5.Cinquecento Florentine Copies


Joe Thomson, Artist, 03.29.2013


In the 15th century in Florence, Italy, the great flourishing of Renaissance Art arose with the emergence of the luminaries of Figure drawing from Filippo Lippi, to Sandro Botticelli to Leonardo da Vinci to Michelangelo Buonarroti to Raffaello Santi (Raphael) at the peak of the High Renaissance.


Figure drawing in red chalk or silver point on tone, tanned paper was the renaissance practice of sketching and preparing studies for major artistic undertakings that were proposed by Papal and Political Patrons in Florence, Milan and Rome.
These cinquecento, renaissance studies were portraits and figure compositions that would be the models for the actual paintings that would eventually adorn the walls and ceilings of the loggias and palazzi of the patrons that contracted the works of art, according to their discretion and taste.


The habit of copying the art works of the renaissance master proved invaluable when Peter Paul Rubens copied the Leonardo "Battle of Anghiari" which was left unfinished and supposedly destroyed. The Rubens copy is the only extant example of the Leonardo composition for the world to marvel at.


In the 21st century, the art of scalable abstraction can also copy the renaissance studies and test their strength of their visionary and spiritual compositions, from portrait drawing to complete group figuration. The period of interest is from 1440 to 1540 and abstract drawings have been attempted to be reflective of the subjects, but far removed in their abstraction from the figuration of the 15th century. The difference in perception between drawing of the figure and the abstract drawing of the figure spans a vast, time difference of 500 years.
The renaissance artists whose studies were of notable interest in copying were the following:


1. Filippo Lippi, 1406-69: Study of a female head
2. Antonio Polaiuolo, 1432-98, St John the Baptist
3. Luca Signorelli, 1441-1523, The Damned
4. Sandro Botticelli, 1444-1510, Angel of the Annunciation, The Nativity
5. Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1449-94, Young Girl
6. Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519, Woman's Head, St Anne, Adoration of the Magi
7. Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564, The Sacrifice of Isaac, Madonna and Child, Fury
8. Andrea del Sarto, 1487-1530, Study for the Head of the Magdalene