Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Lady with an Ermine" ? ? ?

This is an odd painting by Leonardo da Vinci, circa. 1490. It's entitled "Lady with an Ermine". I don't know what attracted me to feature this as one of my own "oh so elaborate, in-depth, life-changing elaborate art evaluations". Perhaps it's that I feel as if Leonardo had a sense of a humor whilst commissioning this piece. I like to imagine him painting this and thinking "Maiiiinnnn. This woman be crazy, holdin a ermine and makin me paint her and dat nasty thang."----- What even is an ermine? Google time. Oh. It's a weasel. Why is she holding a weasel? 15th century women are crazy. Oh. Now to get to the elements and principles of art hidden within this exhilarating portrait. Oh, they're in there, hiding in the ermine's eyes, no doubt.. Just look in those eyes... Gaze deep... Deeper... Deeper. Ah. There's that life-changing experience. Now you can go around and tell people you've stared into the eyes of an ermine.... Let's study little leo's painting now! Okay, here's the analysis of the principles and elements. So one thing that I've noticed and am surprised immensely by... is Leonardo's use of line, shape/form, space/perspective, or rather, lack thereof. He seems to do quite well, no surprise there, on the colors and values of the woman's clothes. He follows the contours and records them very well... Every shadow, every crevice of them, recorded with the need of a shadow or highlight. He clearly understands how to paint a value scale. Notice how he paints her skin, and how he also tries to apply this process to it as well. It's not as detailed and precise as the clothing, though. Now notice how he applies this detail on the ermine as well.  However... Look at the woman again. There are some trivial details that I deem... Unexpected... from Da Vinci. First, look at her headband. There is no use of perspective there. It is simply a straight line across her forehead and her hair. It doesn't follow her head, or curve to imply that her head is round. IT ISN'T FLAT, LEO! While you're near her head, also, notice the unibrow looking thing. (What?) Second, notice her hair. He uses the correct value on it, yes, but THERE'S NO LINE. It simply looks like a giant blob to me. If he had used line on her hair with that use of value, it would have created a wonderful example of implied texture. Another thing I noticed... He didn't use perspective or form/shape on her necklace correctly, either. It looks like he simply painted circles on her neck. There isn't enough emphasis on the value to manipulate it to look like a sphere. While we're at it, look at the background. Black? Feeling depressed today, Da Vinci?
All in all, I think leo coulda stepped up his game on this a bit. Come on leo. Get serious, bruh. I don't care if she's holding an ermine and you can't help from laughing.

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