Art through the ages has changed considerably. From cave drawings to contemporary art, man has had an insatiable longing to create, and relate to the world around him. There are many forms of art, and a multitude of opinions on what art is. What appeals to one person is different from what appeals to another. I have selected two works of art that differ in style and content to illustrate how they have influenced my perception of what art is and what appeals to me.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is one of the most recognizable works of art in the world. Even for those who aren’t “religious” it doesn’t cease to amaze. Although The Last Supper has been painted by many artists, such as Andrea del Castagno, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Domenico Glurlandaio, to name a few, Leonardo Da Vinci’s rendition is the most renowned.
Leonardo Da Vinci lived during the time of the Renaissance. Renaissance is French for re-birth – in Italian it is Rinascimento. It was a cultural movement that spanned roughly from the 14th to the 17th century. Beginning in Florence in the late Middle Ages and spreading to the rest of Europe. The influence of the church on religious art and the most important biblical stories was of paramount importance during the Renaissance. Since the church served as a patron for much of the religious art during the Renaissance, artists aimed to inspire reverence. The spiritual content of painting was changing though, and devotional art became classically humanized. Classical artistic principles, including harmonious proportion, realistic expression, and rational postures were emulated.
No matter the discipline, artists find inspiration in a variety of ways. An artists imagination and emotional state play a vital role in the creative process. Artists also use their environment and religious influences to inspire new creations. Finally, one may be forcibly inspired by artistic patronage. An artists imagination makes an impact on their work. New, unknown images, words, and sounds ...
Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is a mural painting in Milan, Italy, created for his patron Duke Ludovico Sforza and his duchess Beatrice d’Este. It represents the scene of The Last Supper from the final days of Jesus as narrated in the four gospels of the New Testament of the bible. The theme was a traditional one for refectories of the time. It is Christ’s announcement that one of his twelve Apostles would betray him. It measures 15 feet x 29 feet and covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. He began work on the painting in 1495 and completed it in 1498. Da Vinci used linear perspective to compose the painting. The angles and lighting draw attention to Jesus, whose head is located at the vanishing point for all perspective lines. Christ has an expression of resigned sadness, and at the same time, an assured and regal poise. He gestures to the wine on the table with his right hand, to the bread with his left. He is the only person to have a geometrical shape, an almost perfect triangle, signifying the Holy Trinity. Bartholomew, James, and Andrew form a group of three. All seem to be surprised by what Jesus has announced. Peter, John, and Judas form another group pf three.
Judas’s head is the lowest of anyone in the painting. Thomas, James and Philip are the next group of three. Thomas is clearly very upset, James looks stunned, and Philip seems to be asking for an explanation. Mathew, Jude, and Simon are the final group of three, all looking perplexed. The Apostles are displaying very human emotions. Da Vinci was one of the first to depict real people acting like real people. He scoured the streets of Milan for more than two years, searching for faces to make the visages of the Apostles. Since he was commissioned to do this painting it is not known how he felt about it, and what it meant to him, but as a Renaissance man Da Vinci was interested in the human and the psychological, so he emphasized that extraordinary moment and the Apostles’ response to it.
It is from this response, and what the painting represents that I’m drawn to. Aside from his extraordinary use of color and perspective, his skill of evoking an emotional response from the viewer is what is most compelling.
The Last Supper is a unique painting. One of the reasons it is so different is that the canvas it is painted on is much wider than it is tall. By looking at the painting you can see that da Vinci is painting a gathering of people with the one in the middle of the table receiving most of the attention. The painting is most likely done on a canvas with simple oil paints. One feature a viewer might ...