The Lost Battles : Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the Artistic Duel That Defined the Renaissance
From one of Britainrsquo;s most respected and acclaimed art historians, art critic of The Guardian;the galvanizing story of a sixteenth-century clash of titans, the two greatest minds of the Renaissance, working side by side in the same room in a fierce competition: the master Leonardo da Vinci, commissioned by the Florentine Republic to paint a narrative fresco depicting a famous military victory on a wall of the newly built Great Council Hall in the Palazzo Vecchio, and his implacable young rival, the thirty-year-old Michelangelo.We see Leonardo, having just completedThe Last Supper,and being celebrated by all of Florence for his miraculous portrait of the wife of a textile manufacturer. That paintingmdash;theMona Lisamdash;being called the most lifelike anyone had ever seen yet, more divine than human, was captivating the entire Florentine Republic.And Michelangelo, completing a commissioned statue of David, the first colossus of the Renaissance, the archetype hero for the Republic epitomizing the triumph of the weak over the strong, helping to reshape the public identity of the city of Florence and conquer its heart.InThe
In 1503, Leonardo da Vinci, already famous for his towering genius, groundbreaking drawings of human anatomy, and scientific achievements, was commissioned to paint a mural in Florence's Great Council Hall memorializing the Battle of Anghiari. As Leonardo was planning the contours of his painting, a young and less well-known sculptor and artist, Michelangelo, was commissioned to paint a mural of another battle famous in Florentine history, the Battle of Cascina, in the same room. As art critic Jones points out in this energetic, fast-paced, though sometimes repetitive, tale of rivalry and genius, this event became a competition to discover which of the two was "the greatest artist in the world." Leonardo's painting depicts the reality of war in all its horror and grows out of his own experience witnessing military battles. Michelangelo had never been in combat or seen its aftermath, and his scenes of combat are more cerebral. While Michelangelo's The Battle of Cascina gravely and compassionately depicts the humanity of war, Leonardo's The Battle of Anghiari portrays the horrifying images of the battle's madness. Jones's dazzling study of this little discussed competition illustrates the ways that these two great artists competed to assert their imaginations and personalities, giving birth to the Renaissance idea of the artist as godlike creator rather than mere artisan reshaping existing materials. Agent: Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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October 23, 2012
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