Museum Essay- Art Comparison

Assignment preparation:

Go to the Getty Center and find

The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne in the North Pavilion 204 (from the workshop of Leonardo). Photograph yourself with the painting or get a dated proof of visit from the front desk (submit this with your paper). Then spend at least one hour looking at the painting and comparing it to the original Virgin and St. Anne by Leonardo in the Louvre and the Burlington House cartoon in the National Gallery in London (bring an ipad or laptop with a color image of the original painting in the Louvre and the cartoon in London for the purposes of visual comparison). One might say that copying is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is the case, what can we learn from the copy? Can it tell us what 16th c. viewers found compelling in Leonardo’s work? Make a list of all the changes the copy makes to the original. Do they seem random or on purpose? How do the original painting and cartoon reflect Leonardo’s powers of observation and curiosity about natural phenomena? Think about his use and observation of light, his approach to rendering and understanding the landscape, his interest in psychological states and relationships, his approach to composition. Now compare these to the copy. What things are changed or the same in the copy? Is the rendering of light handled in the same way? The landscape? What has the artist added or subtracted from the original? Why (do you think)?

Final assignment:

Write a 3 page, double-spaced paper comparing the Getty copy to the original in the Louvre, and explain how and why we can tell that the Getty painting is not by the hand of Leonardo by citing and analyzing specific details in the paintings (you can also refer to the Burlington cartoon). Use the readings from class (Brown and Goffen) and class lectures to back up your comparison. In addition, an excerpt on the St. Anne cartoon and painting from the Louvre exhibition catalogue will be available on Canvas for further reading. Sources can be referred to in your paper with MLA in- text style citations—i.e. (Goffen, 35)—with bibliography at the end.

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