A Painting By Leonardo And A Sculpture By Michelangelo
Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo were two rival artists whose work were exemplary and they both lived in the same city. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo and David by Michelangelo are the most renown works of the two and offer the best ingredients of comparison between paintings and sculpture.
The beauty of colors is on one of the grounds that Leonardo uses to argue that paintings are way better than sculptures. Colors arouse different emotions and send different kind of information to the viewer of the painting as intended by the painter. This is something that Leonardo sees sculptures lacking and thus hold paintings as the best of the two.
Michelangelo argues that sculptures are greater than painting because of their durability in that they can withstand harsh environments and still portray the same image and arouse the emotions intended by the author. Leonardo in defending paintings states that the durability does not depend solely on the artists and his skills rather it inclines towards the materials used. As such, painters are able to enjoy the permanency that the sculptures take pride in by going for the best available and durable materials and exercising great skills in their works to ensure that they last for years just as sculptures.
Michelangelo argues that sculptures are greater than paintings because of the level of intense effort that is required in shaping an object into the desired image an artist requires. Unlike paintings that come from most finished products such as paint and paper or cloth, coming up with a sculpture requires an artist to deliver form an irregular object such as marble or wood. The intensity of the work involved in coming up with an adorable according to Michelangelo is more compared to the one needed to come up with an adorable painting. It is for this reason that Michelangelo feels that the greater work deserves the greater honor and thus sculptures are far much better than paintings. On this point, Leonardo is of the opinion that greatness is not achieved by the intensity of the work involved or the bulkiness of what it takes to come up with an amazing piece of art but the greatness is achieved via the final art itself and not the difficulty in coming up with the same.
Leonardo argues that paintings are greater than sculptures on the grounds of professionalism. Paintings require be cognizant of the value and power of shadows in portraying emotions. In Leonardo’s view, a painter exercises more skill in order to come up with a high quality piece of art compared to a sculpture as the later only needs shaping an irregular object to a form that has been laid down by the artist. Leonardo thus feels it is easy for a sculpture artist to come up with outstanding pieces of art at a tender age just like Michelangelo did when he tendered the David art to the city council of Florentine. Leonardo feels that a painter needs time to mature in balancing the colors and producing shadows that clearly drive home the intended emotions and message thus making paintings greater than sculptures.
It is evident from the comparison of the works the two great artists that that paintings are superior to sculptures. The skills required, the durability and the shadowing that brings out the exemplary emotions ensure finer pieces of art compared to sculptures which basically have bragging rights only in terms of effort towards coming up with fine pieces of art.
Michelangelo claims he never had teachers and his skills were inbuilt and through working on various kinds of sculptures he managed to be a finer artists compared to those who were under apprenticeship. The validity of Michelangelo’s claim of never being a student has been put to test in various instances for various reasons.
Michelangelo in his autobiography exhibited a trend of passing over in silence events and people who for some reasons he did not. One of such is Leonardo Da Vinci. The two had a rivalry that at most times was coupled with various fierce and personal statements that depicted the other party as the lesser between them. However, in the autobiography of Michelangelo, Leonardo is not mentioned. This means Michelangelo decided not to bring him in the picture basically because he disliked him and creates the chances that he would have done the same to his teachers as he would want to take all credits for himself.
Leonardo was the older one of the two and it is hinted that before they became foes, they were friends. Various aspects of Leonardo’s paintings are portrayed in the works of Michelangelo. It is therefore reasonable to say that Leonardo was Michelangelo’s teacher at some point. If he wasn’t then he had allowed him access to his works and Michelangelo had benefited from the same by picking up some vital aspects which would later portray in the sculptures he made.
Michelangelo does not associate with Domenico Ghirlandaio in his autobiography. Domenico Ghirlandaio was one of the earliest painters during the renaissance and is closely associated to Michelangelo. As early as 14, Michelangelo was working with Domenico Ghirlandaio as an apprentice and was being paid for his works. His master saw potential in him and being one of the finest talents during the beginning of the renaissance, Domenico ensured that Michelangelo realized his potential as being one of the greatest artist. Michelangelo indeed did have teachers in his artistry career.
Goffen, Rona. Renaissance Rivals: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Titian. Yale University Press, 2004.