Quick Notes on Michelangelo and Leonardo

Michelangelo & Leonardo
Michelangelo-studied sculpture in Florence. He studied the human anatomy by cutting up
parts of a body to reproduce in his sculptures. He created La Pieta (1498-1500) by the
time he was 25 years old. It is housed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This is the only
worked that he signed (overheard someone say it was done by another sculptor and sent
Michelangelo into a fit of rage so he chiseled his name into it). In Il Davide (1501-1504),
Michelangelo proved to his contemporaries that he not only surpassed all modern artists,
but also the Greeks and Romans, by infusing formal beauty with powerful expressiveness
and meaning. In 1508 he was summoned to do the Sistine Chapel ceiling. It took him
over four years to draw and paint over 400 figures. He got to a point where he could only
read things above his head (from lying on the scaffolding all those years). He was also
one of the architects for St. Peter’s Basilica.
Leonardo-created the fresco The Last Supper from 1495-1498 in Milan. He started
painting the Mona Lisa in Florence (1506-1519). He studied anatomy, town-planning,
optics and hydraulic engineering. His works included a parachute, car, churches and
temples, battleship, boat with paddle wheels, odometer, pulleys, and revolving bridge. He
was seen as a superlative male beauty, had a good singing voice, magnificent physique,
mathematical excellence, scientific daring... the list is endless. This overabundance of
talents caused him to treat his artistry lightly, seldom finishing a picture, and sometimes
making rash technical experiments. The Last Supper, in the church of Santa Maria delle
Grazie in Milan, for example, has almost vanished, so inadequate were his innovations in
fresco preparation. He used sfumato (softening of outlines), chiaroscuro (blending of
light and dark) and oil paintings.