The Renaissance

Theme development in the renaissance period especially in the Italian renaissances was guided by the events of the period. The pictures of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo present a very common striking feature. Leonardo da Vinci’s style was particularly common in the high renaissance as can be deciphered from the his fresco of the last supper done in the 15th century, the works of Raphael and Michelangelo t ether hand, the work of Michelangelo may exhibit similar mannerism, it is clear that patronage was a major theme around this time. In this paper, the researcher seeks to argue that mannerism and patronage were the main drivers of artistic genius exhibited in the high renaissance period.


Patronage such as financial support and motivation may have contributed to the competition between Michelangelo’s Battaglia di Cascina, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Battaglia di Anghiari. While these two artists were different in many levels in terms of their artistic geniuses, sponsorship provided by the patrons inspired the competition. For example, in the two paintings it is clear that Gonfaloniere Piero Soderini commissioned the competition between the two but did not consider how the patronage would contribute to the intense competition and creativity in the Hall of Five Hundred.

Additionally, most of the art work in the high renaissance has religious themes centered on Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles or wars in the name of Rome because of the papa commission. For example, the last super, the story of Moses and other biblical inspired paintings can be attributed to the papal commission and the need to paint moral in the Vatican chapel such as the Sistine chapel were Michelangelo’s Last Judgment was painted. The papal patronage was very common because the Vatican was the most active institution after politics

Influence and inspiration

The influence of the Flemish painter known as Rogier van der Weyden can be seen in the works of Michelangelo. For example, the brush strokes, and the kin ear perspective could be attributed to a new pattern never seen before in the high renaissance. The brush strokes produced a unique natural texture that realistically could not be seen in the early tempera and frescos. The patterns of the brush strokes and the Flemish inspired oils enabled Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci’s opaque and transparent hues, and contrast respectively.

Style and patterns

Lenardo da Vinci’ use of light and shade could not be compared to the work of Michelangelo’s. For example, his sfumato showed vivid subtlety in showing the facial expression and finer details. His work could be mistake for realism because of the unique quality never achieved before. While his artistry could be attributed to the development of realism and terribilità. Most of the contemporary artists copied the style and mannerisms from the works of Michelangelo but combined his sfumato in the contemporary work.

Da Vinci used color, value and lines to create finer details in his work as compared to the Michelangelo’s use of color and lines. Additionally, his combination of lines, shadow, balance and focal point had mathematical precision never seen in the early periods. Light and perspective was a very importance theme to both Leonardo and Michelangelo as it enabled both Leonardo and Michelangelo to realize a lot in terms of painting quality. for example, Leonardo managed to include traditional symbols of the divine in the painting by focusing light on the finer details, Michelangelo was known for his exaggerated contrast (Cangiantismo), while Leonardo was known for tonal balance and unity.

Functions of the art work

With the pope’s intention to improve the religious procession mood and the other merchants desire to maximize their wealth, Da Vinci and Michelangelo were inspired to meet various patron’s need. The contents varied from the chapel wall to the large frescos in commercial painting. The functions of the paintings defined the subject of the painting. While the Vatican was the most powerful institution in the ancient world, the influence of the Vatican on the artists could only be imagined. With all the money to spend on decorating the church, most of the artists were invited or employed by the Vatican to decorate the chapel with images relatable to the biblical events. This may explain the popularity of the chapel painting. However because of the differences in expertise, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci openly demonstrated theory various expertise using shadow, tone, lines and color to demonstrate their finer perspective of religion, Jesus, and the church.



In conclusion, whether they were painting Mona Lisa, the last super or other pictures, both Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci stayed true to the high renaissance technique despite their varying expertise. Michelangelo was known for his tonal unity. This paper has demonstrated that the choice of artistic subjects was defined by the patron based on the intended functions. Therefore, even though their movement was high renaissance, their works borrowed from and was inspired by, and inspired other artists and especially the artists from the North


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