Saturday, April 7, 2012

Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Leonardo, Princes of Painting

All Renaissance artists were inspired by the recognized "greats" of their times, Leonardo da Vinci, born on 15 April 1452, Michaelangelo, born 6 March 1475, and Raphael born April 6, 1483. These artistic Titans  definitely saw each other's worksm yet each remained true to his own style. Their impact on athe history of art cannot be properly estimated.

Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists pays tribute to  these masters perhaps better than anyone. He was a painter as well as a writer and a contemporary of these artists. He spent sixteen pages praising da Vinci as "a single person marvelously endowed by heaven with beauty, grace and talent in such abundance that he leaves other men far behind." He elaborates in forty pages on the painter and architect Raphael whom "nature sent into the world after it had been vanquished by Michaelangelo and was ready to be vanquished by Raphael's character as well." Florentine painter, sculptor, and architect Michaelangelo is described thus: "God chose to have Michaelangelo born a Florentine, so that one of her own citizens might bring to absolute perfection the achievements for which Florence was already justly renowned." Vasari devotes one hundred and seventeen pages to "the greatest artist, sculptor, and architect who ever lived," Michaelangelo.

Giorgio Vasari lived from 1511 to 1574. He is remembered for his biographies of artists from Cimabue and Giotto in the late 13th C. to the developments in Italian art down to the golden epoch of the greatest of the Renaissance in the 16th century. He includes his reflections on the state of contemporary Florentine art, its philosophies and its aims. The historical and critical value of his work is without parallel. Lives of the Artists has been tremendously popular since its first edition was published in 1550.

Raphael was born on Good Friday and departed life at age 37, also on Good Friday. His fantastic painting  The School of Athens shown above, pays tribute to Leonardo and Michaelangelo. He includes his handsome self as well. See a larger version on this at Wikipedia's site when you search under Raphael's name.

Leonardo lived 67 years, Michaelangelo persisted 89 years, and Raphael's candle was snuffed out when he was only 37.

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