February 2, 2016.

Painting With The Girls 33

February 2, 2016.

Day 33, (333 days to go).

Postcard watercolor, collage 5X7

With the decline of Florence in the 1490’s, leadership shifted to Rome where the “High Renaissance” took place. The church and the pope had so many resources that even the Medici family could not compete with them for, the artistic greatness of the Leonardo da Vinci (1452- 1519), Raphael (1483-1520) and Michelangelo (1475-1564). Paul Johnson writes in Art A New History,  ”Each has been described as the greatest artist who has lived, and the fact that, though disparate ages, they were briefly contemporaries, and in Rome together, gives the eternal city a unique glow at this time.”

Leonardo Da Vinci was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, astronomer, cartographer, botanist, historian and writer. It is commonly accepted that he was one of the greatest painters of all times, and one of the most talented people to haver lived in the Western world. He has often been taught of as the quintessential Renaissance man.

He was also a technological innovator, conceptualizing flying machines and concentrated solar power. He also hypothesized about the extremely basic theory of plate tectonics. Practically, none of these inventions had the capacity to be created in his lifetime, but he was able to create a few of his smaller and more feasible inventions.

Despite his inventions, Leonardo Da Vince was best know and primarily celebrated as a painter. The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous and frequently parodied portraits in existence. Similarly the last Supper is the most recreated religious painting of all time.  Only fifteen of his paintings have survived, and this is in part because of his frequent and often unsuccessful experimental techniques with paints. Only Michelangelo possible rivals his work, as he is often considered one of the most ingenious painters that the art world has ever seen.

Leonardo da Vince   The Last Supper

Milan's most famous mural, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper (Il Cenacolo) is hidden away on a wall of the refectory adjoining the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie . Depicting Christ and his disciples at the dramatic moment when Christ reveals he's aware of his betrayal, it's a masterful psychological study and one of the world's most iconic images. To see it you must book in advance or sign up for a guided city tour.