Showing posts with label rainassance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rainassance. Show all posts

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mona Lisa and the Soul of Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa 1503-1506

Mona Lisa (1503-1506) by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the world’s most famous paintings that have drawn interest for many years from different cultures around the world.  The poise of the painting has created a fascination with people from all lifestyles.  Mona Lisa is seen as perfectly posing in a background of illusion. Together the painting offers a glimpse of a woman who is content in life with a touch of interest in her viewer. The work is seen as a masterpiece of illusion and light. Yet, there might be something more shocking about the Mona Lisa we are not consciously aware of. 

The conventional interpretation of painting is believed by some art scholars to be of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Lisa was from the Gherardini family of Florence and her picture commissioned during the Renaissance. In her early life she married a silk merchant who eventually became a local official. They had five children together before he passed away. It is believed that they had ties to the Medici family even though they had lost much of their prestige over time. No one knows for sure who she actually was.

The painting is interesting in that Leonardo used a pyramid design to place the main figure in center. Above her folded hands one can see a glow of light that helps to create a spherical illusion around the center of her body. The background is an aerial perspective that adjusts the picture image and colors slightly as one move closer and further away. It creates an additional illusion of depth based upon the sensitivity of the eye. Those who are more sensitive can see a slightly different picture based upon the depth of their focus. 

This depth of focus was further highlighted when Cotte, the founder of Lumiere Technology, developed a 13 ultraviolet spectrum camera. The forearm and write were actually holding a drape. There were a couple of mistakes in the painting such as a blotch on the corner of the eye and chin that was actually varnish mistakes and not sickness as commonly thought. In addition, the elbow had to be repaired from a rock thrown at the picture in 1956.

According to Italy's National Committee for Cultural Heritage who magnified Mona Lisa’s eyes, you can find letter LD in the right eye (Leonardo da Vinci) and CE or B- (unknown marking) in the left eye. It is believed that the letters represent the author and the model. Leonardo believed in the eyes as the “doors of the soul” and a special means of communication. It would be natural for such a person to use the eyes as a way of encoding information about the author and its subject.

Others have argued that if you match up Leonardo’s portrait from the left half of his face with the right side of Mona Lisa’s face you will find a match. Of course, you have to flip it in the mirror. A potential reason why Mona Lisa was so oddly charming was that it was Leonardo himself at a younger age. If so, it would be a statement of perception about how what we see is not always everything there is to know. Leonardo was considered a handsome youth with wide appeal and if we change our draping and few other trivial things we actually are viewed as something else. No matter how one views another they fail to miss the deeper complexity of human life.

The portrait of the female version of da Vinci as a Renaissance “looking glass self” would make sense. We define ourselves by our social interaction with others. Leonardo sayings of “doors of the soul”, using mirrors in codes, and being left handed may lend to the concept that we are reflections of what we see in the world. His very creativity being drawn from the differences of how he used his brain and the giftedness by which he felt the world. One must wonder if that great smirk is of him looking upon himself as something different than anyone else can see it—a higher form of conscious awareness.

Is there a reason why scholars call it an “androgynous” look? Androgynous defined as combined of male and female. Was he the thinking and feeling man?  Perhaps the da Vinci’s code is to be able to trace all of his works and stories back to the man who no one truly knew. Can you unlock da Vinci’s code by opening the door? To one has.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Economic Art as Represented in The Merchant Georg Gisze

The Merchant Georg Gisze 1532
The painting entitled The Merchant Georg Gisze, or Der Kaufmann Georg Gisz, depicts a wealthy Steelyard merchant on the North bank of the Thames in London. The Steelyard merchants banned together in order to avoid the power of the princes, pirates, losses in shipping, and other factors that often impact the success of economic gain during this time period. When the artist Hans Holbein finished the work for Georg Gisze in 1532 he was unlikely to be aware that his work would be part of the pantheon of masterpieces.

The Merchants of the Steelyard (der Strahlhof) were first known as the Hanseatic League at their establishment in London Knotor of the year 1320. Eventually they developed their own walled community with a church, warehouse, guards, offices and houses. The league was a defensive pack of guilds, connected to other economic outposts, that protected their trade on the Baltic and North Sea.

At this time in history the world was a very dangerous place as cities could be sacked by enemy ships and armies. What made the Hanseatic League interesting was its Germanic roots as well as its independent loose collection of near democratic associations of over one hundred cities. These cities were independent of local princes and swore allegiance only to the Holy Roman Empire. In this league each city maintained an armed garrison that would come to the aid of other cities when called upon.

The artist Hans Holbein the younger was born in 1497 and passed in 1543. He was considered one of the first artists to work in the Northern Renaissance style. He combined Gothic and humanism styles to create unique masterpieces. He contributed to art, book design and jewelry development. Much of his work was conducted on portraits of important people and he received considerable notoriety for his work. This painting at the steelyard was finished during a time when Hans traveled to England in search of work.

The painting itself is a curiosity in that it was finished for Georg Gisze's potential upcoming marriage. Within the picture there are scales, letters, books and other items commonly used within the period for merchants. It is believed that a few optical and scale issues are apparent within the objects of the work. The vase being too close to the edge of the table represents the instability of the world. The letter in his hand is from a family member further indicating the difficulties of family separation despite the wealth of such a merchant. One can only guess if the mistakes were derived intentionally, from the perspective of the merchant, or the painter.