Leonardo Da Vinci , Michelangelo and Vermeer and the 17th century Masters
have been the subjects of blockbuster news in recent times. A LEONARDO portrait of Jesus set an auction record of 450 million dollars ; an exhibition of MICHELANGELO'S drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York brought record-breaking crowds ( this has been called the number one art event of 2017-2018 ) ; another major exhibition recently closed at The National Gallery of Art in Washington D C entitled VERMEER and the MASTERS OF GENRE PAINTING. ( also in the top three of major art shows of 2017-18 )
All of these artists are Masters of drawing and painting . What makes them Masters?
Their art is based on Nature ; the depiction of the human form was considered to be the highest achievement of art from the age of Phidias in Classical Greece which later enjoyed a rebirth during the Renaissance and continued through the 17th century . Beauty , another important quality of Classical Art and a word banished from the art scene even today , was extremely important then.
STANDARDS in the Craft as well as in the creation of drawings, paintings and sculptures existed for centuries . A rigorous study of Form , Light , Composition , Color , Anatomy and so forth was required of the art student . If they weren't capable of understanding and applying these principles ( as they were also learning to " see " ) , then they were advised to do something else with their lives. As I mentioned above, the study of the CRAFT of painting was just as important as the ART. Craft meant knowing how to prepare panels and canvases ( choosing the best quality materials ), grinding pigments with oils prepared by hand , making paint brushes , making varnishes from scratch , making their own charcoal to draw with as well as digging the finest earth deposits for their drawing tools and paints. They made their own papers as well.
So the Classical or TIMELESS approach is why the work of these artists continues to capture our imagination. Their paintings exhibit a richness of color and depth that can only be achieved by these principles and methods . A very small number of artists , including myself, working today embrace these concepts and techniques in creating their own timeless pieces.
Below are Leonardo's Salvator Mundi , a Vermeer and a painting by Frans Van Mieris.
Classical artist,James Sulkowski , in his art studio in Houston,Pa