The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, July 13, 2014


Book Asks Who's Greater, Michelangelo or Leonardo?
LONDON (REUTERS).- A new book focuses on a 16th century competition that set out to discover who was the better artist -- Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci, and says the outcome profoundly influenced the Renaissance titans' legacies.

Jonathan Jones, a British art critic who has been a Turner Prize judge, said the contest was familiar to art historians but to his knowledge had not been treated as the subject for a book.

"The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel that Defined the Renaissance," published by Simon & Schuster," hits stores on Thursday and describes a dramatic and defining moment in art history.

The decision by Florence officials that Michelangelo was the victor helped launch the younger artist's career and set him on a path to glory with key commissions in Rome.

Leonardo, meanwhile, was sidelined despite having a more established reputation, and ended up in the French court, which would have been looked down upon by Italy's art patrons.

"You are not left in much doubt that it was a competition," Jones said in a telephone interview. "The Florentine Renaissance was obsessed with competition."

And so, at the turn of the 16th century, the Florentine government commissioned the artists to produce rival battle frescos -- Leonardo's "Battle of Anghiari" and Michelangelo's "Battle of Cascina" -- for a hall in the civic palace.

Neither painting was completed and both are lost, although they survive partially through engravings and sketches. But Jones is in little doubt Michelangelo emerged from the contest with his reputation enhanced while Leonardo suffered a setback.

By presenting Michelangelo as a genius who was working on a great battle painting, the Florentine state helped him secure an even more important commission, the Sistine Chapel, Jones said.

"It was a very important thing that he had trashed Leonardo in this competition and was seen as the greatest artist in history," Jones added. "That was because he had this competition and had won it.

"Yet Leonardo, who was arguably the most famous of them all, doesn't get any of those commissions (to rebuild Rome). He was seen as not delivering in the contest."

History Kinder to Leonardo
Jones argues that the fiercely competitive atmosphere of Renaissance art helped spur it to ever greater heights, even if it did damage some careers while helping to launch others.

He also believes that had Leonardo's battle picture been championed in the same way as that of his rival, the history of Italian art may have taken a darker, more disturbing turn.

"It (the lost battle picture) probably was his masterpiece and was almost like the antithesis of the Renaissance," he said. "If he (Leonardo) had been the model for the artist, over the next 200-300 years a lot of things might have been different."

While the two-year contest that ended in 1506 cast Leonardo as the loser, Jones believes history has been kinder to him.

"I've changed my mind so many times in writing this book," Jones said, asked who he thought was the greater of the two.

"These were both incomparable geniuses. There is no question that Michelangelo did win, but Leonardo has won historically, just about.

"Michelangelo has been consistently revered, but since Leonardo's notebooks started to be edited and translated and popularized in the 19th century, and we get a sense of Leonardo as a scientist and not just an artist, Leonardo has probably pipped Michelangelo to the post.

"Leonardo, in my heart, ultimately wins."
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

Renaissance | Michelangelo | Leonardo Da Vinci | Simon & Schuster |


Today's News

March 31, 2010

Museo Reina Sofia Explores the Extraordinary Production of Drawings by Martín Ramírez

2,000-Year-Old Ceiling Partially Collapses at Nero's Fabled Golden Palace

Gleeson O'Keefe Foundation Provide Funds to Acquire Sidney Nolan Painting

Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell Subject of Three-Part Exhibition

Rare Work by Javanese Artist Raden Saleh to be Offered at Christie's

Leading Modern Artists to be Shown at Irish Museum of Modern Art

Mike Nelson Selected to Represent Britain at the 54th Venice Biennale

A Rare Imperial Presentation Charger Highlights Christie's Russian Art Sale

Idea Generation Gallery Presents One of the Greatest Album Artists

Poster Auctions International to Offer More than 500 Lots

Dolby Chadwick Gallery Presents New Paintings by John DiPaolo

Contemporary Peruvian Artist Kukuli Velarde Exhibits at Barry Friedman Ltd.

Vintage World Cup Posters on Offer at Christie's in May

Philadelphia Museum of Art Announces Exhibition that Surveys Renoir's Final Decades

Bruce Lee's Wife, Daughter Open Hong Kong Exhibit

First Solo Exhibition in a UK Public Gallery for Angela de la Cruz Opens at Camden Arts Centre

Crystal Bridges Announces Works by Female Artists

120,000 Enchanting Singing Bird Musical Box for Sale at Bonhams

Two Projects for Historic Salisbury Cathedral

Book Asks Who's Greater, Michelangelo or Leonardo?

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Conservation treatment, research and touristic-education program surrounding the Ghent Altarpiece

2.- Exhibition offers an opportunity to discover the wide-ranging materials used to create colour in paintings

3.- Amsterdam revolts against United States architect Daniel Libeskind Holocaust memorial

4.- Claude Monet 'Water Lilies' painting sells for $54 million at Sotheby's in London

5.- Spain's Queen Letizia opens "El Greco and modern painting" exhibition at The Prado

6.- Hopper's Nighthawks tops the list for Art Everywhere US: Largest outdoor art show ever

7.- Rijksmuseum opens exhibition of fourteen monumental sculptures by Alexander Calder

8.- Association of Art Museum Directors sanctions Delaware Art Museum for sale of work of art

9.- Whitney concludes Uptown exhibition programming with Jeff Koons: A Retrospective

10.- Live art by top international artists steals the show at 45th edition of Art Basel fair

Related Stories



Renaissance Seattle Hotel and Seattle Art Museum Celebrate Legacy of Pablo Picasso

Senegal's "Renaissance Woman" Faces Cover-Up

Musée National de la Renaissance Opens Exhibition Exploring Body Care and Cosmetics



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site