Leonardo Da Vinci & the Last Supper
RUNNING HEAD: Leonardo Da Vinci Leonardo Da Vinci and The Last Supper during the Renaissance Period Humanities February 14, 2010 The Renaissance period is known as a period of the rebirth of Greek ideas. The works of this time were more individualized and the artists had more artistic freedom then were allowed in the Medieval or Middle Ages. One of the greatest individuals of the Renaissance time period was Leonardo Da Vinci. Not only was Da Vinci a great artist, he was also the best in many fields other than art. Leonardo is often viewed as the archetype of the “Renaissance Man” because of his expertise and interest in many different areas, including art, science, music, mechanics, the arts of war, politics, philosophy, and nearly every other subject that mattered” (Wikibooks, 2010). One of the most famous paintings created by Leonardo Da Vinci is The Last Supper. Explanation of Philosophy The Renaissance era which followed the Middle Ages brought about a new way of thinking. In the Middle Ages, “it was believed that the universe was hierarchical, organic, and God-ordained.
To the philosophers of the Renaissance, it was pluralistic, machinelike, and mathematically ordered. In the Middle Ages, scholars thought in terms of purposes, goals, and divine intentions; in the Renaissance, they thought in terms of forces, mechanical agencies, and physical causes (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2010). There was a renewed interest in healthy doubting, questioning and experimentation. Fundamental tenets of philosophy The Renaissance brought the belief that fresh and natural beauty is not a sin but an expression of the divine order (Plumb, 1961).
Leonardo Da Vinci & the Last Supper Essay Example
The acceptance of the nude body had artists painting more individuals without clothing. The Renaissance brought about the rebirth of art and learning. There was a revival of interest in philosophy, an upsurge of healthy doubting and questioning and experimentation (Levinger, 1962). The Renaissance brought about greater freedom and economic opportunities. Individual’s views were more optimistic than in the Medieval times and people were getting away from preparing for the afterlife and focusing more on this life. The church began to lose some of its power and control allowing for the emergence of humanism.
Humanism saw a decrease in the religious aspect and more emphasis on the individual. Explanation of aesthetics of the philosophy on art The Renaissance encouraged the use of individual style in the arts. Artists began taking risks during this time period, something that would not have happened during the Middle Ages. During the Renaissance period art was greatly advanced by linear views, this lead to the arts shifting more toward realism. The artists of this time also experimented with light and shadow. Thru this experimentation artists were able to invent three dimensional paintings.
Another new way of painting was the use of oil paints and canvas. Some of the themes of art during this period were Naturalism, everyday life, and the more realistic view of human objects in paintings (Renaissanceefellowship. org). The arts began to focus on this world and human life vice the more religious focus of the Medieval period. The Artist About the Artist Leonardo DaVinci was born in Florence on April 15, 1452. He was the illegitimate son of a lawyer and a woman believed to be a servant in DaVinci’s grandparent’s house. “He was sent to be the apprentice to Amdrea del Verrocchio, one of the foremost artists in Florence” (Plumb, 1961).
He finished his apprenticeship in 1472; however, he stayed in Florence for another ten years. Not only was Da Vinci interested in the arts, he was also interested in mathematics and mechanics. He was especially interested in how living things moved (Plumb, 1961). In 1482, he left Florence and spent the next 20 years in Milan. Milan offered him more that he felt he could receive in Florence. Da Vinci dies at Amboise on May 2, 1519. Principles of Leonardo Da Vinci on Painting Leonardo felt that “the mind of a painter should be like a mirror which lways takes the colour of the thing that it reflects, and which is filled by as many images as there are things placed before it” (MacCurdy, n. d. ). He believed that when looking at something to paint, the artist should look at each object individually and take that object into the mind with all its details. Da Vinci felt that painting included ten attributes of sight. They included: darkness, brightness, substance and color, form and place, remoteness and nearness, and movement and rest (MacCurdy, n. d). In order to paint with greatness, an artist had to use these ten attributes to construct their painting.
In order to paint a figure of a person, Da Vinci felt that the eye of the figure he was painting should be level with the artist. This prevented the figure from being too high or low, which would cause the portrait not to resemble the person or figure being painted. Influence of the philosophy on the artist “Leonardo was one of the first men in whom the Renaissance expressed itself in a new way, not as a recovery but as a discovery” (Plumb, 1961). Leonardo believed that art and science went hand in hand. He experimented with colors to slow drying time, giving more time to paint details in the painting.
Because the Renaissance believed in the individual, Leonardo would incorporate into his paintings, more realistic objects. The individuals were painted to resemble the more human form and his background/nature was painted to look more realistic. According to Levinger, 1962, “yet the trees that waved in the background could have grown from no earthly soil. ” These details were all part of the humanism movement that was coming about in the Renaissance era. Influence of the artist on other artists Leonardo Da Vinci invented new painting techniques. The chiaroscuro technique is the use of contrasting light and dark in paintings.
This allows for more depth in a painting. This technique is used frequently today by graphic novelists and in cinematography. The other technique that DaVinci invented is the sfumato technique. This is also known as atmospheric haze. This technique was used in the Mona Lisa painting and is what makes this painting so mysterious (Gray, 2007). Leonardo used his knowledge of anatomy in his art, allowing him to paint more realistic people. Other artists studied this technique and they too began painting more realistic people as well. Many artists respected and admired the use of realism of the human body and nature that Da Vinci used.
Works of Art The works of art that Leonardo left behind are very few. He never completed a statue and has only about a dozen finished paintings. He left behind many anatomical and mechanical drawing and thousands of sketches (Plumb, 1961). His two most famous paintings are the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. Some of his less famous paintings include The Adoration of the Magi, The Virgin of the Rocks, and Madonna and Child with Saint Anne. The Last Supper It is believed that The Last Supper was painted between 1495 and 1497 by the request of Ludovico.
Because all documents of the commission are missing these dates are formulated using his manuscripts and drawings. The Last Supper was painted in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan (Pedretti, 2004). Due to Da Vinci painting the Last Supper with egg tempera and oil on a damp wall, it soon began to deteriorate and has continued to do so over the years. There have been several attempts to conserve this painting. The Last Supper is one of the most copied of all times. Aesthetic analysis The Last Supper was painted by Da Vinci according to the Gospels in the Scriptures (Pedretti, 2000).
He was able to cause the room the Last Supper was taking place in to look as if it were an extension of the refectory where the monks ate their meals. He achieved this due to his mastery of geometry and use of visual paradoxes (Capra, 2007). Everything in the painting of the Last Supper is arranged so that the main focus is in Jesus. Leonardo places Judas on the same side of the table as Jesus. This is part of the humanism belief. He places the disciples in groups of three. Again this is to put the main focus on Jesus. Another difference in Da Vinci’s Last Supper and other artists version is Da Vinci painted everyone without halos.
This again was to show that everyone was human and to not point out Judas as being different. He also incorporated emotional reaction on each apostle’s face in regards to Christ’s announcement that someone at the table would betray him. He was able to vary the reaction on each apostle’s face. By placing the disciples in groups, this detail is more noticeable. All the people are depicted as real people. This had not been done in early versions of The Last Supper. Leonardo would visit places where he knew people would be that would suit the type of individual he wanted to paint.
He would then watch everyone until he found what he was looking for and then sketch them in his notebook to copy to his painting. He even went as far as bringing in models to his studio to copy and paint, making his figures more lifelike (Vallentin, 1938). Conclusion Leonardo was a great man of the Renaissance period. Although he did not leave behind many paintings, the ones that he did leave were great. In addition to his paintings, he was also very knowledgeable and made considerable contributions in other areas such as anatomy, mathematics, and astronomy.
His influence on artists of the Renaissance period changed the say that paintings were completed. Without his influence and all his contributions in other areas, what we know in many of these areas today, would not be the same. References Capra, F. (2007). The science of Leonardo. New York, NY: Doubleday. Encyclopedia Britannica. (2010). Western philosophy. Retrieved February 10, 2010, from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/1350843/Western-philosophy. Gray, A. (2007). The influence of DaVinci and Michelangelo. Retrieved February 2, 2010 from http://quazen. com/arts/art-history/the-influences-of-da-vinci-and-michelangelo/.
Levinger, E. (1962). Leonardo Davinci. New York, NY: Julian Messner, Inc. MacCurdy, E. (n. d. ). The notebooks of Leonardo Davinci. Old Saybrook, CT: Konecky & Konecky. Pedretti, C. (2004). Leonardo Da Vinci. Surrey, United Kingdom: TAJ Books. Plumb, J. (1961). The horizon book of the Renaissance. New York, NY: American Heritage Publishing Co. , Inc. Renaissancefellowship. (2008). Art during the Renaissance. Retrieved on February 2, 2010 from http://www. renaissancefellowship. org/2008/08/04/art-renaissance-2/ Vallentin, A. (1938). Leonardo Da Vinci. New York, NY: The Viking Press.