I had a very pleasant walk this morning. It was a little bit breezy, and it was nice to have a padded jacket, but otherwise, it was good to be out.
The part of Gombrichs book, The Story of Art I’m on now, around pages 3 – 400 are dealing with the arrival, in order of Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raffello or Raphael. Whilst each artist produced a plethora of truly historic work, some pieces are worth mentioning individually;
Leonardo’s Mona Lisa – I’ve seen her in the flesh so to speak. It was strange because the picture was smaller than I thought it would be, and her eyes follow you. But Leonardo brought in the technique of painting truly life like portraits – I’m doing a gross injustice both to Leonardo and Gombrich here. The picture and the words are both so much more expressive than my writings.
Michelangelo is of course remembered for his painting of the Sistine chapel. We have been to Rome, the Vatican, We didn’t go into the chapel, the queue was too big, and we had only limited time. But any picture of it really doesn’t do it justice. I must admit, I would like to go back.
Then of course, there is Raphael; I’ve heard of him, but never paid him much attention. One of his best known pictures is the the drawing of the nymph Galatea. On page 320 of the book Gombrich talks about Raphael drawing of the picture between 1512 – 1514. He says that at the showing of the picture, a courtier asked him where he had found a model of such beauty? Now, temporarily this is where I head in a different direction; How does Gombrich know that Raphael was asked that question, and by a courtier no less – that bit isn’t surprising, it’s the detail. Did Raphael keep a diary? I can understand the information available about The Venerable Bede, he was written about and was himself writing – what are the records relating to Raphael? Come to that, who wrote about Michelangelo and Leonardo? Who gave us the information we have about them? Who knew to write to the future?