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Painting in our Life.
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When painting “The Last Supper”, Leonardo rejected the fresco technique normally used for wall paintings. An artist who uses this fresco method must work quickly. But Leonardo wanted to paint slowly, revise his work, and use shadows — all of which would have been impossible in fresco painting. He developed a new techniques that involved coating the wall with a compound he had created. But the compound, which was supposed to hold in place and protect it from moisture. Did not work. Soon after Leonardo completed the picture, the paint began to flake away. “The Last Supper” still exists, but in poor condition.

“The Mona Lisa” is a portrait of Lisa del Giacondo, the young wife of a Florentine merchant. It is often called “La Gioconda”. “The Mona Lisa” became famous because of the mysterious smile of the subject. Actually, Leonardo showed the woman's face moving into or out of a smile. He arranged her folded hands so that the figure formed a pyramid design. Leonardo's technique solved a problem that had faced earlier portrait painters. These artists had shown only the head and upper part of the body, and the picture seemed to cut off the subject at the cheat. Leonardo's placement of the hands of the “Mona Lisa” gave the woman a more complete, natural appearance. On the whole, Leonardo's paintings are remarkable for their delicate use of Shadow and their sense of motion.

By the early 1500's, Rome had replaced Florence as the chief center of Italian painting. The popes lived in Rome, and they spent great sums on art to make Rome the most glorious city of the Christian world. In addition, two of the greatest artists in history - Raphael and Michelangelo - worked there. The style of painting that centered in Rome

during the early 1500's is called High Renaissance. It combined elements of many earlier styles, including graceful figures, classical Roman realism, and linear perspective. The works of Raphael and Michelangelo best show the High Renaissance style of painting.

Raphael painted balanced, harmonious designs that express a calm, noble way of life. This style appealed to Italians of the early 1500's. During this period, the Roman Catholic Church was sure of its supreme position in Europe, and leading Italians were convinced that the great classical Roman civilization had been reborn and was flourishing in Italy.

Raphael was strongly influenced by Leonardo da Vinces style of arranging figures to form a pyramid. He used this compositional form often in a series of paintings of the Madonna (the Virgin Mary). In these paintings Madonna is as graceful as a goddess. Her manner suggests the Renaissance ideal that a good woman should be faithful, humble, and pure.

Raphael's “School of Athens” covers one wall of the Stanza (a room in the pope's private quarters in the Vatican). He used the actual arch in the wall to frame the painting. Three painted arches serve as a background for the ancient Greek philosophers and scientists in the front of the scene. In the center, beneath the arches, stand Plato and Aristotle, the leading philosophers. Raphael grouped the main representatives of the schools of Greek philosophy and science in casual but carefully organized arrangements. The scene expresses the sense of clarity, space, and proportion for which Raphael became famous.

Mickelangelo worked as a sculptor until the pope ordered him to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. "The Creation of Adam" is one frexo from the chapel ceiling. It shows God moving on a cloud among many angels. He extends a figures toward Adam raises his arm to receive the spark of life. Michelangelo's human figures are more sculptural and solidlooking than Raphael's. Raphael's figures seem happier and more graceful, but not so herac and powerful as Mickelangelo's.

Venetian painting. Venice ranked second only to Rome as a center of Italian art during the 1500's. Venice was a commercial city that handled much of the trade between Europe and the East. Venetian painters showed the influence of Eastern art in their fascination with color. Their works also show a trend away from interest in the hard outline and sculptural and heroic figures found in the paintings of Florence and Rome. Venetian painters tried to please and relax the viewers rather than inspire them to noble deeds. Giorgione, Titian and Tintoretto were the most famous. They all were neasters of oil painting.

The texture of the paint itself interested some Venetian artists more than the subject matter. These painters brushed on their paint in thick strokes. Sometimes they seem almost to have painted their pictures in sweeping brushstrokes. These pictures are often full of motion and action, and invite the viewer to an imaginary world where he can relax in the presence of beautiful women and lovely nature.

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