Europe 1300 - 1800
- About Leonardo
- Letter to the Duke of Milan
- Leonardo: Anatomist - by Nature Video
- Leonardo and his drawings
- Virgin of the Rocks
- Virgin of the Rocks
- Adoration of the Magi
- Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist (Burlington House Cartoon)
- The Last Supper
- The Last Supper
- The Last Supper
- Mona Lisa
- Mona Lisa
Leonardo da Vinci, Adoration of the Magi, 1481, oil on panel (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence) http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/leonardo-adoration-of-the-magi.html. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
Want to join the conversation?
- Does anyone knows if there are artists wich "re-creates" these old paintings to match our "new" reality ? for example, I am so fool that I cannot understand the beauty behind it, but maybe if someone re-creates it from popular elements of "nowadays" I think the information could be "absorved"/understood.(9 votes)
- YukiO is saying that maybe someone should consider re-drawing these paintings in a Now-a-days perspective, like in the Perspective of someone from the 20th or 21st century.(3 votes)
- what does he mean by making a triangle?(5 votes)
- They're referring to the compositional elements and the shape in which the figures are arranged. The triangle/pyramid shape is seen in the open space and the focal points, which serve to draw the viewer's eye to the areas the artist wants them to focus on. In Adoration of the Magi, the pyramid is formed in the lines created between Mary's head, down to the forms of the kneeling men, and between the two kneeling men, with an open space contained within that area.(5 votes)
- Are there any examples of what it would look like finished, and has anyone tried to finish it?(5 votes)
- What were the Magi and why is the painting not finished ?(2 votes)
- The magi are the three wise men who followed the star to Bethlehem to worship the Christ child. Wikipedia has an article about them, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Magi, but the best story is directly from the Bible: Matthew 2.(6 votes)
- Why were so many of DaVinci 's works unfinished(3 votes)
- Where's the manger animals? This is an encouraging subject for Leonardo...to use his anatomy studies..:)(2 votes)
- Wrong gospel. The Magi are in Matthew, where there is neither stable nor animals. Those participants are found in Luke, where there are no Magi, no star, and not even any camels.
Leonardo was doing everyone a favor by depicting merely ONE of the stories, and not conflating or confusing the two.(3 votes)
- At0:11is there any reason more paintings are not on a perfect square? Any reason Di Vinci would of done this painting on a perfect square?(3 votes)
- Is there anything particularly elegant or mystical about the measure of the apex angle of this specific triangle? In what sense is this triangle considered to be a pyramid, which is a three dimensional shape?(2 votes)
- I believe they opt to call it a pyramid because the lower line is formed by the two kneeling men in the foreground, while the top of the triangle is further back where Mary is seated.(3 votes)
SPEAKER 1: We're standing in front of an unfinished painting by Leonardo da Vinci. It's a big painting. And interestingly, it's almost a perfect square. SPEAKER 2: It's really unfinished. It's not just that it has parts that are unfinished, but it's really just the underpainting. SPEAKER 1: This is The Adoration of the Magi, a moment in the Christian story when Christ has been born and three kings from the east, guided by the star of Bethlehem, come to Mary and offer Christ three gifts, frankincense, myrrh, and gold. What's revealed to us here is Leonardo's working method-- not only his brilliant drawing, but the way in which he constructs figures. Remember that Leonardo is first and foremost not a painter. He's really a scientist. He's really an engineer. He's somebody who looks and understands nature. SPEAKER 2: We have a sense of Leonardo's deep understanding of human anatomy. Even when he's painting clothed figures, he's really understanding the skeletal structure. He's understanding the musculature of the body. SPEAKER 1: If you look at the group of figures to the right, about mid-level, you see one figure that almost looks like it's a skull. And it's as if Leonardo is literally constructing the bones before he'll put flesh on them, before he'll put clothes on them, before he'll add color. That's a group of figures that's often referred to as the philosophers. But maybe we should discuss the central group first. SPEAKER 2: So we have Mary and the Christ child front and center, forming a pyramid shape together with the Magi in front. And that's a shape that we see very often in paintings of the High Renaissance that provide a stable form. And you see that right here in the foreground with Mary and Christ. SPEAKER 1: That's especially important in this painting, which is so chaotic, where there's so much going on. On the upper right, for instance, there's actually a battle. You have two horses rearing up. On the upper left, you have the fragments of what look like some sort of classical architecture. You can see these wonderful steps in perfect linear perspective. Leonardo actually did some brilliant drawings in preparation for this painting. But let's look a little more closely at what you just said, and see if we can define those lines a little more exactly. If you start with the Virgin Mary and you look at her face, she's glancing across the top of her son's head, down his arm. He picks up, actually, her glance and brings our eye down until it's met by one of the Magi who's offering a gift. We can actually run that line down past his toes to the corner of the painting. Or we can actually pick up from Mary again and go the other way. If we go down the bridge of her nose, across her shoulder, picked up by the kneeling figure in the foreground at the left. What's interesting, as you said, this is not simply a triangle. But this is a pyramid that actually comes forward as it moves down. SPEAKER 2: --and exists in space. I'm struck by the way that Leonardo is paying attention to all of these human reactions to what's going on. And we've got lots of faces half hidden in the darkness and a lot of gestures. And it really reminds me, in a way, of Leonardo's Last Supper, where you have Christ in the middle forming a kind of pyramid shape with his outstretched arms. And all the chaos, and the reactions of the apostles around him, but this real sense of stability in the center. SPEAKER 1: That's such a characteristic of the High Renaissance-- this notion of balance, of a kind of perfection, of a sense of the eternal. But then, of course, how do we as humans, react? There's another element here, which is important and very characteristic of Leonardo. And even though this is just the underpainting, we can make it out. And that's this technique of sfumato, which in Italian is smoke. And it tends to create a kind of visual glue that creates a kind of harmony between forms within the paint, brings things together, and keeps paintings from having that sense of the isolated, so much a characteristic of the early Renaissance. SPEAKER 2: Right, so instead of figures being defined by lines, the figures are enveloped in atmospheric [? haziness ?] or softness, that kind of smokiness. And they almost seem to emerge out of the darkness into light and fade back into the darkness again. And so Leonardo's unifying the figures in yet another way. Not only in the pyramid composition and through their glances and gestures, but also into that smoky atmosphere. SPEAKER 1: We see this beautiful chiaroscuro, this beautiful smoke, this beautiful line, this beautiful composition, this complex sense of emotion. I'd love to know what this painting would have looked like had it been finished. SPEAKER 2: Me too.