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Contemporary Art Essay

601 words - 3 pages

Visual Arts

How contemporary art has changed the way “the figure” has been presented. Refer to Michelangelo’s “The David”.

Art has always been a major part of society and culture and is respected throughout the world. The Italian High Renaissance was the defining movement in art history. No other artistic movement has contributed more to development of art. The portrayal of the human body has drastically changed with history, painting and sculpting techniques were primitive with little depth and perspective to the work. Art became referred to as a testament to god’s great power and perfection in the Renaissance movement. Among many of the influential artworks of this era is Michelangelo’s “The David”

The figure has taken on a multitude of different forms throughout the history of art and has been interpreted in countless different ways by the artists who have created it. Early ...view middle of the document...

Emotions are also strongly displayed within the figure. David by Michelangelo, created the first free-standing nude statue. The statue conveys rich realism in form, motion, and feeling. Historically the statue depicts the biblical King David at the moment he decides to do battle with goliath. Michelangelo’s version of the biblical hero is original and different from the usual description of a boyish youthful figure standing after the fight. The moment he choose to depict has a strong influence on the resulting appearance and effect of his sculpture. Michelangelo presents David as an adult posed at the moment of anticipating before battle. The energy in David’s entire body is focused on the physical movement he is about to make. Showing a sculpture at a moment of dramatic tension was unusual as normally an artist created their art around the internal emotions of the figure. Like contemporary art, Michelangelo based his sculpture David on the external scene which the figure is placed in.
One of the main differences between medieval and renaissance art was how emotions and subject matter were emphasised over realism. Michelangelo invested his efforts in presenting towering pent-up emotion rather than calm ideal beauty. He transferred his own doubts, frustrations, and passions into the great figures he created or planned. In the sculpture David, there is a strong emotional expression on his face. This expression represents like a calm before the storm. David stands with a furrowed brow , looking over his left shoulder as he is about to go into battle. His gaze is concentrated and intense but there is an uncertainty to his look as he is faced with decisions. Michelangelo showed David in a natural position rather than the contrapasto position which was not realistic and used to enhance the muscles in the body. One leg is on the ground and the other slightly lifted as though he is in action. Michelangelo portrayed emotions like a contemporary artist. He was able to present a human form with realistic, natural movement and position the statue David in a way that conveyed the figures emotions.

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