The sixteenth century in Europe was a time of unprecedented change. It was the beginning of the modern era, and it saw a revolution in almost every aspect of life. The century opened with the discovery of a new continent
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As a painter, however, Raphael owed most to his teacher Leonardo da Vinci. If the viewer can recall Leonardo’s red-chalk self-portrait, he should be able to recognize him here in the School of Athens. It is Leonardo who is painted here as the reincarnated Plato.
Perhaps those who connect his name only with beautiful Madonnas and idealized figures from the classical world may even be surprised to see Raphael's portrait of his great patron Pope Leo X of the Medici family, in the company of two cardinals. There is nothing idealized in the slightly puffed head of the near- sighted Pope, who has just examined an old manuscript (somewhat similar in style and period to the Queen Mary's Psalter.
Unlike his great rival Michelangelo, though, he got on well with people and could keep a busy workshop going. Thanks to his sociable qualities the scholars and dignitaries of the papal court made him their companion. There was even talk of his being made a cardinal when he died on his thirty-seventh birthday, almost as young as Mozart, having crammed into his brief life an astonishing diversity of artistic achievements.
Michelangelo produced at least two relief sculptures by the time he was 16 years old, the Battle of the Centaurs and the Madonna of the Stairs
In 1980, the Vatican announced it's plans to launch a massive cleaning and restoration project on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling frescoes. This intensive civic project cost the Vatican millions of dollars and twelve years. The results were phenomenal. The ceiling was revealed as a vibrantly vivid and passionate work of art. There were those, however, that felt the ceiling's restoration and cleaning had ruined the frescoes. Those that felt that way still protest today. The conservation project launched by the Vatican remains a hot debate topic in the art world to this day.
The statue depicts Moses with horns on his head. This is believed to be because of the mistranslation of Exodus 34:29-35 by St Jerome. Moses is actually described as having "rays of the skin of his face", which Jerome in the Vulgate had translated as "horns". The mistake in translation is possible because the word "karan" in the Hebrew language can mean either "radiated (light)" or "grew horns".
Located within the New Sacristy of the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence, Italy, the chapel was actually designed as a funerary chapel for the Medici family. The chapel was first commissioned in 1520 by Cardinal Giulio de’Medici, later to become Pope Clement VII. The first design of the chapel included having a freestanding tomb where the remains of Lorenzo the Magnificent, his brother Giuliano, Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino and Giuliano, Duke of Nemours would have resided. The design went through many reductions and alterations and resulted in a much smaller product than initially devised.
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