Who Is The Archetypal Renaissance Man?

By Darren Hartley

Two of the most influential works in fresco in Western art history are Michelangelo paintings. They are renowned regardless of the low opinion of painting Michelangelo has. These works are the Genesis scenes found on the Sistine chapel ceiling and the Last Judgment painting on the Sistine Chapel altar wall. The Sistine chapel is found in Rome.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simon was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer. He is not only known for his Michelangelo paintings but also for two sculptures made before he turned thirty. These are the Pieta and the David.

Michelangelo also revolutionized classical architecture. He accomplished this by using plaster as the main ingredient when he designed the dome for St. Peter's Basilica. Like the Sistine chapel, this basilica can also be found in Rome.

The Michelangelo sketches are among the earliest of Michelangelo paintings. The volume of these surviving sketches, together with correspondences and reminiscences, make Michelangelo the best documented artist from the 16th century.

Michelangelo has been considered for the title of archetypal Renaissance man based on his versatility in the disciplines of the highest order. His fellow Italian and rival, Leonardo da Vinci is his sole competitor for the title. Despite making only a low number of forays beyond the arts, Michelangelo was still able to acquire this discipline versatility. The Renaissance man represents a person whose seeming endless curiosity is matched only by his inventive skills.

The Mona Lisa and the Last Supper are two Da Vinci paintings that occupy the unique positions of being the most famous, most reproduced and most parodied portrait and religious paintings of all time. Only the Creation of Adam, painted by his co-Italian and rival, Michelangelo has been able to approached the fame of these two Da Vinci paintings.

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian polymath, having been a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer, one time or the other. However, it is primarily for his Da Vinci paintings that he was renowned for.

Among the iconic Da Vinci paintings is his drawing of the Vitruvian Man. Due to Leonardo's constant, and frequently disastrous experimentation with new techniques, together with his chronic procrastination, only fifteen Da Vinci paintings experienced survival.

Despite their low number, these surviving Da Vinci paintings are contributions to later artist generations. These contributions are aided by Leonardo's notebooks that house drawings, scientific diagrams and personal thoughts on the art of painting. Again, this set of contributions is only rivalled by the set from his chief contemporary rival, Michelangelo.

The earlier Da Vinci paintings were products of an education in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio.

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