What is deemed as ‘High Renaissance’ art is a period in Italy between 1450ish and 1527. The artists during this time period were—as they say, “The Shit”. The Catholic Church played a profound role in the lives of pretty much everyone...especially in Italy. Pope Julius II (aka ‘The Warrior Pope’) began commissioning artists like crazy during this period and boy-o-boy out of the woodwork came some of the best damn artists EVER. When they dug in and started producing, they made huge advances and truly awe inspiring pieces. Boo Yah!
Tomb of Pope Julius II 1505-1545 (yes, 40 years!)
St Peter’s Cathedral, Rome
This tomb is made of 40 sculptures and was unfinished at the time of his death (69). That’s Moses-front and center and the Pope right above him- maxin’ and relaxin’ playboy style. To help you get an idea of the scale of this, Moses is ten feet tall.
There’s a few things to take note of in this painting...The painting is obviously all about the Jesus but it’s emphasized with a strong one point perspective where that single meeting point is his face. The dark doorway things on his right and left walls and the ceiling grid all point to his gourd. Just about everyone at the table is either pointing to him or looking at him, and the big doorway in the back frames him perfectly. Oh, and he’s right in the middle of the damn thing. I’ve never spoken to anyone who has seen this in person, but judging by the size, Jesus would be about 7’ tall in the piece. The Shaquille Oneal of deities, if you will.
Oh yeah, see the only guy who’s leaning back and his face is turned away from the viewer? That’s Judas (he definitely ate that last popper).
The original artwork was a fresco piece, it was painted right on the wall. Though not uncommon for this time DaVinci was not practiced in this medium and the painting started to deteriorate before he was dead. It’s been restored so many times that any original paint is said to be long gone. DaVinci later mastered fresco painting by writing his Graffiti name “Owtlaw” all around Rome.
Jesus' ‘nice guy’ image is shattered when he finds out that there’s no more jalapeno
The Last Supper
Milan, refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent
181 x 346in
(that’s like 15x28’!)
Tempera with oils on white lead and calcium carbonate
Oily Northern Europe
Jan (pronounced Yon) Van Eyck kicked things into high gear when he became the first person to make oil painting into a legitimate medium in art. Before Van Eyck people mostly painted w/ tempera paint (you probably finger painted w/ tempera...the best thing about it is that you can totally get it in your eyes)- oil based paints at this time were used primarily to seal tempera paintings. Fortunately, Van Eyck found a suitable way to take advantage of the slow drying oil based paints and began to use this to make paintings that one could simply not create w/ slow drying tempera. While Italy was crankin’ out sculptures, these breakthroughs in oils brought a new invigoration to Northern European Renaissance art.
Below detail: 'Jan van Eyck was here 1434' (no shit!) click for linky
The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini and Giovanna Cenami 1434 Oil on Oak, Natl’ Gallery, London
Far Right- Annunciation (remember the Fra Angelico one? That’s Gabriel talking to “Crip” Mary this time.
The MFin’ Sistine Chapel ceiling
Few art historians will argue that this is the single greatest piece of artwork ever made.
Funny thing is, Michelangelo REALLY didn’t want to paint it. He considered himself to be more of a sculptor and was hesitant to take on this epic project, but it was for Pope Julius II (who Michelangelo criticized for his need for grandeur). In his journal, Mike constantly bitched about this piece. He built a scaffold and for 4 years he painted on his back, damaging his vision and all kinds of stuff (not to mention chronic paint-in-the-bearditis!). In the journal he spoke about having to hold letters above his head to see them properly when he was off the scaffolding.
So Michelangelo actually declined the commission but eventually agreed when he was allowed to paint whatever biblical stories he wanted. In all, the ceiling consists of 300 paintings. The Creation of Adam (left) is the centerpiece. It took 3 out of the 4 years to paint this one panel. God is a real giver in this one, he’s instilling life to Adam and the big Playa is about to get him a sweet hook-up (that’s Eve that G-Money has his arm around). Bottom left is the Great flood and directly below is the expulsion from Paradise. I hate snakes, that doesn’t seem so paradise-ey to me.
The Last Judgement (wall behind the Sistine Chapel altarpiece) Christ is in the middle of the painting, and man he’s fucking PISSED! Through out the painting people are cowering at his wrath (including Mary). People are ascending and decending at the will of the big cheese and his saintly homies. The dead are rising and carnage is everywhere. Sooo heavy metal. ‘The artists self-portrait appears twice: in the flayed skin which Saint Bartholomew is carrying in his left hand, and in the figure in the lower left hand corner, who is looking encouragingly at those rising from their graves. -from www.WGA.hu this was the last piece of the Sistine Chapel to be finished. It was finished at the very end of the High Renaissance, marked by the sack of Rome in 1527
If you want to learn more about the ceiling check out this vatican site...it goes into detail that I really can’t go into here. http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/CSN/CSN_Volta.html