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La Gioconda: mystery, regret and controversy behind the painting
One of the greatest paintings of Italian art is certainly the masterpiece of Leonardo Vinci, La Gioconda. The painting, better known abroad as "Monna Lisa" ("Monna" as the abbreviation for Madonna and corresponding to the current term "woman") is kept in the museum of the Louvre in Paris. This 77 x 53 cm painting is unsigned, but it is sure that the work was painted by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci in 1500. However, the artist never considered the work completed and he never gave it to his commissioner; thus has often raised questions which, together with many others, haven't found any answer yet.
Probably not as famous as Michelangelo or Leonardo, Andrea Mantegna is just as talented and artistically important for the history of italian art. He lived in the 15th century and he was with no doubt a master of prospective, a constant in his work and a characteristic of his talent, which began to develop at a young age at his adoptive father's workshop. Ironically, there are records of a lawsuit Mantegna filed against him on copyright issues, proof that such matters, although labeled with different names, were indeed hot topic back then, too.
A true Sicilian, a strong communist, but above all one of the most famous Italian artists of modern times. Guttuso came from a wealthy upper middle class family, but soon in his life opted for a very radical, left wing political position. He was born in Bagheria, the Sicilian city brought on to the screen by Giuseppe Tornatore's film only a few years ago. Since his youth, art and politics became his companions, but it was his move to Northern Italy, where he got in touch with the vivid, continental artistic and political ideas of the time, that crucially molded his career.
MAXXI: The First National Museum Dedicated to Architecture in Italy.
For those who associate Italy with ancient art and architecture alone, the MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts, in Rome will come as quite a surprise. The building itself is a revolutionary design by architect Zaha Hadid and it the exhibits it houses are examples of contemporary art and architecture from the 20th and 21st centuries.
The MAXXI is not just an innovation in architecture by design but is also, incredibly, the first of Italy's national museums to be dedicated to archaeology.
The destruction of the Campo Santo in Pisa brought tears to Deane Keller's eyes. Pieces of the famous frescoes lay on the floor and the roof had been torn off by Allied bombing. Painstakingly, he started picking up fragments of the frescoes and deciding how the restoration work should be carried out.
Deane Keller, who had studied art in Italy, was one of the monuments men who helped to save and restore Italian art during World War Two after the Allies landed in the country. These courageous men and women worked with Italian government ministers and museum curators, saving art from German looting or damage from bombing. This small force of soldiers often did this while enduring grave danger to their lives.
La Maiolica: Sicily's Ceramics
While the true origins of ceramic are oft debated and still unknown, we can say with certainty that the traditional maiolica style of ceramics is a style born in Sicily that is now renowned the world over.
An Old Tradition
Umberto Boccioni is one of the most recognized Italian painters of the 20th century and his work is highly appreciated by critics. He was a "Futurist" and probably the most recognized name of the movement that, at the beginning of the 20th century, created a completely new vision of art in Italy.
Il Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Chiusi is a museum of great significance for the town and it's surrounding area, which is known as ancient Etruria. Chiusi (Clevsin in Etruscan) together with eleven other towns and cities of Tuscany are steeped in Etruscan history dating back to between the 9th and 1st century BC. Many Etruscan tombs and settlements have been discovered over the years which contain amazingly well-preserved items that have since been conserved by the museum and are now displayed in behind spotlessly clean glass.
Caravaggio, or Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, was born in 1571. He is considered the master of light, one of the few painters who with his brush and his strokes was able to capture the essence of light like only Mother Nature could. He was born in Milan and after a period of training in his native town he transferred to Rome, historically more of an art city than Milan, and clearly in high demand for artists and their work.
Italian Art Through The Ages
From the earliest times, Italians have left their mark on every major artistic movement in the Western World. From Etruscan bronzes to the flowing lines of Baroque churches and everything in between, Italian artistry is world-renown. In this section, learn about Italian masters, their groundbreaking methods and their priceless works that still inspire awe and wonder.
Originally from Australia and having studied in Sydney and Hobart in Tasmania, David Booker has held many exhibitions of his drawings and sculptures. His current graphite and pastel drawings exhibition, entitled 'Castelli di Cartone' features empty cartons and 100% recyclable natural corrugated cardboard. The boxes captured in the drawings are cleverly depicted. It's easy to forget that for a short time, each special box has it's own important purpose in our world, forgotten then strewn aside. David has made them the celebrities.
In a spacious room enhanced by sunlight, Delia Binaglia methodically adds brushstrokes of color to a fired piece of pottery. Her details are the final touches learned from the antique tradition of majolica ceramics, practiced in the Umbrian town of Deruta. Binaglia, and her husband Antonio Ranocchia, have been creating ceramics for over 60 years, and are the founders of the ceramic factory Maoliche Originali Deruta (MOD), now managed by their children Ivan and Grazia.
Visit Italian Frescoes for more pictures of the paintings and procedures
Michelangelo: The Man
The Real Michelangelo
Was Michelangelo really the grumpy, taciturn artist portrayed by Charlton Heston in The Agony and the Ecstasy or was he a much nicer person? Who was the real Michelangelo?
We have many perceptions about the great artist who created the statue of David, the sculpture of the Pieta and painted the Sistine Chapel. He is often written about as a tortured and bad-tempered man, troubled by his homosexuality, a starving artist, and a recluse with no friends. Are these perceptions true?