Basilica of Saint Peter • known in Italian as the Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano • one of four major basilicas of Rome (Basilica of St. John Lateran, St. Peter's, Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Paul outside the Walls) • It is the most prominent building inside the Vatican City and built on the ruins of Old Saint Peter's Basilica. • Possibly the largest church building in Christianity, it covers an area of 2.3 ha (5.7 acres) and has a capacity of over 60,000 people. • One of the holiest sites of Christendom in the Catholic tradition, • It is traditionally the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to Roman Catholic tradition, also the first Bishop of Antioch, and later first Bishop of Rome. • Although the New Testament does not mention Peter's presence or martyrdom in Rome, Catholic tradition holds that his tomb is below the baldachin and altar; for this reason, many Popes, starting with the first ones, have been buried there. • Construction on the current basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed in 1626. • Although the Vatican basilica is not the Pope's official seat (Saint John Lateran), it is most certainly his principal church, as most Papal ceremonies take place at St. Peter's due to its size, proximity to the Papal residence, and location within the Vatican City walls. • The basilica also holds a relic of the Cathedra Petri, which is, according to Catholic tradition, the episcopal throne of the basilica's namesake when he supposedly led the Roman church, but which is no longer used as the Papal cathedra. It is believed that a piece of this cathedra, or chair, is contained within the altarpiece, designed by Bernini. • Marble from the Coliseum: For work on St Peter's, Pope Nicholas V bought 2,522 cartloads of stone from the badly damaged Roman Colosseum. Quarrying of stone for the Colosseum had, in turn, been paid for with treasure looted at the Fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple by the emperor Vespasian's general (and the future emperor) Titus in 70 AD. • There is a widespread assumption that the dome, or cupola, as it presently stands, was designed by Michelangelo, who became chief architect in 1546. In fact, Michelangelo's design called for a spherical dome. At the time of his death (1564), only the drum set, the base on which a dome rests, had been completed. The dome proper was redesigned and vaulted by the architect Giacomo della Porta, with the assistance of Domenico Fontana, who was probably the best engineer of the day. Fontana built the lantern the following year, and the finial was placed in 1593. Many are fascinated by the ability of the artist of who created it.
David (Michelangelo) • Michelangelo's David, sculpted from 1501 to 1504. The completed sculpture was unveiled on 8 Sept. 1504. • It is a masterpiece of Renaissancesculpture and one of Michelangelo's two greatest works of sculpture, along with the Pietà. • It is the David alone that almost certainly holds the title of the most recognizable statue in the history of art. • It has become regarded as a symbol both of strength and youthful human beauty. • The 5.17 meter (17 ft) marble statue portrays the BiblicalKing David at the moment that he decides to do battle with Goliath. • It came to symbolize the Florentine Republic, an independent city state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states. This interpretation was also encouraged by the original setting of the sculpture outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence • 1464 Agostino di Duccio started to work on the statue, but seized working on the statue after the death of his master Donatello. Though Leonardo da Vinci and others were consulted, it was young Michelangelo, only twenty-six years old, who convinced the Operai that he deserved the commission. • Michelangelo's David is based on the artistic discipline of disegno, which is built on knowledge of the male human form. Under this discipline, sculpture is considered to be the finest form of art because it mimics divine creation. • Because Michelangelo adhered to the concepts of disegno, he worked under the premise that the image of David was already in the block of stone he was working on — in much the same way as the human soul is found within the physical body. • It is also an example of the contrapposto style of posing the human figure. • The proportions are not quite true to the human form; the head and upper body are somewhat larger than the proportions of the lower body. While some have suggested that this is of the mannerist style, the most commonly accepted explanation is that the statue was originally intended to be placed on a church façade or high pedestal, and that the proportions would appear correct when the statue was viewed from some distance below.. • Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissancepainter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer. • Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival and fellow ItalianLeonardo da Vinci.
Mona Lisa • Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda (La Joconde) is a 16th centuryportrait painted in oil on a poplar panel by Leonardo Da Vinci during the Renaissance in Italy. Now it is in Musée du Louvre in Paris, France with the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. • It is arguably the most famous painting in the world, and few other works of art have been subject to as much scrutiny, study, mythologizing and parody. • The painting was not well-known until the mid-19th century, when artists of the emerging Symbolist movement began to appreciate it, and associated it with their ideas about feminine mystique. • Critic Walter Pater, in his 1867 essay on Leonardo, expressed this view by describing the figure in the painting as a kind of mythic embodiment of eternal femininity, who is "older than the rocks among which she sits" and who "has been dead many times and learned the secrets of the grave." • In Italian, ma donna from donna meaning woman became madonna, and its contraction mona. Mona is thus a polite form of address, similar to Madam or my lady in English. • la Gioconda is Italian for jocund, happy or jovial, Gioconda was a nickname for the sitter, a pun on the feminine form of her married name Giocondo and her disposition • The painting was one of the first portraits to depict the sitter before an imaginary landscape. • The composition of the figure evokes an ambiguous effect: we are attracted to this mysterious woman but have to stay at a distance as if she were a divine creature. • The sensuous curves of the woman's hair and clothing, created through sfumato, are echoed in the undulating imaginary valleys and rivers behind her • The sense of overall harmony achieved in the painting — especially apparent in the sitter's faint smile — reflects Leonardo's idea of the cosmic link connecting humanity and nature, making this painting an enduring record of Leonardo's vision and genius. • Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was a Tuscan (Italian) polymath: scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician, poet and writer.
The School of Athens • The School of Athens or "Scuola di Atene" in Italian is one of the most famous paintings by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. • It was painted between 1509 and 1510 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. • Because it was positioned over the philosophical section of the library of Pope Julius II, The School of Athens shows the greatest philosophers, scientists and mathematicians of classical antiquity. • Plato and Aristotle, are standing in the center of the composition at the top of the steps. Plato is holding his Timaeus. Aristotle is carrying a copy of his Nichomachean Ethics. Their gestures correspond to their interests in the philosophical field — Plato is pointing upwards towards Heaven and Aristotle is gesturing towards the earth. • Diogenes is lying carefree on the steps before them to show his philosophical attitude: he despised all material wealth and the lifestyle associated with it. • To the left, the man leaning on the block is Heraclites, meant to be Michelangelo. This figure was an afterthought: it was not in the original cartoon. In 1510, Raphael snuck into the Sistine Chapel to view Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling by candle light. He was so awed by the unfinished work that he added Michelangelo after the manner of his depiction of the Prophet Jeremiah, to show his respect for the artist. • Raphael's self portrait is at the far lower-right of the fresco, the young man with brown hair staring straight out at the audience. • On the left, a girl-like figure, dressed in white. It is thought to represent Hypatia of Alexandria. Romantic legend has it that the model was Raphael's love, Margherita. Others claim that it is a portrait of the young Francesco Maria I della Rovere. • Raphael Sanzio or Raffaello (April 6, 1483 – April 6, 1520) was an Italian master painter and architect of the Florentine school in High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings. When signing solely used his baptismal name, "Raphael". He died at the age 37. • Raphael was born in Urbino.His father, Giovanni Santi, was also a painter in the court of Urbino, so R. received his early training in art from his father • As a member of Perugino's workshop, he established his mastery by 17 and began receiving important commissions. • In 1504 he moved to Florence, where he executed many of his famous Madonnas; In 1508 he was summoned to Rome to decorate a suite of papal chambers in the Vatican.
Assunta - Assumption of the Virgin • This famous masterpiece Titian produced for the high altar of the church of the Frari In 1518.Still in situ. • This extraordinary piece of colorism, executed on a grand scale rarely before seen in Italy, excited a sensation. • The pictorial structure of the Assumption — that of uniting in the same composition two or three scenes superimposed on different levels, earth and heaven, the temporal and the infinite — was continued in a series of works, each time attaining to a higher and more perfect conception, finally reaching a classic formula in the Pesaro Madonna, (c. 1519-1526), at Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. • This perhaps is his most studied work, whose patiently developed plan is set forth with supreme display of order and freedom, originality and style. • Here Titian gave a new conception of the traditional groups of donors and holy persons moving in aerial space, the plans and different degrees set in an architectural framework. • Titian has orchestrated Mary's ascent so that the worshiper in the church stands just below the level of the apostles. They evoke our identification with their wonderment because we, like they, are in shadow, but are witnessing a the miracle. • From then until his death he was esteemed as leading Venetian painter f High Renaissance. • Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1485 – August 27, 1576), better known as Titian, was the leader of the 16th-century Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. • He was born in Pieve di Cadore, in the Cadore territory, near Belluno (Veneto), in Most Serene Republic of Venice, and died in Venice. During his lifetime he was often called Da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth. • Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits and landscapes (two genres that first brought him fame), mythological and religious theme. • He lived on for a further half century, changing his manner so drastically that some critics refuse to believe that his early and later pieces could have been produced by the same man. • What unites the two parts of his career is his deep interest in color. His later works may not contain vivid, luminous tints as his early pieces do, yet their loose brushwork and subtlety of polychromatic modulations have no precedents in the history of Western art.
Dürer's Rhinoceros • Dürer's Rhinoceros-woodcut created Albrecht Dürer in 1515. • The image was based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon earlier that year. • Dürer never saw the actual rhinoceros, which was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times. In late 1515, the King of Portugal, Manuel I, sent the animal as a gift for Pope Leo X, but it died in a shipwreck off the coast of Italy in early 1516. A live rhinoceros was not seen again in Europe until a second specimen arrived from India at the court of Philip II in Spain in around 1579. • Despite its anatomical inaccuracies, Dürer's woodcut became very popular in Europe and was copied many times in the following centuries. It was regarded as a true representation of a rhinoceros into the late 18 century. • It has been said this woodcut: "probably no animal picture has exerted such a profound influence on the arts” • Albrecht Dürer was born on May 21, 1471, in Imperial Free City of Nürnberg, third child and second son of his parents, who had between fourteen and eighteen children. His father was a successful goldsmith • German painter and printmaker: produced numerous woodcuts and copper engravings. • He worked as a draftsman in his father's goldsmith workshop before being apprenticed at 15 to a painter and illustrator in his native Nürnberg; in 494 opened his own workshop. • His extensive travel took him twice to Italy; Italian influence can be seen in such engravings as The Four Witches ( 1497) and Adam and Eve (1504). • He became known for his penetrating half-length portraits and self-portraits. In 1506, in Venice, he completed his great altarpiece The Feast of the Rose Garlands for the German chapel in the church of San Bartolommeo. • Later important graphic works include his famous Passion series of copperplate engravings (1507–13) as well as his greatest engravings: St. Jerome in His Study, Melencolia I and The Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513–14). • By 1515 he had achieved international fame. • In 1518 he became a devoted follower of Martin Luther. His finest painting is the Four Apostles of 1526. • He was the greatest Renaissance artist in northern Europe and had many pupils and imitators.