Da Vinci

Da Vinci Female Face Study

Da Vinci, like many other artist, really captured the essence of the people in his work. In this period of The Renaissance, unless you were of regal or religious importance, women were not often the center of attention in a painting. However, despite their importance or lack of, he captured their emotions beautifully.

One of Da Vinci’s pieces that caught my attention is ‘Virgin of the Rocks’, also known as ‘Madoona of the Rocks’ It portrays a seemingly peaceful scene between the Virgin Mary, a young Christ and young St John. 

Michelangelo did two versions of this painting. The one on the left is the original which was created between 1483-86 and the right was done late on around around 1495. The are both extremely similar bar some slight difference. Personally I am more captivated by the later version. It is the angel to the the Madonna’s left that I find captivating. Her face is so exquisite and serene it is my favorite part of the painting. She sees to be so at peace she just looks so beautiful. Whereas the original version, the angel doesn’t seem quite so composed. To me she has a more stern look on her face and the finger she is pointing towards the children give the appearance that she is maybe reprimanding the the young Jesus and St John the Baptist.

Her angelic face seems to just be watching peacefully and unperturbed by what is going on. Just instead being a peace.

Some of Da Vinci’s face studies:

The most famous portrait of Da Vinci’s and also the world over, is of the Mona Lisa

I believe what makes this piece so intriguing is the mystery that surrounds the figure in the portrait. It has not always been known fully who she actually was. The rumors surrounding this work of art are rather questionable.

I think the colours contributed to its mystery, they are dark and rather misty looking. This will also be down to the age of the portrait and the fact that age is inevitable in all things and that means things will change. The background is subtle and would quite easily go unnoticed. But looking at it closely it looks like a mythological scene almost. Strange mountainous forms tower over winding rivers which could also be roads.

Sometimes it is hard to see why a painting like this would be so famous.

The Mona Lisa has only really gained its notoriety in the 20th century. It was stolen from The Louvre in France in 1911 and did in fact disappear for a few years. This would have contributed greatly to how famous it was to become.
What also makes it an intriguing piece is the expressions in her face.
Is she smiling? Is she happy? Does she appear sad?

It is hard to tell and I think this is what makes her more interesting because really she is just plain in her facial features and not completely feminine looking and lacks the beauty of most other portraits of the renaissance. It has been questioned if she is even a women at all!

Maybe Da Vinci pays indirect attention to her cleavage to show the viewer she is in fact a women despite her features not being so attractive and womanly.

Considering all this I feel the Mona Lisa owes thanks to the mystery Da Vinci created to her fame. It is down to a lot of personal onion more than anything and I think Leonardo would relish the attention she sparked all over the world.


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