Mona Lisa and Sistine Chapel Image Analysis

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The Mona Lisa painting is an artwork done by Leonardo da Vinci. The medium of the painting is oil on wood, and it is a famous portrait of the Italian Renaissance period dated 1503-3. The painting is the portrait of a female. According to Leonardo, it is an image of a famous merchant’s wife called Lisa Gherardini. The posture of the subject faces the viewer with her left arm resting on the chair clasped by the right arm assuming a pyramid design. It is an example of a seated Madonna portrait which was popular between 15th and 16th century. The sitting position shows the distance between her and the viewer. More so, the landscape background has smoky blues in the aerial setting. There is a high rocky environment on the right and flatlands on the left. However, Mona Lisa lacks the eyebrows and the eyelashes though she has an enigmatic smile and gaze. For instance, in 2005, a computer program designed to determine facial expression indicated that the smile by the subject implied happiness by 83% (Vezzosi, Asmus, Cotte, & Leonardo 2012). When basing on the work of other researchers, it is believed that the sitting posture means a sign of reservation and calmness. The Mona Lisa image is beautiful and also represents a robust and confident woman, an aspect perceived as a virtue in historical times.

            On the other hand, the picture of Sistine Chapel was created in 1512 by an artist called Michelangelo. The technique used is a fresco, and the subject is a fantasy. Just like the Mona Lisa painting, the image was made during the Renaissance movement. The artist chose a dark color and shades for the entire picture (Jones 2013). The subjects are a male, one on the left while the other on the right surrounded by his family stretching one arm on a sculpture background. The pastel colors and light cream colors show a lightly lit color for the Michelangelo frescoes. The image is significant because it is valued in a religious setting. It reflects on the book of Genesis tale. The mood, tone, and emotion of the picture are sacred, and it shows masculinity hence implying power and might (Graham-Dixon, & Michelangelo 2008). The pale white tunic and white bears indicate the glory that painters gave to Almighty. Additionally, it is an iconic piece of art that represents Adam being reached out by God after his creation. It is also a representation of God reaching out for the human beings for a mutual desire.

History of Renaissance

            In 1400, it became a turning point in the history of Europe in making drawings, sculpture, art painting and architecture. It was the rebirth period where the western artists became dynamic in creating and attaching value to artistic work. As a result of change, the Italian masters such as Leonardo and Michelangelo were inspired with the new face of Rome and Greek. Their desire was to create a new universal artistic work that could fit the mood of the new Europe. Nevertheless, Renaissance art was based on the doctrine of humanism. Humanism meant dignity and worthiness of a person. The aspect of humanism ensured that the artistic work follows the real virtues of action such as uplifting messages and images of developing human faces and body in the most realistic manner (Celenza 2004). The principal aim was to show how people can influence the society using the paintings in the classical world. The people started to focus more on the life rather than spiritual man hence emphasizing much on the needs of human beings and how to solve human problems.

Difference between Leonardo and Michelangelo Artistic Work

            Leonardo portrays the human body through Mona Lisa image different from the work of Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel image. For instance, Leonardo places the Mona Lisa image bigger than the background objects to create attention and emphasis on the subject. The subject is not nude hence making it one of the most famous piece of art in the worlds. More so, the use of similar background color over and over again represents a sense of unity hence giving priority to the subject for the purpose of recognition. Leonardo, therefore, acknowledges the females decency and beauty. It is possible to learn a message from the portrait.

            Contrary to Leonardo masterpiece, Michelangelo uses the naked picture to convey his message. The background color varies from gray, green, dark and white which can be confusing. However, he uses anatomy techniques to convey his message about the humans. For instance, his depiction of God creating Adam and surrounding him in a shroud indicates that God gave life to not only Adam but also the human intelligence.  It is the culmination of knowledge and observation to bodily organs that one can be saved without necessarily going to church.


            The great artistic work of both Leonardo and Michelangelo awakened the western artistic culture. They both contributed a handful to information on humanism and spiritual significance. It is important to recognize one’s subject in painting with dignity to avoid criticism and erosion of human decency. For instance, Leonardo gave excellent image to Mona Lisa by making her occupy a significant position as a woman in society, appreciating her beauty and likening her to the Virgin Mary. The artistic work also calls for devotion and dedication to come up with a valuable piece of art that will be celebrated in the history of art. For example, Mona Lisa image has been trending since the time memorial because it was a magnificent piece of work.

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