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.