Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ninja Turtles... not

People my age would associate the names Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But for those who love art and history, or for anyone who would like to visit Italy, these names are not merely those of mutant reptile superheroes but also of some of the greatest Renaissance masters Italy has ever produced.

I would go to Florence in September to take a crash course on Italian. Frankly, I am very excited not so much because I am studying another language, but more so because I love Florence. It's a city steeped with a long artistic and classicist tradition primarily because its erstwhile rulers, the Medicis, invested a lot in Renaissance masterpieces. As I was reviewing my pics from last year, I realized I almost had all the Italian masters-cum-Ninja Turtles in my file!
Leonardo da Vinci. He is perhaps the most "Renaissance" of the Renaissance men, hehe. When not painting or sculpting, he dissected corpses, scribbled letters backwards, designed flying machines and, according to Dan Brown, et.al., headed a secret anti-Catholic cult. And oh, Dan, if you're reading this, Da Vinci is seldom used to refer to this great man. He's just simply Leonardo.

Michelangelo Buonarroti. Anyone who has seen the Sistine Chapel, the Pieta and the Florentine David should know who this artist was. It is said that when Michelangelo was finishing his David sculpture, some noblemen in Florence came to his workshop to criticize his work; they told him that the nose of the sculpture was big. Michelangelo took some marble dust and made it appear as if he was adjusting the nose. He wasn't. But the nobles were satisfied after apparently having their say on the matter.

Donatello. I personally know little of him, but apparently he was a great Renaissance sculptor who carved both canonical and weird masterpieces.


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