptor (Benton and DiYanni, 2008). Sometime after returning to Florence after being forced to leave, Leonardo began the Mona Lisa. As I study this masterpiece, I can see Leonardo’s fascination with nature as I view the Landscaping behind her. This is the first instance of portrait on landscape. See, it is said Leonardo had a life-long fascination with the effects of wind and water on the environment (Benton and DiYanni,2008). Mona Lisa is seated in the midst of an open loggia with the landscape stretching out towards an icy mountain range. She appears relaxed and natural, presented in half-length, with the hands showing, her hair line and her clothing symbolize nobility. Everything about her posture speaks reservation and silence. (Aspect Art, 2009). It is clear to me that Leonardo’s inspiration for, the portrait of Lisa di Antonio Maria Gherardini, came from the fashion of the time while still honoring the classical, humanist and naturalist ways in which he was taught in Florence. Leonardo was known for trying new things. Most interesting and what makes this painting so famous in our culture is her smile. Expression is what...
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