Without any doubt the greatest representatives of Renaissance were Buonarrotti Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinchi. Two geniuses of Renaissance created the best masterpieces of their time. Both were convinced that the power of eyesight is enormous. We can’t know a thing without seeing it. That was one of their principles. Person’s eye is the best instrument in exploring the world around. At that time people thought that one great painting is worth thousands of words. However nowadays scientists prefer researching everything by the means of words.
Buonarrotti Michelangelo’s and Leonardo da Vinchi’s masterpieces are highly estimated all over the world. Deep human ideals and world views are shown in their works. Harmony is the leading feature of their paintings, which were unusual and really extraordinary at that time.
Leonardo da Vinchi was first to create clear proportions of human’s body. His deep interest in proportions was depicted in many of his works. The most famous was ‘Vitruvian Man’. It’s considered to be created in 1492 in Leonardo’s journal, which also contained some of his notes. But though it is supposed to be just a sketch, it became a real masterpiece. And nowadays it is valued as a real painting. It shows a naked man. His body is represented in two positions simultaneously with his legs and arms spread and put in a circle and square. Lots of scientists tried to find out what sense was in that circle and square. It was soon investigated that the circle could probably mean human’s spiritual life, while the square represents materia. So he tried to depict how these elements of human’s life correlate with each other. The whole picture with notes is called ‘Canon of proportions’ or ‘Proportions of man’ as well.
It’s also Da Vinchi’s attempt to unite human and nature. He is supposed to believe that the chart of human’s body represents the work of the universe. Such analogy was researched by great number of scientists.
Considering Leonardo’s text under the drawing, it is supposed to be his study of a male body according to a treatise of Vitruvius (Roman architect). Vitruvius wrote about proportions between the parts of human body (position of the navel, arms and legs, in correlation with other parts of body). But his descriptions can refer to an average body only, omitting individual features of everyone. Though Leonardo is supposed to create his man by means of Vitruvius’s descriptions, he supplied it with his own visions. For instance he clearly showed that the centre of a circle differs from the centre of a square. Such innovations show his keen interest in the subject. And apart from deep reading of the ancient document he considers his own observations as well. As a result he created an entirely symmetrical body. Examining the painting carefully, we find out that legs and arms combine in sixteen poses. Leonardo’s masterpiece remains the most referenced drawing of a human body.
Speaking of Leonardo I can’t help mentioning works of his contemporary artist Michelangelo. Both of them keenly admired the beauty of human’s body. A naked body is considered to be Michelangelo’s favorite theme in works (not only paintings but sculpture as well). Most of all Buonarrotti depicted moving body, and glorified the plasticity of it. Owing his deep knowledge in anatomy, his images vividly describe the parts of body and proportions between them. He was studying and practicing anatomy in Santo Spirito Hospital.
Though Leonardo and Buonarrotti have much in common in style of depicting. I mean shadows made with pens and inks, amazing completeness and perfection of a body. But apart from this, their creations can’t be compared with anything. Michelangelo’s so called ‘Male Nude’ was created with pen and brown ink, black chalk and stylus. Shadows are made in darker ink.
Nowadays works of Michelangelo and Leonardo are highly estimated for vivid and unique style in description of human body.
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