Archive for the 'Michelangelo’s First Painting' Category

Dec 11 2009

Michelangelo’s First

michelangelo-first-painting

When I first entered I was amazed at all the different artworks that were displayed. The museum was filled with people. As I looked for Michelangelo’s First Painting, I noticed a lot of people were going in the same direction. I kept walking as I passed a group of people crowding around one area. I did not realize it until I asked someone that the painting I was looking for was the one everyone was looking at. I realized that many people had come here just to see this special exhibition on the last day it was on display here. Many were curious as to what Michelangelo painted his first painting of. Others were attracted to the name of Michelangelo as I heard a couple discussing his big name and his masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. Continue Reading »

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Dec 09 2009

Salomé

Henri Regnault Salome 1870

Painted by Regnault, Salomé is a depiction of an unnamed female figure in the Bible that is often considered a dangerous seductress. The daughter of Herod Antipas – governor of Judea – she is infamous for the execution of John the Baptist, which the dagger and silver platter on her lap serve as a reference to. Most interestingly, this painting was originally of an African woman. Then Regnault expanded the painting at the bottom and the right and decided to use an Italian model. Out of all the paintings at the Met, this one spoke to me for its tranquility. Using oil paint, he created a beautiful, natural, dreamy colors. It resonates like an intimate picture of a lover despite Regnault’s juxtaposition of femininity and violence.

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Dec 09 2009

First painting, First Impression

     To be completely honest I don’t know what I expected from Michelangelo’s first painting, and I was soon to find out as I walked in and a large sign directed me to it. I guess I was almost purposely expecting the opposite of what you would think; this large grand feat of paint. In doing so I was correct at first glance. It was a small oil painting of what appeared to be intertwining demons surrounding St. Anthony.

    The colors in this painting tell me that St. Anthony is the “victim” in this painting. The vibrant reds and greens seem to portray so much power, and St. Anthony is a faded shade of black. What caught my eye was the fact that Michelangelo painting a very calm face on St Anthony. To me this means two things, that it represents that no matter what power anything has you can always persevere, and be mentally sound. Also I felt it showed a touch of comfort from Michelangelo that a Saint will resist all evil, because if a saint cant how can he?

    I was fooled I expected the opposite and at first glace that is what I got but as with most great art, after careful study, I discovered a great intricate painting.

 imagesCALON4HR

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Dec 07 2009

His first painting

Published by under Michelangelo's First Painting

No, it wasn’t that great. The original engraving is better; it was more detailed. I like Saint Anthony’s serene expression Schongauer’s more than his solemn expression in Michelangelo’s. Yes, his form and color are close to flawless and he hinted his own style; but a copy is still a copy. I wasn’t happy with how the Met had made a big deal out of one painting, but I understood the painting’s significance in Michelangelo’s life.

I know that imitation is one of the best ways to practice and grow as an artist. Michaelngelo actually researched on this one piece. He actually studied fish in the markets so he can incorporate the shimmer in the scales on the bodies of the monsters in his painting. But I still can’t accept the fact that his painting had taken the limelight from the original.

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Nov 17 2009

Saint Anthony and his Demonic buddies

A question that often surfaces when it comes to Michelangelo’s First Painting is its authenticity. Critics feel that this creation should not be wholly credited to Michelangelo because it was based on the work of another artist at the time- Martin Schongauer’s “Saint Anthony tormented by demons”. A closer analysis of these two individual paintings will reveal a much more intricate and astonishing revelation.

Michelangelo is not normally known for his paintings but rather for his sculpturing. This disparity helps create a unique sense to his first painting because of this popular conception. My first encounter with these two similar paintings led to a confusing experience: at first I couldn’t tell which painting was whose and that led me to believe that maybe I had walked into the wrong exhibit. However, a closer observation revealed to me just how fascinating Michelangelo was able to recreate this piece of work. Starting with the fact that Michelangelo’s creation is an oil painting helps separate his work from that of Martin Schongauer’s. This may seem like an obvious difference, however it also creates a sense of originality in Michelangel’s painting because the essence of color adds a new dimension to Schongauer’s original work. This “new dimension” gives the subjects in the painting greater life. Through the addition of color, we are able to witness the individuality of these demons that are harassing St Anthony. Because these demons consist of a different blend of color shades, it is more apparent that St Anthony is being attacked by multiple entities as opposed to a conglomeration of demons that are tangled up in a mess with St Anthony in Schongauer’s engraving. The addition of color also meant that Michelangelo had to use different artistic techniques in his creation. Because Schongauer’s engraving was in black and white, techniques such as shading, contouring and texturing were accomplished in a very different means. Michelangelo’s oil painting was based more on the varying degrees of colors and shades to help accomplish the fine details in his painting.
I also couldn’t help but notice the amount of detail when it came to the fish demon. The scales were counted with a thick amount of paint to outline its rich texture (the skin looks so shiny and glossy that it’s almost surreal). The thick buildup of paint blends quite nicely with the fish’s sharp outline.

Another form of emphasis in Michelangelo’s painting is the mixture of color that contrasts one another. For example one demon has a tremendous amount of red coloring while another demon on top of it contains a bland tone of dirt mixtures. Once again, these contrasting colors help give demons more of an individual identity because of their noticeable physical differences.

The addition of a background scenery in Michelangelo’s First Painting provides a feeling of relief in a sense because it helps take away some of the focus from the main subjects and adds more of a contrast to an otherwise intimidating artwork. All these fine details prove that Michelangelo’s First Painting is truly an authentic creation. Forget the fact that he used the composition from Schogauer’s work. Michelangelo’s masterpiece deserves all the merits associated with any piece of authentic artwork. His painting feels original because of the different techniques he utilized, imaginative because of the way he designed this painting and of course most importantly, this painting feels truly unique in the sense that he was able to blend all these artistic elements into the total package. I just cannot help but marvel at how he accomplished all of this at such a young age.

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Nov 12 2009

It’s All In The Colors

Authenticity of any art piece can be measured by how much the artwork succeeds in drawing the viewer towards it and what impact the art piece leaves on the viewer. That’s exactly what Michelangelo’s first painting “The Torment of St. Anthony” succeeds in doing.

The use of colors is such that at the first sight my complete attention was captured by the main event that was taking place in the painting – a serene looking St. Anthony being tormented by bold colored demons in mid air. The blue white background of the painting emphasizes this main subject. Gradually I began noticing the picturesque background, which shows a clear blue cloudless sky at the top, a peaceful river with a boat sailing at the bottom and grey rocks covered with brown-green algae towards the left. This setting of St. Anthony’s torment as portrayed in this painting by Michelangelo adds a mystical and unearthly quality to the otherwise ferocious scene. The boat sailing in the waters below also makes the viewer realize how numinous the situation portrayed is.

I also think that Michelangelo uses  colors in the painting to inform the viewers about the power the demons have over St. Anthony by using bold colors like fiery red and metallic green to represent the demons while St. Anthony cloak is painted in dull black. Further the expression on St. Anthony’s face can be best described as serene and placid. That is not what I would expect from somebody who is being subjected to excruciating pain by a number of demons. This led me to believe that through St. Anthony’s unruffled expression Michelangelo was trying to portray how in spite of the demons’ superior physical strength St. Anthony is much stronger mentally and spiritually that is why he can resist the evil force of the demons.  This point was also proven by the fact that Michelangelo painted dead plants on the rocks close to the demons showing how evil and life threatening the demons really are and still did not affect St. Anthony.

Another thing that struck me about the painting was that the artist showed an extraordinary talent for details when he painted the spikes and the scales in the fish like demon or the bright red ridges on the green body of the winged demon or even the varied expressions of all the nine demons. According to the museum sources Michelangelo was inspired to paint this scene by Martin Schongauer’s engraving. Though the main theme of the painting is the same in Michelangelo’s adaptation of the engraving, Michelangelo softens the characters and the situation by adding a beautiful background and by making the features of the characters and the painting in general less elaborate.

That is why I consider this piece of art as authentic – it appeals to the viewer because of it’s subject as well as for the artistic talent of the painter. As I have mentioned before the artist gives  many hints in the painting through his use of colors, choice of background, characters’ expressions so that the observer can understand what the artist was trying to portray through his art. The subject of the painting is extremely clear and the raw emotions of anger and ferociousness draws the observer towards it.

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Nov 03 2009

“The Torment of Saint Anthony”-Authentic?

Amongst many other definitions, one way of defining authenticity is a quality true to one’s personality, spirit, or character. Most art critics would concur that authenticity is one of the major touchstones upon which the value of a piece of art is based. Michelangelo’s first painting commonly known as “The Torment of Saint Anthony”, was created by him, then only a twelve year old, in the workshop of his trainer, Domenico Ghirlandaio. This first painting of Michelangelo was copied from Martin Schongauer’s famous engraving, “Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons”, thereby raising many questions on its authenticity.

Upon first glance, apart from the evident difference that Michelangelo uses colored paint to depict details of his picture, unlike the many lined engravings that Schongauer uses, it is not easy to differentiate between the two pieces of art. A more careful comparison reveals subtle differences that indicate not only a lot about the painting’s authenticity, but also about the twelve year old Michelangelo himself.

The two paintings are for the most part very similar; they both depict Saint Anthony surrounded and tormented by eight flying demons. Michelangelo has also almost exactly copied the physical structure of the demons. Since this is true, one might wonder what makes Michelangelo’s painting anything more than a mere replica of Schongauer’s engraving. The answer to this question lies in Michelangelo’s perception of the painting and its constituents. The use of bright colors in Michelangelo’s version of the painting reveals a twelve year old’s quest to make the painting vibrant and lively, qualities that according to him may have been lacking in the original engraving. In addition to the spines on the demon on the left hand side of Schongauer’s painting, Michelangelo draws scales on its body in order to depict this imaginary creature with fish-like qualities, just as he may have visualized it in his mind. According to the New York Times, Michelangelo’s former student and biographer, Ascanio Condivi, revealed that Michelangelo even visited a local fish market so as to be able to better depict these scales on the body of the imaginary creature. Schongauer’s original painting has no real setting or background other than one small mountain/rock, causing all eyes to fall directly on the eight demons surrounding St. Anthony. Michelangelo on the other hand, using Renaissance realism, portrays a rural setting, with greenery, hilly mountains, and a boat sailing in water, making the painting a lot more pleasant to look at. The demons look angrier and St. Anthony looks more tormented in the original engraving as compared to Michelangelo’s version, which is understandable considering his outlook towards life as a twelve year old. In his version of the painting, Michelangelo even adds a halo on St. Anthony’s head, which doesn’t exist in the original version.

Thus despite the many similarities between the two pieces of art, the few but important differences that exist between them, give ample evidence to prove that Michelangelo’s, “The Torment of Saint Anthony”, is no replica of Schongauer’s “Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons”. It is instead an authentic piece of art that directly reveals to the world Michelangelo’s perception of Schongauer’s painting almost 522 years after he first saw it as a twelve year old boy studying art. This painting is true to Michelangelo’s personality/spirit/character, and is therefore as authentic as Schongauer’s work.

The Torment of Saint Anthony

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Oct 28 2009

Breath-taking, Insightful.

The painting captivated me. The first thing that took me in was the colorfulness of the piece. There were a lot of vibrant colors that made the piece interesting to look at on the surface.
Michaelangelo's first painting.
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Oct 21 2009

It Was A Ford, But No Jaguar!

The Torment of Saint Anthony was painted by Michelangelo, when he was only twelve or thirteen years old. Recently bought by the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, The Torment of Saint Anthony has been conserved and examined at the Metropolitan Museum this summer, where it is making its American debut in a gallery display titled “Michelangelo’s First Painting.” The display, organized by Keith Christiansen, sets the painting and Schongauer’s original engraving side by side.

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Oct 19 2009

Michelangelo’s Journey

It is evident to me that a piece of art is authentic when it grabs my attention and stands out to me in a way that no other art piece in the room possibly can.  “Michelangelo’s First Painting” entitled “the “Torment of Saint Anthony” did just that.  Seeing the painting and learning about the story behind it really allowed me to view Michelangelo’s work in a new light. Continue Reading »

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