How did the masters of the Italian Renaissance study (part 2)
Here is a quote from a book by Giovio, an Italian historian of the 16th century. He describes the teaching method of Leonardo da Vinci, which gives us an idea of the nature of instruction in workshops of the 15th – 16th centuries. According to Giovio, Leonardo strictly forbade students to use brushes and paints for the time being, “allowing them only to choose and painstakingly paint with their lead pencil the immortal samples of the most ancient works, to transmit with the simplest strokes the forces of nature and the contours of bodies that appear before our eyes in such a variety of movements. He also wanted them to open the corpses and carefully study the joints and joints of muscles and bones, as well as the work of tendons, about all this, he very carefully composed a book with images of individual limbs in order to prevent him from drawing anything dissimilar to nature, that is, to prevent the greedy minds of young people from being attracted by the charm of the brush and the witchcraft of colors before they learn to use extremely useful exercises to depict objects with the correct proportions, even without having them ed eyes. ” In this regard, Giovio observes: “We need to make sure that … fledglings with still weak wings do not rush to fly before time …”
In that era, first of all, they taught the most important thing – the creative method, understanding the task, and consistency in work. Leonardo himself wrote in his “Book of Painting”, which became a practical guide for future generations: “A young man must first study the perspective, then the measures of each thing, then copy the drawings of a good master to get used to good proportions of body members, then from nature in order to establish itself in the fundamentals of what has been studied: then consider for a while the works of the hands of various masters, and finally get used to practical implementation and work in art. ”
Of course, art education was not limited to the workshop and did not end when the students left the teacher. They constantly engaged in self-improvement, sought to learn new things. Mantegna, for example, already in adulthood continued to be interested in issues of perspective, to study mathematics and optics, referring to the works of scientists, to get acquainted with the aesthetic treatises of his contemporaries. The beneficial influence of artists on each other is also a kind of school of excellence. The Venetians Jacopo and Giovanni Bellini, the Florentines Donatello, Andrea del Castagno and Paolo Uccello, who worked at the same time in his native Padua, could not help influencing the work of the same Mantegna. And Piero della Francesca, who in his mature years was considered the “monarch of painting” and was a role model, was greatly influenced by the works of Giotto, Masaccio, Uccello, the theoretical works of Brunelleschi and Alberti. The Italian Antonello da Messina knew the disciples of the great Dutch master Van Eyck. He adopted the technique of oil painting from them, then spreading it to Venice.