From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance

Essay by jerriogletCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2010

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As an illustration of the art work of Michaelangelo Buonetti, I have chose "The Last Judgement", which is a painting at the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. The painting was done between 1537 and 1541. It illustrates the second coming of Christ, with angels blowing their horns to call the dead and the souls ascending upward to Heaven or descending downward to Hell. Michaelangelo adapted a very unusual centralized outlook, giving the art work a circular feeling. There is a great deal of symbolism in the art. Michaelangelo's portrayal for the papal hierarchy is showed in his painting of Judge of the Underworld with the ears of a donkey, Master of Cermonies Cesena as Minos, and the artist, himself, as the criticized St, Bartholomew, which reflects his feelings when asked to create the fresco. He even portrayed Aretino, whom tried to cheat him, holding his skin.

The painting is light, sort of luminous.

The blue skies give homogeneity to the work, with the occasional touch of the stronger red that keeps the eyes of the person viewing, moving continuously around the painting. He did use more monochromatic palette than he had previously used. The use of chiaroscuro around Christ's head is intense.

Usually in religious pieces of art, the figures are naked with their genitals displayed. In an symbolic sense, the use of naked figures could be used as an allusion to religious tenet for the time of judgement, "we are all naked before God". Just prior to the painting being authorized, Pope Clement VII was studying the theories of Copernicus, which he declared that the Sun eas at the very center of the universe and Michaelangelo portrays Christ as a type of Sun God figure in the center of the painting, the metaphorical center for the eternal universe.

For leonardo's work, I am choosing La Gioconda (Mona Lisa). It is 30 inches by 21 inches, made in oil on poplar board. It's the essential half portrait of an mysterious woman smiling against an illusionistic backdrop, which is portrayed in different steep perspectives. In terms of composition the picture is pyramidal in its form with the main subject squarely in the front and center. The artist used a lot of chiaroscuro or counterchange, especially in the area where the skin and hair touch each other and between the dress and skin. Leonardo's use of sfumato around her lips and her eyes give an immense impression of form and depth. The over all effect of the palette used is very harmonious, with foreground colors checoing in the midground before moving into an aerial perspective in the farther background.

It has been suggested that she is a metaphor for the eternal essence of woman hood, and Pater thought that "All the thoughts and experiences of the world have etched and molded there."References:Barger, J. (June 2001). Pather's Mona Lisa. Retrieved January 22, 2010, from Buonarroti: The Last Judgement. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2010, from Lisa Mania. (1999). Retrieved January 22, 2010, from