Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Paintings artists should know 2

Continuing with my list, I will stay with the Italians of the renaissance for about the first ten or so........

4) The birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli 1445-1510
An early renaissance Florentine painter. Botticelli was trained as an apprentice starting at age fourteen. Simonetta Vespucci is rumored to have been the model for this painting. The wife of Marco Vepucci she was heralded as the most beautiful woman in Florence. Artists adored her, all Florence adored her. Botticelli was besotted with her as well. When she died, at age twenty two of tuberculosis, Botticelli expressed a wish to be buried at her feet. Upon his death, the never married Botticelli was indeed interred at her feet, thirty four years later. I guess you take what you can get.

Botticelli was nearly forgotten until the late 19th century when his reputation was revived.

5) The Lamentation of Christ by Giotto 1268? - 1337

Giotto represents the line where Byzantine or medieval style painting ends and the earliest hints of the Renaissance style begins. There is a naturalism about his work that is an advancement over the stiff stylization of the medieval painting from before him. He pioneered the use of light to create form.

Another Florentine, Giotto was reputedly a very tiny and spectacularly ugly man. Giotto was however, known for his quick sense of humor. There is a story that Dante spying his equally ugly children asked Giotto how a maker of such beautiful paintings could have sired such homely children? Giotto replied "I made them in the dark"

6) The Libyan Sybyl by Michelangelo 1475-1564

I could have chosen better known or almost anything from the Sistine Chapel but I have always liked this one. The graceful twist of the figure as she takes the enormous volume from the shelf is graceful and full of rhythmic lines. A sibyl is a prophetess, she was actually named Phemonoe. She one was consulted by Alexander the great. She was reputed to have continued her trade after death and animals who grazed on the grass above her grave were then slaughtered, as their entrails provided a sure means of divining the future. Perhaps I could be buries at HER feet.


Philip Koch said...

Botticelli buried at the feet of the grave of the woman he adored? This is too great for words. Maybe Stape you could write a breast-heaving page turner, "The Lives and Loves of the Great Masters".

Barbara A. Busenbark said...

The Birth of Venus is one of those paintings I'd seen copies of so often but I didn't really understand the greatness of until I was fortunate enough to see it in Florence last year. I was in awe, Botticelli became a favorite right then.

Amy said...

Lovely list so far! Every artist should know of these Masters as part of their understanding and appreciation of art composition, technique and history. A beautiful repertoire and I truly appreciate your time and efforts with your posts. Keep 'em coming!! AND looking forward to those design disasters and more!!

JonInFrance said...

For "breast-heaving page turners, "The Lives and Loves of the Great Masters" see certain posts on the the "Illustration art" blog - fascinating.

Roberto said...

Michelangelo’s work is truly amazing! He was very much influenced by Greek sculpture. Many of his figures are so graceful and natural-looking, yet heroically stylized, but impossible for mere-mortals to mimic. Try getting into the pose of that Sybil and lifting something! Many of his figures are anatomically correct yet ‘unatomically’ impossible. -RQ

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

Keep it up, Stape! It is so good to revisit these works of art with your comments. Bravo for your choices so far!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Maybe, but not tonight.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It is a very unusual piece, unlike any other painting of the time.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks. I will switch over soon and do design disasters. I will alternate the two themes.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I read that blog too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That is one of the reasons why I think he drew them out of his head. He knew the anatomy well enough and he could just make them up.

Stapleton Kearns said...

There is so much important art it is hard to know what to choose and what to leave out.

Lucia deLeiris said...

Thanks Stape, for posting such an interesting blog. It is wonderful!

CVOChristi said...

I've worked backwards through your posts "Paintings artists should know" and have found my favorite: Libyan Sybyl. Thank you for the education.