Essays on Leonardo Da Vinci Versus Michelangelo The Beauty of Painting Versus the Beauty of Sculpture

Some facts from the biography of Michelangelo
Michelangelo was born in Caprese, Italy, in 1475. He spent much time in Settignano where he learned a lot to be a sculptor.
In 1488, he worked as an apprentice of Domenico Ghirlandaio.
In 1490, Michelangelo was taught by the famous sculptors at Lorenzo’s school.
In 1496, he was sent to Rome where he created such works of art as The Bacchus, the Pieta. It is known that he was greatly influenced by the Roman history.
In 1500, in Florence, Michelangelo created his famous statue marble David.
In 1503, he was sent to Rome where he built the Pope’s Tomb and other famous works including different statues and paintings.
In 1513, he was commissioned to reconstruct the church of St. Lorenzo in Florence.
In 1534-1541, the greatest artist worked on the fresco The Last Judgement which is on the altar in the Sistine Chapel.
In 1546, he worked on St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican.
Michelangelo died in 1564, in Rome. He was 89. (Hughes 14)
The Statue of David. It’s description
The statue of David is a masterpiece of Michelangelo. (See Fig.2)It was produced in 1504. The statue represents a young man whose name is David. He is a famous Biblical hero. The statue is made of white marble and is about 5,17 meters height.

The Marble Statue
of David / 1504.
Academia Gallery,

According to the historical data, this statue was created in order to be placed along the roof line of the Florence Cathedral, but it was positioned in the public square, near the Palazzo della Signoria, a place where the government of Florence was sitting. In 1873, the statue was moved to the Academia Gallery. (King 29)

The statue became the symbol of strength and the symbol of the male beauty. The figure of the young man stands on the pedestal. One leg is holding the full weight of the body while the other leg of the young man is relaxed. This pose is a classical one. The head is turned to the left. The left hand is raised and touches the shoulder. The famous sculptor represented David in the nude. Moreover, the penis is not hidden. This feature was a normal thing during the period of Renaissance, although it contradicts the Jewish law. One more interesting fact is that the upper body is disproportionated. Both the head and the hands are larger than the living body of the young man. It is a special technique used by the sculptor in order to view the statue from the distance and see correct proportions. (Mattigly-Arthur)
David’s Face. Statue of David. 1504.

It is known that Visari, the author of the sculptor’s bibliography, wrote in his book that Michelangelo’s David “took the voice away from statues both ancient and modern”¯.
According to the historical data, David is represented before the battle with Goliath. The face of the young man is rather tense and it is clear that he is ready to combat and to defend his land and his people.(See Fig.3)

David’s neck is also tense and his nose’s muscles are rather tight. His brows are frown and his eyes are focused on the enemy. (Hartt 28)
Michelangelo wrote that “the greatest artist has no conception which a single block of marble does not potentially contain within its mass, but only a hand obedient to the mind can penetrate to this image”¯. (Hall 110)

The marble David is really a masterpiece which deserves admiration. The perfection of David’s figure, his strong arms and muscular legs make him and ideal young man, a symbol of strength and beauty.


It is clear that it is very difficult to compare two great masterpieces created by two great artists who devoted their lives to artwork. Nevertheless, it is possible to find some similarities and some differences in these pieces of art.

The similarities include the following features:
Ӣ Both works are the works of visual art, but the painting is represented on the flat surface and the sculpture can be viewed from all the angles.
Ӣ Both works represent human beings, but Leonardo Da Vinci depicted a young lady while Michelangelo created a young man. Youth is the common feature.
Ӣ Both works of art belong to the outstanding Italian masters whose biographies prove that they have made a great contribution to the history of Florence.
”¢ Both works of art were created practically at the same time ”“ 1503-1504.
Ӣ Both artists used their special techniques in their works which were new for their contemporaries.
It is known that Leonardo Da Vinchi argues that there are no “difference between painting and sculpture than the sculptor’s work entails greater physical effort and the painter’s greater mental effort”¯. (Goldwater 127)
The differences include the following features:
Ӣ The major difference is concluded in the type of material used for it. The statue is made of white marble, while the painting is created on the canvas with the help of brush and paints.
Ӣ The painter portrayed a woman who was his contemporary while the sculptor used the image of the Biblical hero.
”¢ The Mona Lisa wears clothes while David doesn’t.
Ӣ The difference is in the sizes of the works. The statue is much bigger than the painting. The statue is magnifical and gives a tremendous impression.


In conclusion, it is necessary to say that it is very important for any person to find this or that trend in art which will help him to relax, to think of the major point of life, to see the beauty and to make his clear of dirty thoughts. As for me, the Renaissance is one of my favorite trends in art and the Italian artists Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo are real masters. Although there were a lot of differences between the works of these artists, both of them are worth seeing and admiring.








Works Cited
Clark, K. & Kemp, M. Leonardo Da Vinci. England: Penguin Books. 2005. Print.
Goldwater, R. & Treves, M. Artists on Art, From the 14-th to the 20-th Century. John Murray. 1999. Print.
Hall, J. Michelangelo and the Invention of the Human Body. New York: Farrar. 2005. Print.
Hartt, F. Michelangelo: the Complete Sculpture. New York: Abrams. 1990. Print.
Hughes, A. Michelangelo. London: Phaidon. 1997. Print.
King, R. Michelahgelo and the Pope’s ceiling. New York:Walker.
2005. Print.
Mittigly-Arthur, M. The History of Michelangelo’s David. Ehow. 23 June 2010. Available from:<>
Pedretti, C. Leonardo Da Vinci: Artist, Scientist, Inventor. Florence: Giunti. 2005. Print. List of Illustrations
Fig.1 Da Vinci, L. The Portrait of Mona Lisa. 1503. Musee de Louvre, Paris.
Fig.2 Michelangelo. The Marble Statue of David. 1504. Academia Gallery, Florence
Fig.3 Michelangelo. Marble Statue of David. 1504. Fragment. David’s Face. Academia Gallery, Florence.

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