Michelangelo and his Vision of a “Superior Order of Beings”…

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the famed Italian Renaissance/High Renaissance sculptor, painter, poet, was able to fix into visible shape a race of figures that later generations have interpreted as belonging to a “superior order of beings.”  The English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, in his Discoursed (1769-90), stated:  “His people are a superior order of beings; there is nothing about them, nothing in the air of their actions or their attitudes, or the style and cast o their limbs or features, that reminds us of their belonging to our won species.”  What are your thoughts on Michelangelo’s interpretation of the human figure within the notion proposed by Reynolds above?

Michelangelo, The Captive

Michelangelo, The Captive


69 comments on “Michelangelo and his Vision of a “Superior Order of Beings”…

  1. dana vargas says:

    I would have to say that I disagree with Sir Joshua Reynold’s quote. I think that Buonarroti sculptors are indeed beautiful and superior when it comes to art, but I think that there is indeed something about them that reminds me of them belonging to our species. I can see familiar limbs and body parts. They do not exactly look like a human being but I do see some resemblance (unlike the quote intends).

    • Rick Blomberg says:

      I think they resemble what any human would want to look like, or if someone took very good care of themselves. Unlike what most people do nowadays. The images above are just of men stuck in the rock. I think they look distorted, but still recognizable.

  2. Brandon Booth says:

    A race of figures that belong to a “superior order of beings,” that’s high praise for artistic work. Yet these figures are fantastic works of art. When Sir Joshua Reynolds stated that “there is nothing about them… that remind us of their belonging to our own species,” i believe he meant that Michaelangelo’s interpretation, or rather his display, of the human body is completely unrealistic – his creations are simply too perfect.

    It that regard I might agree. These figures portrayed are not of the average person. In some ways they are reminiscent of the sculptures of the gods of ancient Greece that, such as Zues, or Apollo. In this light, its easy to consider these works of Michelangelo’s as being superhuman.

    However, when one considers their state of being trapped within the rock their made from, it brings forth a sense of being limited, or of mortality. So in the end, I’ll have to disagree with the sentiments of Sir Joshua Reynolds. I believe Michelangelo’s race of beings are to be a representation of what can be seen as the epitome of the desired physical state of humanity, but they are still human.

    • Brianna Maxim says:

      I have to say, I really liked your post. Your thoughts on the morality of the person trapped in the rock they were created from really got to me. It sounds like you put a lot of thought into your post and I agree with everything you said! They do look a little godly but that limitation you spoke of does bring it down to the human level. Great job!

  3. Heather Galloway says:

    The figures that Michelangelo creates are perfection – I’m pretty sure that’s what Reynolds was inferring. I could be wrong, but I would assume that in the late 1700’s (during Reynolds’ era) the average person, even the working class, did not have sculpted bodies the way that Michelangelo portrayed them. I agree with Brandon’s comment that his subjects tend to resemble the Greek gods. I think that Reynolds’ comments regarding Michelangelo is a very high praise and very accurate.

  4. Brianna Maxim says:


    Reading the quote and then the posts left behind by the other students, I have to say that I do disagree with the quote presented. I see a huge resemblance between ourselves and the beings that are depicted in the pictures above. The artwork is beautiful yes, and does try to portray perfection but as those above me have already stated, they are not perfect. How can something perfect be trapped with the rock like a prisoner? The bodies itself, though slightly different, do remind me of a human body. When I first looked upon these images, I didn’t see perfection. I saw a mortal man bound by the world around it.

    • Lauren Lantrip says:

      Wow, that’s very insightful, I agree with you, I think that there are many resemblances to the human body. I agree, it isn’t a perfect example of the human body, but it is pretty accurate in describing the frailty of the human body.

  5. Brianna Maxim says:

    Learning Module: Leonardo

    One of the paintings that intrigued me where one of the few portraits shown about the girl that was looking down and to the side. Her painting came right after the Last Supper. She reminds me of the woman beside Jesus who is debated to be Mary Magdeline. It make me wonder who that woman is and why Leonardo kept creating her image. She looks familiar in all the painting he does with a woman. I don’t know if that is just me seeing the similarities or if it was on purpose.

    As for my thoughts on Leonardo’s place in the world of art, I think he was a great artist and he put a lot of dedication into his work. His work did change the way we view art because of the famous Last Supper and Mona Lisa with her shifting eyes. I do like his artwork. He was fascinated with the human body and the figure and it shows in his artwork. His place in the art world is deserved and I am glad we had the opportunity of having him.

  6. Brianna Maxim says:

    Learning Module: Michelangelo and Raphael

    Between the three giants of the Renaissance, I would say I prefer the work of Michelangelo and Leonardo. I like the detail, imagery, and story behind their work. They are both vary detailed and their work with the sculpture and paintings sends a clear message about what they want to portray. They hold true to the true form of the human body and nature. I think it is the detail and the story is what really attracts me. As for the the debate between sculptures and painting, I like both. I think I am drawn a little more to the sculptures because it amazes me how an artist can create something out of stone. That takes so much skill and practice. Any wrong move and the sculpture could be ruined. They are so detailed and defined. Some of them are so tall to! I wish I could sculpt.

  7. vincent taylor says:

    I would prefer Leonardo because of his artistic abilities as well as his ingenuity. It’s one thing when someone can paint well with flawless brush strokes but to be one of the first great inventors and/or dreamer of human society that’s something special. Leonardo was well ahead of his time as one of the first great engineers brings several amazing ideas. Who could forget such memorable works of art still coveted by society today as “the last supper”, and the “Mona Lisa?” His genius as an artist and inventor continues to inspire artists and scientists alike centuries after his death.

    • Lauren Lantrip says:

      Very true, interesting perspective. There are many people who would know exactly who painted those paintings. It’s so true. If people couldn’t recognize who painted them, they would probably at least be able to recognize the painting itself.

  8. vincent taylor says:

    I think I like sculpting better just because of the amount of technique and precision that goes into producing such amazing works. Think about the patients one must have to take the time to make sure every piece of stone is chiseled away precisely to bring the right form and depth to a figure. Sculpting also seemed to be a nobler art form, because of the previously stated reasons and the fact that sculptures where produced for lots of reasons including dignitaries as well as important religious figures.

    • jessica baker says:

      I agree I think sculpting takes a lot of patience, technique and precision that goes in to great work. Also a very steady hand.

  9. Sean Reilly says:

    Learning Module:

    If given the choice of which “giant” of the High Renaissance I preferred to would certainly chose Michelangelo. I have always had a strong appreciation for the work of Michelangelo and his work throughout the High Renaissance. Michelangelo’s David is one of the most famous and idolized pieces of art in history. The pure genius that is shown through the detail and size of the sculpture speaks volumes on its own. In addition to the sculpture David, Michelangelo created many magnificent works of art including several works in the Sistine Chapel ceiling and others throughout Vatican City. Michelangelo was one of the most influential artists of all time and is recognized by many in that respect.

    While the High Renaissance period featured great paintings and sculptures, I find myself preferring the art of sculpture over paintings. As I stated earlier, the mere size and detail of sculptures alike Michelangelo’s David is staggering even by today’s standards. The fact that many of these sculptures were carved out of one solid piece of marble or other material is even more impressive. Although the paintings of this period are world renowned and magnificent, I feel they simply serve as accent to the sculptures when seen in the same venue.


    In response to Reynolds’ quote above, I find Michelangelo’s art to be in the image of a “perfect” human being. This idea of perfection stretches beyond the mere physical perfection of the sculptures which feature the body in peak physical condition. As with many paintings and sculptures during the High Renaissance period, Michelangelo’s art is of a godly image. I interpret Reynolds’ quote as saying the “people” Michelangelo created are not of human proportions, they are simply better.

  10. Rick Blomberg says:

    I can see that they are molded from a perfect being, but that’s not to say that we don’t have people like that now. Even though people as a whole don’t take care of themselves, some still do and can achieve that “perfect” form. Just open any men’s health magazine or woman’s fashion magazine and you can see people just like those that Michelangelo either envisioned or knew as people and used them to help him create his art. I can see where he might’ve fudged it a little bit, but maybe he really didn’t. Like I said before he might’ve known these people and they are modeled after real people. These sculptures and paintings alike do really show the perfect form. Anyone would want to look like that.

  11. Leonardo
    John the Baptist intrigued me the most because as a child I remember seeing another scene with John the Baptist being Be-headed, at an art gallery here in Las Vegas. It amazed me to see the detail that they added to the lively version of him in a portrait and the detail they put on his death painting.
    Leonardo’s style among others has a very unique edge that outlines and expresses the details of the persons facial image. It also has a low hue and saturation within the paintings that give it that “antique” style.

    I prefer Michaelangelo’s art because of the piece, “The Last Judgement”. It amazes me to visualize his interpretation of the title, it’s kind of creepy but interesting at the same time. The characters portrayed within the picture all have their ideal purpose and irony.
    My thoughts on High Renaissance painting versus sculpture are that they both contain nudity which is sometimes covered up for decency purposes. My personal opinion is that art should not be modified from its original form no matter what people find offensive. Observers are given a set of eyes to look at these original pieces and those eyes have the power to look away from that art work that they find offensive or unappealing. I prefer sculptures over the painting because in the sculpture, the artist can give the observer a sense of 3-D detail. It also defines how precise those sculptors were at the time to add these exquisite details.

  12. Lauren Lantrip says:

    I would have to disagree with Reynolds statement. I can agree that when looking at these sculptures that it almost looks like a different breed of humans, and it is almost not even human-like in the way that the sculptures are so perfect, and even the attitude that they carry themselves with and the way they hold themselves in Michelangelo’s interpretation is almost like a different breed of humans. Either he depicts these men with an extreme amount of strength or an extreme amount of inferiority in respect to God, he kind of goes to extreme with the way that he paints these men in the light of his sculptures. I don’t really agree with his statement because I think that Michelangelo sees an aspect of humanity that most people either do not see, or they do not choose to acknowledge. I think that he points out an aspect of the this really physically strong men, and makes them seem insignificant is not really a focused on aspect of humanity that people choose to focus on.
    Leonardo Learning Module:
    The piece from Leonardo that spoke to me the most was probably “The Last Supper” because of the way he spun his own interpretation of a very significant piece of christian history. He put so many beautiful details into this piece that have probably been worn away over the years. I would have like to see this piece a hundred years ago to see the amount of detail that he put into it. Leonardo focused on the Christian aspect of this time in history. There were many artists that were created art with this idea at the time, but he really focused on painting the actual piece of history. Mona Lisa was monumental in the way he was able to display this mysterious woman in a light that she would have never been seen in outside of this painting. I think that he found his way in the classical style of art by focusing on the beauty of women.
    Michelangelo and Raphael Learning Module:
    Out of the three giants of the High Renaissance, I think that I prefer Michelangelo, just because I think that he was the first to really focus on aspects of humanity that many other artists didn’t have the boldness to see yet. He focused on the beauty that can be seen in the male body, which is something that many people did not focus on yet. Because what man would spend his time painting another man naked? In today’s time that would seem a little crazy, but at that time I’m sure that it would be much more controversial. Not only did he focus on the truths of humanity but he painted many pieces on the relationship with God and humanity. In his painting of the Sistine Chapel, the dynamic between God and his creation is constantly being illustrated through his paintings on this chapel.

  13. jessica baker says:

    I’d have to agree that the men in the sculpting are recognizable. They are a image that everyone wants to look like. But if you really look it shows that they are unfinished and kinda shows that everyone has imperfections.

  14. Brandon Booth says:

    Response to the Leonardo Power Point:

    There’s several works by Leonardo that I find intriguing. I suppose if I have to pick one it will be the painting of The Last Summer. I’m partial to complicated works of art – the kind of work you can live with it, see every day, and still continually notice features in the artwork that you never noticed before. The Last Supper is just that type of piece. Every character is unique and has his own agenda. This creates a bit of mystery to the art. Something you can dwell on all day. Oh, I don’t believe in the whole “da Vinici code” and how the Last Supper is supposedly hinting at some ancient secrets. That’s a lot of bollocks, however it makes interesting fiction.

    I personally find the style of painting done by Leonardo and his compatriots to be precisely of my taste. In my opinion, this style of art it the epitome of what great art is. I wish his work was without value, so I could obtain it all and decorate my house with its magnificence. Alas, I feel fortunate that such a thing as a museum exists.

  15. Brandon Booth says:

    In Response to the Michelangelo and Raphael Power Point:

    As a man, I believe Leonardo da Vinci is the most amazing individual ever to live. At the very least he’s in the top 5. However, there’s one man I prefer strictly as an artist, and that’s Michaelangelo. I love his open, and brutally honest style. I think his sculptures and his work with paint are without equal.

    As far as High Renaissance painting versus sculpture is concerned, I have no preference. They are equally amazing. Michaelangelo’s David VS Raphael’s School Of Athens… I see no winner. They’re both masterpieces.

    • Mitch Cain says:

      I agree with you that, as an artist Michelangelo is more appealing. Leonardo was an amazing human being considering how multi-talented he was and how ahead of the curve he was in so many areas outside of art. It is truly remarkable to think of how many great achievements or improvements were his alone.

  16. Tasha Jenkins says:

    I don’t agree with Reynolds’ statement of Michelangelo’s interpretation of the human figure. While the figures in Michelangelo’s works show strong, intelligent, and possibly “superior” individuals, there is nothing about them to suggest that they belong to a “superior order of beings”. It’s said that the winners of wars always write history, and I believe works of art also show the better and stronger side of individuals. This is all that Michelangelo has done, he has created great images of great individuals.

  17. Tasha Jenkins says:

    Module 13
    Female Head by Leonardo da Vinci intrigued me the most because it makes me think of a mother holding her newborn baby with a look of fondness and love. I really appreciate pieces that make me think of happy and beautiful feelings, and ones that make me think about the situation or meaning that could be behind them.

    I like that Leonardo’s works are in the pantheon, even though his style is different than the other artists that we have looked at. Art is about the diversity of pieces and people and Leonardo’s works bring a new kind of work to appreciate to the pantheon.

  18. Tasha Jenkins says:

    Module 14
    I prefer Michelangelo’s works the most because he had an amazing ability to create outstanding works of art in all mediums, but especially sculpting, which I really appreciate and admire. I prefer sculptures to paintings because of the additional dimension that they are able to provide. While paintings can look life-like, sculpting is able to so much more than paintings.

  19. Kindra Cadet says:

    Of the “giants” of High Renaissance, I mostly prefer Michaelangelo because the art is very intricate in its detail. When it comes to paintings versus sculpture, they each have their strengths. Paintings can display beautiful color and depth when done well. I especially enjoy looking at textured paintings because of the depth and element of realism it brings to the art. As for sculpture, it is very real because it can depict art in its true, natural form, like in the sculptures of the human body. Sculptures can capture the true likeness of the art being created in a way that paintings and textured paintings cannot. For this reason, I slightly favor sculptured artwork over painting.
    In regard to Michelangelo and his Vision of a “Superior Order of Beings”, I feel that Sir Joshua Reynolds doesn’t identify with Michaelangelo’s work. The art pictured seems vague in that it is difficult to see what the message is behind the work. I guess I agree with Reynolds in that way. I also cannot identify with it and am not drawn to it the way that I am with other pieces of his artwork.

  20. Alex-Arthur Williams says:

    Blog Post:
    I believe that Michelangelo depictions of “His people’, as said by Sir Joshua Reynolds, are repentations of the perfect humans that we are. Not many people looked liked the sculptures Michelangolo depicted but the sculptures do have limbs and body parts similar to regular human beings so Reynolds’ quote can be false in what he states.

    • Leonardo:
      The art piece that I always think about and has mystery surrounding it is the Mona Lisa because I didn’t know if she was a real person and if she was who it was until this Module. Then there is the mystery of if there is a secret behind the painting of the Mona Lisa which was played at in the Da Vinci Code. Because of this long standing mystery that Leonardo put into his art and because of it limit quantity of authentic copies that is the reason I believe Leonardo artwork is seen as the one of the best in art history.

      Michelangelo to Raphael:
      Of the “giant three” of High Renaissance I prefer Michelangelo more then the others because it seems that he went the extra mile to really make a name for himself back then by creating the Sistine Chapel which I think no one would try to recreate on the scale he did. In High Renaissance I like sculptures over the paintings because you have to know it took more time and planning to create which probably took some painting or drawing.

  21. Kristian Garcia says:

    Leonardo powerpoint:
    Leonardo’s work are very intrigueing and picking just one it very difficult to do. I think the work of art that was most interesting to me would have to be, “The Last Supper,” i grew up looking at this painting because everyone of my relatives had the same replica painting. But i also like this painting because it is extremely detailed for something that happened about 1500 years after. He had to show a lot of creativity to paint a scenario that would be iconic in the Christian community.
    I think leonardo should be one of the 5 artists that should be in that pantheon of artist because he was innovative, creative, talented, and different than any other artist that we saw earlier. Also, he was a very influentical man of his time and also to this day and his work has been well known for centuries.

    Michelangelo and Raphael powerpoint:
    If i had to pick one of the three i would have to pick Michelangelo because he painted what he wanted to paint and he sculpted whaterever he wanted to sculpt. His work is so detailed, edgy, and different from any of the three that people had censor his work.
    I don’t have a preference on which medium is better. art is art, whatever medium the artist choses to use it shouldn’t matter. The two medium are very different and they should be viewed or liked in different ways.

  22. Joshua Nelson says:

    The work of art by Leonardo intrigued me the most was piece of the girl looking down. It interest me because she was also in the painting The Last supper. I wonder if Leonardo actually knew her, was it his love interest? All of the paintings of women that Leonardo creates all look the same. Leonardo’s place in the world of art, I think was unmatched. The work he did altered the way we view art, from the Last Supper to Mona Lisa, Leonardo fascination in the human body created outstanding art pieces.

    Response to post:
    The Quote said by Sir Joshua Reynolds, I would have to disagree upon. The sculptures are nice but they are only imagination of the human body. Maybe back then they use to look like that but, it’s all to perfect. Like a comic book character.

  23. Joshua Nelson says:

    The artist I prefer is Leonardo, because to me there is a mystery in his art work. Each of his pieces I feel are very personal to his life. I really believe the women he draws have something to do with his love interest. My thoughts on High Renaissance painting versus sculpture is that they both show naked bodies, the only difference is that the sculpture is 3D and shows the body more in-depth.

  24. Mitch Cain says:

    Michelangelo & ‘Superior Beings’ Blog:

    I disagree with Reynolds statement for several reasons, the first of which being that Michelangelo’s sculptures look like in shape people rather than ‘higher beings’ or something to that effect. Secondly, the first thing I thought when I saw Michelangelo’s sculptures was that they captured the very essence of man extraordinarily well. When I look that these sculpture I see mankind and indeed nothing else. In my eyes, the human body failure to grasp the perfection of the divine, no matter how meticulous the craftsmanship may have been, and in this case was. Michelangelo’s interpretation of the human figure is exquisite and shows a keen eye for the depths of human anatomy. His sculptures are well done but in my eyes do not, and cannot, reflect this notion of a ‘superior man.’

    Learning Module – Leonardo:
    The most fascinating piece of Leonardo’s that I saw is that of John the Baptist. As with other works by da Vinci, this piece has a very nubile looking subject. In this painting, John is without a beard and looks very European (despite living in what we now call the Middle East). He also has a very soft jaw line and cheek bones, almost as if he still has his baby fat. This, combined with his well manicured hair makes him appear child like. I liked this piece because it is such a noticeable departure from the classical look of John the Baptist. The piece looks unmistakably like the work of Leonardo as well, which makes it unique to the artist. The combination of these elements greatly increased this painting’s appeal to me.

    There are whole mythologies surrounding the work of Leonardo da Vinci, from Dan Brown’s novels to the video game series Assassin’s Creed. Da Vinci’s works has placed him in the pantheon of the greatest artists of all time and for good reason. The man was a genius and a fantastic artist. When comparing his works with the likes of Michelangelo we see how unique the two men were and how Leonardo was a true artist in his use of trail blazing forms. The child like appearance he gave to such storied figures almost softened to the point of humanity. This in and of itself earns him a place amongst the greats.

  25. Mitch Cain says:

    Learning Module – Michelangelo to Raphael:

    In my opinion, Michelangelo is one of the greatest artists to have ever graced the Earth and his painting ‘Last Judgement’ is one of the greatest works of art I have ever seen. His art is so beautiful, so detailed, and has so much depth it is beyond awe inspiring. Of all the artists whose work I have viewed either in person or in pictures, Michelangelo’s work is the most breath taking and comes closest to what I would label as ‘speaking’ to me.

    When comparing High Renaissance painting the sculpture from that same period, I find it difficult to decide which I prefer. I have always believed that sculpture was more talent oriented and time consuming, but in studying art over this semester I have come to understand that painting is just as demanding. I largely prefer painting over sculpture, especially when it comes to religious iconography. I feel that paintings have an easier time telling a story and that they capture a broader spectrum of the human soul that a sculpture can.

  26. Module-Leonardo
    The Last supper intrigued me the most out of all the images. I have seen this image many many times due to my religion. I think that it is amazing because of the perfect detailing. I feel that Leonardo did a great job illustrating the faces and expressions of every person on the painting. I greatly enjoy the colors and the different tones that the image captures.
    I think that Leonardo still holds a strong place in the art world today. His paintings are still present in many galleries and many of his paintings still sell to this day. I believe that he continues to inspire many artists to this day. I feel that Leonardo has created his own style now a days. When people see the Mona Lisa or the Last Supper, people automatically think about Leonardo. I believe his inspirations are still alive today and will be for many years to come.

    • Kelly Mamo says:

      The Last Supper is one of my favorites too. There are so many things to look at in that painting, placement of people, expressions of faces, etc. Not being an art expert, Leonardo is still someone that is recongnizable to many.

  27. dana vargas says:

    When looking at the Leonardo Learning Module, I feel like my favorite painting was the one of “The Last Supper”. This one certainly caught my eye. I think I am so drawn in by it because of all the speculation that has been made about this painting throughout the years (including the woman believed to be Mary Madeline). It’s also just a beautiful painting. There is so much detail involved in each and every person’s expression. It has a very spiritual vibe to it. I think Leonardo is one of the best painters I have had the pleasure of viewing this semester.
    Concerning the Michelangelo Learning Module, of the “Three Giants of High Renaissance” I prefer Michelangelo. I think it is amazing how he can capture such real life into a sculptor. I imagine this is not an easy thing to do. For example, the sculptor of “David” is absolutely gorgeous. I believe it was ahead of its time. I respect Michelangelo for creating such a masterpiece that is still favored and idolized today. I think this is the kind of thing that makes the difference between an artist who is “good” and an artist who is “amazing” or “a legend; how their art work lives on. Michelangelo’s artwork definitely lives on and captivates us all.

    • Kelly Mamo says:

      I am not really into the whole David sculpture. I would be on the bandwagon of the fig leaf! I do agree that Michelango is a great artist though because I love the work he did on the Sistine Chapel! He is a legend because his work is honored and loved by many.

  28. I would have to disagree with the statement. I believe that the sculptures are very similar to our own species. Many items such as the face, limbs and body are very similar to the human species. All the pieces contain items that we are very familiar with and remind us of ourselves.

  29. Kelly Mamo says:

    What are your thoughts on Michelangelo’s interpretation of the human figure within the notion proposed by Reynolds above?

    I think he was inspired by someone to sculp what he thought was the superior being. Although there are many humanistic traits in his work, it would be hard to compare his scultures to real human beings.

    Of the three artists, I prefer Michelangelo due to his work on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. He didn amazing job when others wanted him to fail. It is a magnificent piece of artwork that has lasted centuries for us to enjoy.

    I prefer the paintings rather than scultures of the High Rennaissance Period. I think the reason for my preference is the colors and hues rather than the hard lines of the scultures.

    I am drawn to The Last Supper painting by Leonardo. It think there is a lot of mystery within his paintings therefore the intrigue. He tends to paint people who are not posing directly for him like so many of the others. He adds mystery to his work–his subjects are lost in thought which makes us wonder what is really going on. I think Leonanrdo is a right up there with all the other great artists.

    • Helen Marie Brandon says:


      I do see some human characteristics in Michelangelo’s sculpture, too much so for me to call it a superior being. When I think superior, I think something divine; however, maybe it was divine for the artist. I also love the Sistine Chapel ceiling. It is very intricate work that must have taken him a long time to do. I am also always drawn to the Last Supper painting. Maybe it’s the mystery behind it. People are always trying to interpret that piece to see if Leonardo was leaving some kind of message for us. I love it! He is definitely one of the greats.

  30. Helen Marie Brandon says:

    I disagree with Reynolds. I don’t really see how Reynolds doesn’t see our species in these statues. Aside from missing some features or limbs, these statues could very well be of human men. They are undoubtedly beautiful statues, but nothing un-species-like to me!


    How do you pick just one piece by Leonardo? I simply can’t do it. I love the Last Supper and Mona Lisa. Like others, I love to try to interpret to myself any hidden meanings in the portraits. I enjoy the mystery that surrounds both paintings. As for his style, he liked to paint people who were looking off to the side a lot… probably to add to that air of mystery. I think Leonardo is simply at the top of the list of the pantheon of artists. While I can appreciate what Michelangelo and Raphael have to offer, I have always been drawn to Leonardo’s art.

    As for painting versus sculpture, I would have to go with Michelangelo’s paintings. Honestly, I have never been inspired by sculpture, but Michelangelo’s
    paintings in the Sistine Chapel is absolutely beautiful. I remember all the stories about how long it took him to complete the ceiling. His kind of passion is a story of one of the greats.

  31. Brittany Rowland says:

    I will have to respectfully disagree with Reynolds’ opinion on Michelangelo’s art. Michelangelo’s sculptures definitely resemble our species and the emotion that human beings convey. There features are very realistic to a human being of any era. He has such great detail on all of his work that it is intriguing to me how great of an imagination he had. He could visualize every detail and make a block of marble into something breath-taking.

    Learning Module: Michelangelo and Raphael
    Out of the three artists I prefer Michelangelo’s work of art the most. His paintings and sculptures have so much refined detail to them that is almost unbelievable. Also his imagination is so intriguing to me because of the paintings he dreamt up in the Sistine Chapel. They are beyond beautiful to look at and when I see them they give me a warm emotion.

    I really enjoy both High Renaissance paintings and sculptures. I think that the sculptures bring more realism to the artwork. The detail that is put into the sculptures and completely lifelike. The PowerPoint with the San Francisco Giant player and the statue of David’s hand is identical. Michelangelo put so much great emphasis on small details like that. The paintings are beautiful as well, they are very realistic, but they lack the detail of relating to an actual person. They are more of a fantasy of realism to me. My preference is definitely sculptures because they bring such realistic elements to human life. I can look at a sculpture of someone and feel like I know the person. The detail in a sculpture far surpasses the detail on a canvass. You can touch a sculpture and feel where the artist has touched a piece of stone or marble and made it into something spectacular.

  32. Marel Gil says:

    I would have to say that I disagree with the quote. The sculptures not only look like something human, you can tell that they are. They have he same body parts as a human does. I think what he might have meant was that they look “better” than most humans. I can see from the pictures that the sculptures of these people, being men, are well defined bodies and not everyone has riped abs like them.

    Leonardo Module:
    The piece of art that intrigued me the most would have to be The Last Supper. I find it to be so great. All those wonderful colors and how he made it possible to depict so many things in one single painting. There is just so much detail in it that its hard to really concentrate on just one spot. I think that the spot he has recieved is well earned. I think that his style of art is just wonderful. It captures your interest when looking at it and not only expresses something but it has stood the test of time and is still marveled by young and old from all around the world.
    What are your thoughts on Leonardo’s place in the pantheon of artists when you compare

    Michelangelo and Raphael Module:
    Of the three artists, I would have to say that I prefer Michelangelo. I find his work to be much more interesting than the other two. Don’t get me wrong, the other two, Leonardo and Raphael, have very interesting art work but I just seem to like Michelangelo’s stuff much more. His sculpture David is just to intense. Especially his eyes! They seem so realisitc and as if they’re searching for something. I think that High Renaissance painting is just as impressive as sculptures. I do not prefer one over the other and I do think that they have their own special thing. They are both amazing and hard to believe that something so beautiful can be made from either one of the two.

  33. Brittany Rowland says:

    Learning Module: Leonardo
    I think the most intriguing piece of artwork by Leonardo would have to be The Last Supper. It is such a great painting and has such meaning throughout history. It was the last supper for Jesus and is very powerful for Christianity. There has been so much controversy over this painting throughout the years with hidden messages and other mysterious myths about the piece of work. Leonardo has portrayed this scene with such depth when I look at it. I can see the pain in Jesus’ eyes because he is telling them that someone there will betray him and he knows it. It really is a very intricate and moving piece of artwork.

    I think Leonardo’s work is a great piece of history. He will always be considered one of the great artists of all time and I agree with that accreditation. All of his work has passion and emotion pouring from it, which tells me that he put his heart and soul into every piece of artwork he did. To me his style of art was genius, everything he has done is very unique. He is one of the great artists that have so many great works that everyone knows of. His works of art have inspired many other great artists and still inspire them today.

  34. Rick Blomberg says:

    The image that most intrigued me wasn’t a piece by Leonard but by his pupil, Francesco Melzi. I liked his painting “Vertumnus and Pomona”. I really liked how the colors weren’t bright and vivid, but they still caught my eyes attention. I like how the woman is just sitting there with clothes on, yet her breast is fully exposed. Just makes me think what is happening in this scene. If that was now, you would see the woman with that “shocked” face on. But this is just like it’s a normal day and nothing strange is happening. Like the old woman is comforting or even just speaking to the woman trying to convey her knowledge upon her. Not too sure, but I enjoy it. Leonardo is an important figure in the artistic world. He came up with some of the most recognizable images of all time. Everyone knows the “Mona Lisa” and it isn’t a second thought of whom painted her. That being said, I can only see some features of his art being similar to the works of the others we have gone over. A lot of his people look the same and are set to a single form.

  35. Rick Blomberg says:

    Michelangelo and Raphael:

    I probably like Michelangelo the most. His artwork on the Sistine Chapel is amazing! I always think of that as one of the greatest masterpieces in artwork. It’s astonishing that he was able to do it at such an awkward angle and so high up and still have it look incredible. It’s so huge and massive, I can’t not say that it’s the best. That takes true skill, and with that my preference goes to him.
    I really don’t have a preference on the paintings over the sculptures. I think that in their own rights they are amazing. I think the paintings obviously have more detail, but the sculptures took a bit more of a masterful eye. So they are pretty much equal to me.

  36. Sela Tuamoheloa says:

    Early Twentieth Century Thoughts Module:

    Overall, I prefer Picasso’s art to Salvatore Dali’s art and would choose to own his art if I could. When their paintings depicting the war are placed side by side I feel that even though the subject matter in both paintings are gruesome, Picasso’s use of geometric shapes adds an alluring quality to the overall composition. Picasso’s “Guernica” left the most impact on me. I have seen this image before and never forgot the mother holding the dead child and crying. This and the positioning of bodies in the painting make it haunting and hard to forget. Based on the slides, I would say Picasso understood his unique time better by coinciding his painting with the Entartete Kunst.

  37. Casey Teator says:

    I would have to say that I am stuck between the works of Leonardo and Michaelangelo. I love both of their works of arts. I like quite a bit of Michaelangelo because he focus’ on such detail for every part of his sculpture. He doesnt focus on say just the face or just the hands but on everything. He makes sure that the onlooker likes every piece of the sculpture. As for choosing between paintings and sculptures, I would probably go with the paintings. I choose this because I love the different colors that can be used and that can determine the mood of the scene and how the artist was feeling at the time. It also tells us the time period too. I just am not as interested in sculptures like I am paintings. I see more in paintings then I do sculptures too. I could probably create a whole story just from a paintings and a sculpture I cant do that.

  38. The renaissance witnessed some of the greatest artist of all times which include Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael. All of the three were great in their work but I personally prefer Michelangelo over the rest. One can easily see from his sculptures that he did not like to get bound by the established norms of the society and that is why he dared to sculpt nude figures even though it eventually earned him the title of ‘inventor of obscenities’. His works revolutionized the progress of the art of sculpting and he could truly be named as the giant of the renaissance era.
    Sculpture and painting are both beautiful forms of expression that have enchanted the viewers for centuries. However both are different in the ways they are created by the artists and perceived by the viewers. Personally I prefer that both have equal merits and one should not be held above the other. Painting involves colors, light, shades which provides more meaning and life to the artist’s idea. As opposed to painting, sculpting is done on something much more substantial than a canvas and therefore it has a greater presence and feels much more real to the viewers. Also the sculptures are three dimensional which give them power and make them appear more realistic. Even though the lack of dimension is considered a demerit in painting, the effect is quite easily achieved by ‘relievo’ which can be done through adequate modeling and shaping. Both are equally expressive and it only depends on person as

  39. to how he perceives sculpting and painting.

  40. Margaret de la Rosa says:

    I would have to say that I agree with Reynolds’ quote. The human sculptures that Michelangelo created seem very physically perfect. Every muscle looks toned and defined. I think that his interpretation of the human body is something of an ideal image. His creations look like Greek gods who are physically gifted in every way. However, though they might seem like perfect beings, I noticed the caption of the sculptures read “The Captive.” This might indicate that though he believes humans are superior beings, they still have weaknesses and struggles that they need to deal with.

  41. Margaret de la Rosa says:

    Module Response- High Renaissance:

    I prefer Michelangelo the most out of the three because his sculptures are so expressive and defined. His sculptures are also so intense and realistic. His depiction of the Last Judgment was also something that I have always thought was amazing. When it comes to different kinds of media, I prefer sculpture the most. I think I am more of a 3D person who likes to see things in different angles and perspectives. Sculptures are more enjoyable to look at and seem to be easier to relate to, especially when they are of people. My attention is more drawn to things that are tangible so I tend to be more interested in sculptures.

  42. Jessica Chang says:

    Of the three figurative giants of the Renaissance, the artist of who’s work I am most fond of is Michelangelo. While in each of these artists in respect to ability, and creativity, the forms are very prevalent, that of Michelangelo’s seems to posses something that is absent in the forms of the other two. The works of art produced by Michelangelo are of a certain astounding quality, and ingenuity, they in addition, push the boring boundary intangibly set by the time’s society. Many works feature the wonder, and beauty of the human body. This concept was not taken well by some of the traditional views in and out of power. Some went as far as to give him that label of “The inventor of obscenities.” The subject matter in these art forms presented in the way that they were seemed truly groundbreaking at the time.

    When viewing the several sculptures that were creations of Michelangelo. Many, including Reynolds, believe in a hierarchy of beings in the sculptures. It is believed that in the pieces, many featured subjects were in an order of superior beings, in which certain bodies are superior to others. Reynolds’ observation is that may of the subjects have certain bodily and framed motion attributes that set them apart. The idea is that the distinct differences suggest a separation from the “we are all human” understanding. In my opinion, the diversity of the subjects in the sculptures are do not constitute grounds for support of the theory. I think many are mistaking the artists creative variations for the materialized ideology.

  43. Robin McKinney says:

    I do not agree with Reynolds’, “Superior order of beings” statement. I believe he may be reading too much into his interpretation. Maybe Michelangelo is simply showing how individuals get trapped by their surroundings or situations. I do like Michelangelo’s art, but I do not see any of Reynold’s statement in the art. I understand that the sculptures are created with impeccable physic for the most part one does not find anything less than muscular bodies and they sculptures may be viewed with similarities of Greek Gods, but I would think the image of Greek Gods would surpass that of these sculptures. I just do not see the “superior beings”. Maybe the overcoming of obstacles or carrying the world, but to me it shows ideal humans overcoming obstacles of life nothing superior.

  44. Robin McKinney says:


    I like “The Last Supper”, because he encompasses so much into one painting. There is so much that can be interpreted into the painting. The triangle, the way the figures are interacting with each other. There has been much debate on the figures and what they represent in the painting. I love it! Leonardo had created much debate over many of his artwork. Whether his self image is in many of his paintings is one of many debates or controversy surrounding his artwork. I believe Leonardo is very deserving of a position of the Pantheon. I believe he is amongst the ones considered to be famous for his artwork.

  45. Bonnie Sam says:

    Based on Sir Joshua Reynolds, Michelangelo’s ‘The Captive’ consist of familiar and resembling features of our own species, but I can agree slightly with the superiority portrayed in the sculptures. The nonchalant portrayal of the beings in the sculptures seem to gaze up above with indistinguishable facial mood and expressions. I believe these acts reveal a sense of pride to elude a superiority effect to spectators like Reynolds. Similarly, Reynolds also notices that ‘nothing in the air of their actions or their attitudes’ because the pride and ego of the figure expresses their superiority. In certain aspects, the superiority reflects the ego and conceited humans in reality as well.

    Among the many pieces done by Leonardo da Vinci, the piece I love the most is the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa has always been my favorite because the intricate uses of style and technique throughout the painting. The illusion that Mona Lisa is constantly staring at you is also one of the most interesting aspects of the painting. It is also the most amazing detail of Leonardo’s work. I believe Leonardo has an amazing talent in art because the merges of paintings he has done is held to a high status. The passion and talent Leonard had can be seen through the collections of his masterpieces. Also, he seems to leave a print of prior works because the consistent styles shows similarities through the facial structures of portraits such as the Mona Lisa to other portraits.

    Among the three “giants” of the High Renaissance, I enjoy the three of their works of art because they all have unique styles and portrayals of humans. Their ideals overlap, but they are ultimately different so it’s difficult to choose one other another. Between paintings and sculptures, I prefer paintings over sculptures because paintings seem to produce a bigger pictures. The background completes the story that its trying to tell whereas a sculpture calls for a bigger imagination to find a story to accompany the piece of art. Even though I don’t prefer sculptures, I still admire them because the intricate detail is unbelievable. The veins on the hand and strands of hair in the locks are vividly indicated throughout the sculpture to portray realism. Michelangelo’s works seem to contain many sculptures, but overall I still admire the pieces of art produced by him.

  46. Christiane Dolores says:

    Michelangelo to Raphael Powerpoint

    Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael are three of the “giants” of the High Renaissance. Which of these three artists do you prefer and why? I prefer Michelangelo because I believe his artistic view of painting is genius. I think his ability to create beautiful pieces, such as the huge painting on the Sistine Ceiling is amazing. Raphael is very realistic, whereas Michelangelo was able to create people in different ways. What I mean by that is Raphael created painting of people in a way that you would usually see them. However, Michelangelo created painting of them floating in the air, which is evident that he painted it from memory and from his imagination. That is why I like him better.

    What are your thoughts on High Renaissance painting versus sculpture—do you have a preference over mediums (painting versus sculpture) and why? I like painting more than sculpture, only because the sculptures seem to be no different than any other era.

  47. Michael Leary says:


    The work of art from Leonardo that intrigued me the most was The Mona Lisa. I’ve always been intrigued at the blank ambiguous expression on her face, and it always left me wondering just what she was thinking about or expressing at that moment. I think Leonardo definitely has a very unique style that he brings to the art world. Now I’m not very familiar with all his pieces, but the expressions he puts on the faces, to me, are just filled with ambiguity, and I always find that fascinating and intriguing.

    Michelangelo and Raphael:

    In terms of preference between the three “giants”, I actually don’t have a preference of one over the others. I find that they all bring their own special something to the art world, and I hold much appreciation for each artist for that. I will say though, if I had to choose one, I’d put more emphasis on Michelangelo, solely for what he accomplished with the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The genius that went into that art was just breathtaking, and I hold tons of respect for all the time and effort he put into creating something so beautiful.

    In choosing paintings over sculptures, I prefer paintings a little bit more than sculptures, mostly because I can relate to a painting more than sculptures. Having never done a sculpture, there’s nothing as personal for me as there is with a painting, which I’ve done a few in my life. Also, I think painters might have more to deal with in terms of not just what the main focus of the painting is, but also the background that helps to bring it out. With sculptures, all you really get is that figure, and the background just comes from something the artist didn’t really create.

    Superior Beings:

    While I agree that his beings are definitely different from our own physically, I don’t necessarily see how they are superior. Granted, as many have said here, his beings do hold a look akin to the Gods, but in the case of the image given here, The Captive, I see no difference between a regular person today going through a sort of “captivity”, and the man in the sculpture, despite being vastly different in the physical sense.

  48. Robin McKinney says:

    Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael

    I really like all three and I completely understand why they are considered legendary artist. I think I prefer Michelangelo. The detail in his art and the skill it took to paint the ceiling just amazes me. I enjoy the variety of paintings, but I also appreciate the hard work and incredible skill. I’m most impressed with the sculpture’s details. Working with such hard mediums and creating such intricate detail with the expressions and life like bodies captures my attention. I think I enjoy Raphael’s paintings more due to the clothing of body parts and the thought behind his work. I enjoyed his “School of Athens” painting and I definitely can see why they labeled Michelangelo as “inventor of obscenities”. I appreciate Michelangelo’s skill, but some of the characters in his paintings are a little too much for me, but his sculptures do not bother me. I enjoy the cleaner version of Raphael’s paintings; however, Michelangelo’s sculptures are my preference.

  49. Module-Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo

    In the comparison of all the three great artists I prefer Michelangelo. I prefer Michelangelo because I greatly enjoy all of his masterpieces. I believe that Michelangelo’s art is very detailed and painted to perfection. I do admire the other artists but the beauty of Michelangelo’s pieces bring me into them. I feel that with a look at his artwork you receive the message that he was trying to illustrate. I also admire the colors and soft textures that he is able to deliver with his works.
    I believe that high renaissance paintings are beautiful but I do not think that they over surpass the sculptures. I find both types of art beautiful and very respected. They both require a great amount of detailing and time consumption. I feel that they both have their own particular difficulty and expertise. I find both types of art beautiful and very admirable.

  50. Christiane Dolores says:

    Impressionism Powerpoint

    What are your initial thoughts on early modernist imagery? I think early modernist imagery is excellent. It was a great way to replace photographs when they did not exist at the time. I think the ability of artists to create realistic images of people is amazing.

    Which image in this PowerPoint learning module made the strongest impression on you and why to you think/believe you were moved or touched by the artist’s expressive hand? Degas “Stage Rehearsal.” This one made the strongest impression on me because, although I am not a ballerina, it gave you the sense and feeling of how it’s like to be a ballerina. When comparing it to Ballet Rehearsal, you really see the difference in the mood. Degas uses darker colors in Stage Rehearsal to show the impact of that event. Ballet Rehearsal seems to be in a lighter mood, but Stage Rehearsal shows the stress and scariness one might feel before a show.

    Which image left you unmoved and why do you think that was your response? Try to be specific here in your feelings. I probably felt the most unmoved by Monet’s “Poplar Trees,” only because I don’t feel any sense of emotion and I just see trees – that’s all.

  51. Christiane Dolores says:

    I agree with Reynold’s notion. Michelangelo was a brilliant sculptor and unlike anyone before or after him. When comparing his sculptures to those of Donatello or Verrocchio, one can see the difference in how amazing Michelangelo is as an artist. He shows us strong men through his sculptures, and nothing in those that were sculpted, can really be seen today in our own.

  52. Eason Dong says:

    I cannot agree with Sir Reynold’s notion this time. Michelangelo’s art work is master piece for sure. However, I can still see the humanity behind his work. The art work maybe superior than other human’s work. However, the human he bulit is the exact same as we are. As matter of fact, I would say Michelangelo is a superior order of beings.

  53. Margaret de la Rosa says:

    Module Response- Leonardo

    The work of art made by Leonardo that I found most intriguing was The Last Supper. Being a believer in Christ, I was really drawn to how he depicted this scene in the Bible. Body language is a big part of this piece as it helps tell a story of what is going on. If I had been someone who had no previous knowledge of the Last Supper or had no religious background, I think I would still be able to make out what was happening in the painting. The facial expressions of both Jesus and his apostles explain clearly the sentiments of the situation. It’s almost like you could feel the tension at the table as if you were actually present. As far as comparing Leonardo with other artists of his time, he brings a style that is a little different than the other two greats. I noticed that his use of color is more subdued and the hues are softer. The way he paints is also more conservative as opposed to the others. Michelangelo wasn’t afraid to uncensor his works and really brought the human body to life.

  54. Asia Polee says:

    I disagree with Sir Reynold’s notion. I believe that Michelangelo’s interpretation of the human figure is quite beautiful, real and raw of the physical human body in every form of the disfigurement of the blocked pieces. Although the carving piece may appear as if it is unfinished the deformity gives a message of a soul being trapped as a captive slave in the form of the decaying body.

    Learning Module: Leonardo
    The work of art by Leonardo that intrigued me the most was the Mona Lisa. Even though the composition appears simple in it’s pyramid form I love the relaxed pose and the alluring gaze. Leonardo is definitely considered one of the “great” artists. His style will live on as legendary. Today his famous work of the Mona Lisa still attracts flocks of admirers who try to solve the mysterious Mona Lisa smile, and the muse behind the portrait. These are some of the mysterious puzzles that still we can’t even solve today.

    Learning Module: Michelangelo to Raphael
    I prefer Michelangelo’s work over the other two artists because all his paintings, architecture and sculptures are impressive, especially piece of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The Sistine Chapel is intricate and detailed just like his sculpture of “David” which exudes and demands perfection. In addition I find that the sculpture art work to be unique and sustains originality versus the Renaissance paintings. I prefer Michelangelo’s sculptures over the other two artists work. Raphael’s paintings appear beautiful and pristine but lack the attraction that Michelangelo gives in his sculptures.

  55. Sela Tuamoheloa says:

    Michelangelo did make his people very godlike. Not only did they seem perfect but they were all larger than the average human. I think this was done intentionally to separate them from humans and display that he did believe the gods to be superior.

    • Sela Tuamoheloa says:

      I also prefer Leonardo’s work over Raphael and Michelangelo. He seemed the most versatile and created beautiful art in any medium he tried. I also prefer paintings to sculpture because I feel you can add so much more aethetically by being able to capture the exact view of what you want people to see in a painting.

  56. Kevin Stratton says:

    I disagree with Reynolds quote. I think that Michelangelo’s sculptures are some what different but they really do resemble us as a race. The bodies look different because of the weird poses he would create. The body parts are all normal and detail is magnificent. Michelangelo really studied the anatomy of the human body because all of his sculptures have a great deal of detail that accentuate the human body and the muscles. The sculptures are human like but they also have a slight god like resemblance. Michelangelo might have created these sculptures to show people what he thought the perfect human being might have looked like.

  57. Eason Dong says:

    Learning Module: Leonardo
    I actually like John the Baptist, 1514 the most. I think this picture is more vivid and clear compare to the Mona Lisa. I will rank Leonardo Da Vinci the highest among all the other aritsts we have analyzed. I think the first reason is obviously Leonardo is great. His art is modern and clear compare to others is also the reason.

    Learning module: Michelangelo and Rapheal.
    I like Michelangelo the best among the Big Three. I like him because his church work. I just feel it is amazing that a man can paint the whole thing on the top of a church.
    I prefer painting more than the sculpture. I think painting is much more easy to understand and can be spread much more easier than the sculpture. There are different skill sets involved in both of them and they are both great.

  58. […] part of the fascination. Often I  see something like what Michelangelo conveyed in his unfinished Captives, a wrestling with the constraints and obstacles of physical life–every flower and vegetable […]

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