Saturday, April 29, 2006 05/01/06-Da Vinci

In today's excerpt, Leonardo Da Vinci, circa 1504:

"...during his (17 year absence from Florence) Leonardo's attitude to light and colour in painting had changed all out of recognition, and his return projected a new style of painting into the artistic world of Florence. He now used delicate and sober colouring; his paintings possessed a sensitive tonal unity; and, by contrast with the brilliant definition of his earlier painting, the transitions from light to shadow were gently blurred in a technique later called sfumato (indicating that the individual degrees of these transitions had 'vanished'). At its most obvious this contrast of styles may be seen by setting the early Uffizi Annunciation alongside the Louvre Virgin and Child with St Anne.

This picture in the Louvre also demonstrates a further novel aspect of Leonardo's painting. His figure compositions, like this one, immediately attracted attention on account of their fascinating complexity. Soft, gentle and sinuous, this was a style opposed in most particulars to the world of David and the Bathers cartoon (both by Michelangelo). Paintings of this Leonardesque type were intimate; they possessed delicacy, refinement and sensibility."

Bernard Myers & Trewin Copplestone, The History of Art, Dorset, 1990, p. 508


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