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Artist: Donatello “St. George” The St. George is widely regarded as a tribute to the classical heroes of antiquity. His features are strong and masculine, yet delicate and youthful, as Florentines of the period liked to imagine the fabled heroes of the past. In the 1420s Donatello's search for a naturalistic rendering was intensified, and unrealistic elements have been discarded. This process reached its highest point in the Prophet Jeremiah and the Prophet Habakkuk the so-called Zuccone (pumpkin-head) “Zuccone” The setting is elaborately classical - though the composition recalls iconographical precedents of Medieval Times. T “The Annunciation” by Donatello Artist: Leonardo da Vinci “The Last Supper” Christ's head is at the center of the composition, framed by a halo-like architectural opening. His head is also the vanishing point toward which all lines of the perspectival projection of the architectural setting converge. “Female Head” Gouache on wood Gouache—From the Italian “guazzo”, meaning “water paint”, its use appears to go back some 800 years, used originally to illuminate manuscripts. Early European painters used it as an outdoor sketching medium An aura of mystery surrounds this painting, which is veiled in a soft light, creating an atmosphere of enchantment. There are no hard lines or contours here (a technique of painting known as sfumato—fumo in Italian means "smoke"), only seamless transitions between light and dark. Perhaps the most striking feature of the painting is the sitter's ambiguous half smile. Leonardo explores the possibilities of oil paint in the soft folds of the drapery, texture of skin, and contrasting light and dark (chiaroscuro). “Mona Lisa” Artist: Leonardo da Vinci Artist: Michelangelo The Sistine Chapel Pope Sixtus IV commissioned celebrated painters, including Botticelli and Rosselli, to decorate the chapel. At this point, the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling was painted like a simple blue sky with stars. In 1503, a new pope, Julius II, decided to change some of the Sistine Chapel's decoration. He commanded artist Michelangelo to do it. Michelangelo balked, because he considered himself a sculptor, not a painter, and he was hard at work sculpting the king’s tomb. But Pope Julius insisted, and Michelangelo began work on his famous frescoed ceiling in 1508. He worked for four years. It was so physically taxing that it permanently damaged his eyesight. Artist: Michelangelo “Pieta” This was a special work of art even in the Renaissance because at the time, multifigured sculptures were rare. These two figures are carved so as to appear in a unified composition which forms the shape of a pyramid, something that other Renaissance artists (e.g. Leonardo) also favored. “Moses” The Moses by Michelangelo can be dated from 1513-1515 and was to be part of the tomb of Pope Julius II. The posture is that of a prophet, posed on a marble chair, between two decorated marble columns. His long beard descends to his lap and is set aside by his right hand, which also leans on the plates. This posture of the seated prophet also appears in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes from a year earlier. In fact here we have a rare example of Michelangelo as the painter of the Sistine Chapel influencing Michelangelo the sculptor! Artist: Raphael “The School of Athens” The School of Athens represents all the greatest mathematicians, philosophers and scientists from classical antiquity gathered together sharing their ideas and learning from each other. These figures all lived at different times, but here they are gathered together under one roof. The two thinkers in the very center, Aristotle (on the right) and Plato (on the left, pointing up) have been enormously important to Western thinking generally, and in different ways, their different philosophies were incoporated into Christianity. Plato holds his book called The Timaeus. Artist: Raphael “Sistine Madona” “The Disputation of the Eucharist” Five hundred years ago Raphael, the great master painter of the Renaissance, was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the Sistine Madonna. Today, it is one of the most famous works of art in the world. Note the two cherubs at the bottom, who are often reproduced without the rest of the painting! In the painting, Raphael has created a scene spanning both heaven and earth. Above, Christ is surrounded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and various biblical figures such as Adam, Moses and Jacob. God the Father sits above Jesus, depicted reigning over the golden light of heaven, and below Christ's feet is the dove of the Holy Spirit. Below, on the altar sits the monstrance.