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A World of Art of the Renaissance Period


Analyzing art works of the renaissance period, the list of names of the most popular artists of that time would not be complete without Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo Buonarroti. David, which considered as one of Michelangelo’s most famous works, is a 5.17 m. marble statue depicting the biblical King David before his battle with Goliath. The statue created through the period 1501-504, is currently set in Galleria dell’Accademia, in Florence, Italy.

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In a different category of art works, the Vitruvian man, is not less important work in the renaissance period, a drawing depicting the human proportions shown through an image of a man standing in a circle and in a square. The pen and ink drawing was completed by 1490, and currently is stored in Galleria dell’Accademia, in Venice, Italy.

In that regard, this paper analyzes the aforementioned works in terms of craft and communication, as well as provides a brief comparison of the techniques used in delivering the works’ messages.

Analyzing the statue of David in terms of craft, it should be mentioned that the mastery of Michelangelo was in anatomically portraying a human body in details. The difficulty can be seen in providing such level of details from a rather thin piece of stone. The selection was made by another artist, Agostino di Duccio, in 1463. The level of details can be seen in such elements as the veins on the hand carrying the stone, and the demonstration of every muscle curve. Accordingly, body can be seen a little disproportionate, which is visible in a larger upper part of the body, a disproportion that was assumed to be intentional for a view from distance below, through which it should be corrected.

The Vitruvian man is also connected to proportions, and despite the apparent simplicity of the drawing, all of the proportions are well calculated and were documented previously in a passage from Roman architect Vitruvius (Marcus Vitruvius Pollio), form which the title of the work was derived. The position in a circle and a square was also of a major importance, where square is rotated for 45 degrees to form an octagram, one of the most spread cannons of proportions in ancient and classical architecture, and a an important religious symbol; “every important Christian church has dome placed on an octagram, and gematric value of Greek spelling for Jesus, ΙΗΣΟΥΣ = 888 associates the number 8 (octagram) with Jesus Christ” (Bowman, 2008).

In the statue of David the main message was in portraying the emotions of tension before the battle between David and Goliath. Such tension was expressed in the pose of David, the intensity of the muscles, and the facial expression. Accordingly, the usage of a white marble represented a contrast between the simplicity and the grandiosity of the statue, where the latter was amplified by the statues’ size. Accordingly, the concept of ideal art was represented in the work, where the statue was based on the conception of the author, rather than on a visual perception.

The Vitruvian man is different in terms of message, as it can be seen from the accurate transfer of proportions, in that the work bears a scientific aspect. As with other Da Vinci’s sketches, the drawing has scientific sense, in addition to the artistic. Nevertheless, it is also stated that Leonardo also intended to relate man to nature, believing that “the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe” (Gorman, 2002). I that regard, it can be seen that the work used symbolism to transfer such basic idea.

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It can be seen that both works, although different in nature and message have a common idea of the representation of the human body. Each of the artists used their own means to show the beauty through proportions. Additionally, it can be seen that their approaches differ in terms of world outlook, where the depiction of David as a biblical character, is related to religion, while Leonardo related his work to the nature.


Bowman, D. (2008). Vitruvian Man. Web.

Gorman, M. J. (2002). Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man. Stanford University.

Bloem, R. Michelangelo’s David. University of Colorado.

Sullivan, M. A. (2001). Galleria dell’Accademia. Bluffton College.

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