Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > Art and Cultural History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Art and Cultural History Art and Cultural History Forum - Music, Literature, Mythology, Visual Arts, Sports, Popular Culture


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old March 29th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #11
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: San Diego
Posts: 3,265
Re: Mona Lisa


Art is discursive... it must be understood in context.

At that time, Europe had clawed its way back from the dark ages and stood, once again, at the same pinnacle of human civilization that every other civilization before it had stood... Egypt, Rome, Babylon, all had crested at the same level of architectural and cultural achievement, and then declined.

But Europe did not follow that path... The advent of Arab/Indus numeric notation, and in particular the concept of Zero... gave Europe Math.
The ability to manipulate and calculate in a manner no previous civilization had achieved...
This was combined with the advent of printing, so this new knowledge spread like a wildfire.

What we call the renaissance is not really a revival... it was more about breaking entirely new ground.

In art, thru the new science of optics, this manifested in the development of Perspective illustration. The Romans, for all their vaunted glory, and never figured out perspective... and neither had any other culture.

Perspective gave the artist and the architect and the map maker the ability to represent the world more accurately... in a way that could be used predictively... thus Brunellesci could build a cathedral and KNOW precisely how every line in the nave would converge on the altar as the faithful came thru the door... just as Leonardo could paint the last supper and KNOW he would create a believable illusion of another room, with people sitting at a table that seemed so real as to be astonishing.

Leonardo was instrumental in the development of these new technologies, and actually drafted one of the most important corrections to early perspective technique, based upon his own study of optics.


To appreciate the achievements of the renaissance masters, you have to understand how revolutionary and new this kind of imagery was... walking into a room and seeing a fresco that you could SWEAR was a doorway to another vast room, full of people who seemed as real as your own reflection...
No one had seen such things before.

These works... the first couple of generations of perspective painting, were, to the people who saw them, as engrossing and absorbing and as full of wonder as the movie Avatar is to us, today.

And avatar would not even be possible, without the corrections to perspective geometry made by Leonardo. all those years ago.


These paintings are prized because they are the very First to ever attain such realism. There are no older works that are better.

And that they have survived... all this time... is a wonder in itself.

I would think a forum fulla history folks would have a solid grasp of this.
sculptingman is online now  
Remove Ads
Old March 29th, 2010, 09:59 PM   #12

violet's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Mar 2010
From: Canada
Posts: 325
Re: Mona Lisa


sculptingman, I think we have a grasp of that....but it doesn't necessarily mean that we have to love the Mona Lisa...you're absolutely right, it was a wonder for people back then, and an innovative work of art....I completely agree with you. Having studied art and being an artist myself, I am with you...I appreciate what the painting means in a historical context, in the history of art...

However, when you copy, recopy, over analyze, over reproduce, over write about, make movies, photocopy, God knows what else ABOUT, it becomes overkill and loses its spark... that's what we've done to the Mona Lisa...
violet is offline  
Old March 30th, 2010, 09:15 PM   #13
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: San Diego
Posts: 3,265
Re: Mona Lisa


Perhaps...

and yet, I have seen a thousand images of the Venus on the Halfshell, but it was not even close to what the painting looks like standing inches away from the real thing... I have books that show every sculpture Bernini ever carved, and I have poured over them in detail to the point of boredom... but to stand in the Victoria and Albert in London and place my hand on the stone Bernini's own hand polished ( shhh- don't tell the docents ) it was something different.

I agree that to see reproductions ad nauseam of the Mona Lisa has turned the IMAGE into an icon, and almost a form of background noise...

But the Artifact Itself... the actual painting, with each brushstroke reflecting the gesture of the hand as vividly as performance... that is what still captivates.

No reproductions comes close to capturing the real colors of the real thing.
The real subtlety and real nuance.


To translate it into something more up the average historum dweller's line of interest... there is a difference in having a mannlicher carcano rifle... and having THE mannlicher carcano rifle that shot Kennedy.

There is a difference between picking up a Claymore... and picking up Willam Wallace's own Claymore...

There is a connection in seeing the thing itself...
Knowing someone is dead is information... Standing over their bones a thousand years after they died is to come in contact with real history.
sculptingman is online now  
Old March 31st, 2010, 06:05 AM   #14

diddyriddick's Avatar
Forum Curmudgeon
 
Joined: May 2009
From: A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
Posts: 14,692
Re: Mona Lisa


Quote:
Originally Posted by daftone View Post
I think it has to do with the mystery behind it. First it was painted by Davinici so its worth a lot. Then they say he worked on it for a long time to perfect it. Some even suggest its a self portrait of him as a women. Then their something about the light effects and the background sizes and other stuff that only artists understand that make it a masterpiece.

Then again someone throws some paint randomly at a canvas and it sells for millions. I could get a monkey at a zoo to do the same thing.
Agreed, D. A few years ago, one of the TV feature news programs(60 minutes perhaps) brought in a number of art critics, art historians, and general eggheads to evaluate an unsigned painting at a s**** gallery. They(the eggheads) spoke of its Pollard influence, its interplay of colors, its shadows etc. But invariably, they raved about it!

Turns out the joke was on the eggheads; this particular painting was painted by a 4 year old.
diddyriddick is offline  
Old March 31st, 2010, 06:29 AM   #15

diddyriddick's Avatar
Forum Curmudgeon
 
Joined: May 2009
From: A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
Posts: 14,692
Re: Mona Lisa


Kudos to Sculptingman for the persuasive discourse on the art and artists of the Renaissance.

But for me, Daftone is right on the money. Leonardo captures the entire spirit of femininity and all that encompasses. As men, we are indeed, pigs. We are, however, pigs of habit. Things haven't changed all that much since the Renaissance. The allure of the Mona Lisa is in her mystique. While men undoubtedly think the same things about women that we did in the 16th century, we also are intrigued by what we don't know; when that imponderable is unknowable, then it is maddeningly compelling. I'm not a huge fan of juxtaposing popular and "high" culture, but Nat King Cole voices this better than I can.

"Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have named you
You're so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only 'cause you're lonely they have blamed you?
For that Mona Lisa strangeness in your smile?

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art?

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa...."

What is perhaps the most telling aspect of da Vinci's genius is that, as a homosexual, he captures this aspect in a heterosexual context. Put another way, I as a heterosexual, can't conceive of the attraction a man feels for another; for a homosexual to be able to capture that does not, in my opinion, belittle heterosexuals, but rather speaks to the power of observation that da Vinci had.

Just my 2 cents.
diddyriddick is offline  
Old March 31st, 2010, 11:16 AM   #16

Pedro's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2008
From: On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
Posts: 16,365
Blog Entries: 2
Re: Mona Lisa


I agree with all of you.
And would like to add that the portrait of Cecelia Gallerani holding an ermine may have been a pun on her name, an ermine in Greek is known as gallče. The ermine was also considered to be a symbol of purity. Perhaps this was a sly reference to the ladies reputation. We can´t be sure but we do know that Leonardo enjoyed a good joke. He even gave up precious pages of his notebook in jotting down a few.
An example:
"Hey, Leo! How come your paintings are so beautiful and your children so ugly."
"That's because I make my kids by day and my children at night".*

*I am told it is funnier in the original Italian written backward.
Pedro is offline  
Old March 31st, 2010, 11:35 AM   #17

Pedro's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2008
From: On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
Posts: 16,365
Blog Entries: 2
Re: Mona Lisa


Quote:
Originally Posted by sculptingman View Post
I would think a forum fulla history folks would have a solid grasp of this.
You were doing so well until this last line.
Pedro is offline  
Old March 31st, 2010, 12:51 PM   #18

Patricia's Avatar
New Member of the Month - March 2010
 
Joined: Mar 2010
From: Seattle
Posts: 413
Re: Mona Lisa


For me, being a simple country girl, I like the Mona Lisa because to my eye, that's what she is, a simple country girl. We sit here in front of our monitors pondering and pontificating about what Leonardo did and was trying to do, but all he really did was paint a portrait of a young woman. His genius lay in his ability to portray life as he saw it, and what I think he saw was a slightly shy, rather plain girl with a bent toward mischief. So that's what he painted. And that's why we appreciate his work, because of it's honesty.
Patricia is offline  
Old June 18th, 2016, 01:21 AM   #19
Historian
 
Joined: Aug 2015
From: uk
Posts: 1,507

There are far more interesting paintings of ladies imho; Holbein's Princess Elizabeth for one. Perhaps there are qualities to the Mona Lisa that I cannot appreciate such as lighting etc., but the most important things for me are that it either brings alive what it is showing or exudes a message (hidden or otherwise) waiting to be discovered - the Mona Lisa does neither for me.
paranoid marvin is online now  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > Art and Cultural History

Tags
lisa, mona



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.