Masters of the Renaissance: Leonardo and Michelangelo

We have all heard of the great masters of the Renaissance, Leonardo and Michelangelo, speculations regarding the true lives and meanings of their works have been rife for centuries, indeed books such as the Da Vinci Code and the recent Michelangelo blockbuster exhibitions at the British Museum only serve to confirm the continued interest in these artists.   But how much do we really know about their lives and their work, how did they become such great artists, were they famous in their own lifetimes, were they rich and where and how did they learn their craft?

How much of a maverick was Leonardo, this lecture will look into Leonardo’s pre-occupation with anatomy and his struggles with dissections.  How long did it take  Michelangelo to fresco the Sistine Chapel ceiling, how did he do it, what was his relationship with the papacy and his contemporaries such as Raphael, indeed how real was the competition and struggle for dominance between artists?

This lecture will not only look at the early years of the two great master, their training and the masters that taught them, but will also provide an insight into the lives of Leonardo and Michelangelo while looking at some of their major works, and will ultimately provide an understanding of their works through the historical and social context within which these artists worked.

General Bibliography:

Bull, George (ed), Giorgio Vasari: Lives of the Artists, (Penguin Books, 1987) Volumes: I & II

Cellini, Benvenuto, (Bull, George, trans & intro) Autobiography, (Penguin Classics, 1998)

Chapman, Hugo, Michelangelo – Drawings: Closer to the Master, (British Museum Press, 2005)

Dunkerton, Jill & Hirst, Michael, Making and Meaning: The Young Michelangelo (National Gallery Publications, 1994)

Kemp, Martin, Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man, (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Kemp, Martin, Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design, (V&A Publications, 2006)

Levey, Michael, Florence: A Portrait (Pimlico, 1996)

Rubin, Patricia Lee and Wright, Alison, Renaissance Florence: The Art of the 1470’s, (National Gallery Publications Ltd, 1999)

Thompson Jnr, Daniel V, (trans), Cennino d’Andrea Cennini: The Craftsman’s Handbook – Il Libro dell’Arte (Dover Publications inc, 1960)

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04/12/2010 – © Leslie Primo