Sunday, May 22, 2022

Raiders of the Lost Art | Season 2: Episode 5 | The Lessons of Leonardo | Free Documentary History

leonardo da vinci is believed by many to have been the most talented individual who ever lived he was an absolute experimenter and you can see that across not only his painting but all areas of his life drawings of helicopters and submarines cannon and anatomy .

You name it he did it he was a universal man he was greatly interested in science so we only devoted part of his time to art but while his greatest legacy remains in his art we're still unearthing the secrets of how he worked leonardo really tried to make painting do everything he wanted movement he .

Wanted light he wanted color he went to psychology he tried to put so much into a painting with still uncovering the fascinating discoveries he made and the mysteries of what happened to his masterpieces long after he died modern scientific methods offer great opportunities to know a lot more about .

Leonardo's technique one always imagined that he was a feverish constantly changing rather fretful painter leonardo crashes forms together and that influenced almost everyone art lives from constraints and dies from freedom leonardo was born at a time when the .

House of medici was ruling over florence this eminent banking family would eventually produce four popes but their rise to prominence had occurred when cosimo de medici came to dominate the region that a young leonardo was born into and it was cosimo's son lorenzo who would be crucial in establishing leonardo's legacy .

We don't know much about how leonardo began we know he was born in 1452 in a little tuscan town not far from florence he was actually an illegitimate child and was brought up by his paternal grandfather but his father was quite a successful lawyer in florence and that drew the young leonardo to florence .

He was apprenticed to andrea verrocchio now he is the leading artist in florence did painting sculpture everything bits of engineering presumably leonardo's father who was well connected said i've got a son who's pretty good at this painting drawing thing would you take him on in the case of leonardo because he was a genius when .

He was old stands to reason he must have been a genius when he was young so he was obviously recognized as a prodigy poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master leonardo's earliest dated work made during his time with verrocchio is this drawing of the arno valley region where .

He was born verracchio was a terrific source of inspiration and he set this image of versatility for leonardo he also looked at her lesser-known artist antonio polyolo who did wonderful anatomical nude figures which inspired leonardo he looked at the great florentine tradition of the painter mazatchio who .

He mentions the sculpt donatello who he mentioned so he saw himself in that florentine tradition of anatomy perspective he was quite a talented student and he worked with the master on a painting of the baptism of christ there's a story in visari that says he helps paint one particular scene avarocchio said it's so great i'm never .

Going to pick up a paintbrush ever again it's possible that a statue made by verrocchio of the biblical david may have been modeled on the young leonardo as well as the angel in the painting tobias and the angel attributed to verrocchio leonardo may have even worked on this painting himself specifically the fish held by tobias .

Verrocchio obviously was the prime influence there were some very talented students working in varakiya's studio and they actually included botticelli and perugino by the time he reached 20 and he went into the guild he was setting up with his own studio and his father helped him .

Out with that but he still kept this very close relationship with rocchio so that was really how his artistic life was formed was in the studio setting with him following such an extensive education leonardo needed to make a name on his own but these were difficult times an attempt had been made on lorenzo de .

Medici's life in the infamous patsy conspiracy lorenzo's brother was killed but he survived the conspirators were soon caught and executed leonardo would sketch the hanging body of one of the collaborators bernardo de bandino baroncelli .

At around the same time leonardo received one of his earliest known commissions in florence the adoration of the magi but he would leave this painting unfinished leonardo was a perfectionist when it came to art .

And he sometimes left works unfinished and in some cases he abandoned pictures i think he aimed at finishing pictures and some of them did get finished but the problem is along the way he can always see another way of doing it he can see a different bit of the composition a different emotional context a different landscape .

So it's very difficult in that circumstance to say yeah i really finished with this picture he was always on the move you know to venice and then to rome and then back to florence then back to rome and then he himself put about this idea that he didn't finish things because he could then say boy imagine what it been like .

If they'd been finished and that was i think common and probably still is a bit he did have a clear sense of finnish pictures the last supper was finished the mona lisa is pretty much finished i think and quite a number of paintings are finished but it was a difficult job getting to that point leonardo was now a part of lorenzo de .

Medici's court and after surviving the patsy conspiracy lorenzo's power in florence only grew but he needed to secure a peace with the powerful duke of milan ludovico schwarzer leonardo would travel to milan to help achieve this goal leonardo was working at the court in milan and his employment gave him the .

Time and money to pursue his very wide interest both in the arts and sciences so it was a very important time for his work somebody like the duke of milan rang you up and said you know hey why don't you come and work for me then you know you said okay you didn't say no to people like that he probably lived a very various life we .

Don't have eye witness descriptions but he was doing this and that within the court he complained often that the court duties were getting in the way of his quest for fame to do immortal works as it were so he diverted from project to project ranging from military engineering civil engineering architecture stage design .

Very varied i think it suited him quite well because we know he's got this restless intellect and restless creativity ludovico schwarzer was obviously impressed and leonardo would work in the city for almost two decades it would be schwarzer who would commission the last supper .

Ludovico employed leonardo for 19 years and not without signs of frustration and the last supper he writes to a secretary saying get leonardo going and get him onto the next wall so there was that element of frustration but i think all patrons including ludovico knew they got someone amazing that was a great virtuoso .

Whilst in milan leonardo would create one of his most enigmatic portraits the lady with an ermine the subject of the painting is cecilia galerani the mistress of ludwika sforza the duke of milan she came from a bourgeois family in siena but obviously had a very nice dad i think because she was taught all the .

Things that her brothers were taught she was taught maths and latin and all that sort of stuff da vinci started painting her portrait in 1489 and she was quite an unusual character for the time she hosted almost what we could now describe as a salon so all the intellects of the day from milan would meet with her and she would invite da vinci to join .

The animal in the painting is an hermann and i say that firmly because it doesn't make sense as anything else the ermine was a symbol of purity it wouldn't go across a bog it would rather be captured by a hunter it was also a symbol of moderation you may think for duke's mistress and .

Symbol of purity is slightly anomalous but that's how it worked in the renaissance so it must be an ermin ludwika was awarded the order of the airmen hermann became also his nickname so that's how art historians connected the subject of the painting .

To his mistress leonardo is only believed to have completed four oil paintings of women throughout his career after his death two of them la belfaranier and the mona lisa would end up in the louvre but were not completely certain who were the sitters for these .

Portraits a third the geneva de benshi took a long time to finally be accepted as a leonardo but it was the portrait of chachilia galarani the lady with an ermine that would have the most eventful history and thanks to modern science would continue to give us insight into the workings of .

A genius there are three classes of people those who see those who see when they are shown those who do not see leonardo da vinci died in amboise in the kingdom of france on the 2nd of may 1519 .

The paintings that he had taken with him there now reside in the louvre in paris but he left behind a whole plethora of works both finished and unfinished that would eventually be scattered all across the world you're just beginning later 15th century to get artists recognized as kind of intellectual ornaments of the court .

You're beginning to get what i call the super artists the raphael considerably younger michelangelo a bit younger who were becoming huge figures in their own right and some of the italian courts were beginning to accommodate this new brand of rising artists the three titans of the renaissance era rafael michelangelo and leonardo had .

Such a profound impact that their works became treasured in a way unlike artists before them and chichilia galirani the woman captured as the lady with an ermine owned a rare portrait completed by leonardo which would endure the most perilous journey of all before finding its new home in poland what happened to the portrait was it .

Obviously was in the hands of chichilya galarani we know she had it in 1498 this is a better destination from manchua who was avid to get the best artists working for her said would you send the portraits i'd like to compare it one with giovanni bellini the great venetian artist chichilia wrote back and said i can lend it to you but it's not a good .

Likeness but this is not the painter's fault i have changed a great deal in the intervening years so we can be pretty sure that it was with the family with chichellia herself and until her death what happens to it then we simply don't know for the first 300 years we don't know .

Anything about it but it was bought in about 1800 by a polish prince adam charter risky who purchased it in italy the young princess adameja goes on a tour with his brother to sicily the brothers spend their time acquiring artworks .

Among them the famous raphael and the leonardo da vinci painting they knew that it was a leonardo but they didn't know who the painting was of when the picture was in the collection of isabella sartorisky they put an inscription on it almost certainly at that time saying la belle franiere .

Leonardo da vinci so she got the right artist but the wrong girl it's incredibly innovatory how that painting works we think of mona lisa as very novel but this is very novel as well she's there and she's looking sideways and smiling now who is she smiling at what has drawn her attention i think it's almost .

Certainly the duke so there's a kind of triangular relationship there's us looking at her she's looking at the duke so we can imagine almost certainly that the person who she's glancing at and smiling slightly is the duke and that is incredibly novel to build in this other presence in the painting which is implied .

the painting had arrived in poland where it resides today but in the intervening years it traveled all across europe as its owners attempted to protect it the november uprising of 1830 meant that isabella chartariska had to flee warsaw taking the lady with an ermine with her the next time it was seen was in paris .

At the home of adam chartarisky however it had to be hidden in the basement as the franco-prussian war commenced it returned to warsaw in 1876 where it remained until the outbreak of the first world war when the charter risky family took the painting along with the rest of their collection to dresden when hitler invaded poland the leonardo .

Was seized from the charter risky estate and it was taken back to berlin in 1939 just before the war the atmosphere was quite jolly things weren't looking very good but nobody was expecting what was about to happen from the west germans come from the east russians come the collection was moved .

To shinjava which is 16 kilometers from here the palace in chinava gets plundered by the german army but before that collection is moved here into pokemon we're not exactly sure where it was hidden but i suspect it might be the secret room behind the library dss come in and steal the collection the .

Gestapo moves in and takes over one wing of the palace and as war continues the village of pequena is witness to horrific things it went to berlin to the kaiser fruit museum um but then the very unpleasant gowl lighter of poland hans frank decided that he wanted it he then goes .

On the wall of his office and in 1945 at the end of the war he goes almost on the run with it takes it to silesia to his country house but the monuments men find it and bring it back to the charter risky museum the lady of the urban has an amazing status within polish culture we know .

That isabella greatly admired the renaissance and saw herself as a kind of new renaissance figure around about 1800. i think it's got a huge totemic value in partly because not many countries have you know it's one of six places where you can find a leonardo but also because it's been through so much as indeed has poland so i can see why .

They would identify very strongly with the sufferings of that picture it's been on postage stamps and so on so this particular picture in leonardo has sort of been absolved within polish culture it's become a polish picture in a very profound sense the lady with an ermine now takes pride of place in the charter risky collection .

And recently it's given up some more of its secrets thanks to some revolutionary technology which has shed new light on leonardo's way of working modern scientific techniques offer great opportunities to look under the surface of paintings so we know a lot more about leonardo's technique and what the paintings .

Originally must look like the layer amplification method pioneered by pascal kart has shown us lots of things from the lower layers now we knew that leonardo was a manic fiddler with paintings he kept altering them and so on and what this has shown is that the alterations are even more extensive than .

We suspected it's been shown recently that the background of the painting which is now black was originally a bluish gray with a darker area of bluish gray where there would have been shadow the urban has almost certainly been adjusted though i think it's more difficult to see than pascal claims one of the most .

Striking things that the layer method has come up with is the interlaced pattern we know that leonardo loved these interlaced patterns these knots he did them independently you can see a whole lot of interlace on her costume we couldn't previously see what that method has done is to confirm or extend something which we could already see in .

Other paintings over the centuries experts have had to piece together leonardo's body of work in total he only left behind around 20 or so paintings many of them unfinished he's believed to have approached every single work differently and as more paintings become accepted in his canon we've learned more about the amazing .

Techniques he used and his incredible manuscripts show the artistic breakthroughs that he made throughout his career leonardo looked at how light behaved in nature and he was able to think about two aspects of it one is tone that's to say where does exist on a on a scale of .

Black to white as a in the grey tone as it were and he also thought about colors and how they related to that scale he had this theory called the simple colours or six colour theory which was effectively you could paint anything using what we would now call the primary colours plus black white and not enough .

Green which she thought of as a primary colour for reasons that elude me you look at chichili galirani lady with the urban you can see both the individual colors are singing out in their proper notes but they're also part of a unified pattern of light and shade why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination .

When awake one of the most notable features the painting is the way the light behaves leonardo talked about light hitting things he talked about percussioni so where the light hits at different angles it makes different effects and the procrastinate then rebounds so if you look under her chin you've got this .

Rebound of light back into the shadow and under her hand as well leonardo's a great pioneer of this technique but despite all his remarkable insights and achievements even the great leonardo doubted his own ability at times i have offended god and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it .

Should have in a sense his ambition for painting and his sheer inventiveness made it very difficult for him to finish paintings but at the end of the day he finished the world's most famous painting perhaps the second most famous painting the last supper and did the world's most famous .

Drawing the vitruvian man so that's not bad you


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