Born April 15, 1452 in the Tuscan hill town of Vinci, was born with no surname his full name being “Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci”, meaning “Leonardo, son of (Mes)ser Piero from Vinci.” Little is known of Leonardo’s early up bringing besides him spending his first five years of life in the household of his father, grandparents and uncle, Francesco, in the small town of Vinci. His father had married a sixteen-year-old girl named Albiera, who admired and loved Leonardo but died an early death having a strong impact on him. Another thing to know about Leonardo to help you understand his early art is that Court records of 1476 show that Leonardo along three other young men were charged with sodomy, and there are no records of his whereabouts for the year to follow.
Leonardo received an informal education in Latin, geometry and mathematics. People spoke of Leonardo’s personality ,imagination and level of intelligence as super human. Leonardo’s self-portrait exhibits many aspects of the principles of design. Leonardo used red colored chalk to illustrate himself he has also used small consistent line strokes on the beard to give it a melting like texture, rounding shape that complements the top of his head and it gives the portrait movement while the corresponding lines of the beard give it rhythm, also his clever way of shading gives the painting balance and symmetry because he has shaded the left side very dark and leaves the right side with a very light shading making his balance give off tension. Leonardo gives his eyes dominance in the photo by heavily darkening them in and the details around grabbing the interest of the viewer. The overlapping lines in Leonardo’s beard seem to create a sense of unity making the whole facial structure blend together. Varity is not used much here in my opinion because of how well the portrait is balanced the only example I can find of Varity is the spacing of shading in his beard.
I believe the underline purpose of this self-portrait is to show Leonardo’s wisdom in his late age. He shows this by drawing attention to his beard giving off the image of sophistication and wisdom given the fact beards we’re not common in the renaissance era. I also think Leonardo is trying to illustrate a dark and light side to him, as well as demonstrating he has become old and weathered by his shading choices symmetrically and in his eyes.
Grant Wood the son of a Midwest farmer and one of Americas greatest artist was born in 1891 just ten years after his birth grant woods father unexpectedly passed away leaving Grant, his mother and three siblings based in Cedar Rapids in 1901 a very urban environment. After a few years Grant moved to Chicago where he took evening classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he also served in the U.S. military designing camouflage until his mother fell ill in 1919. he returned to his family in Cedar Rapids and became a grammar school teacher in order to support her and his younger sister. In 1920 grant traveled to Paris for the summer and would be in and out of Paris until his last exhibition there in 1926. In 1932 the year he created the original the self-portrait I chose Grant Opened Stone City Colony and Art School which stayed open for two summers.
By 1939 one year before Grant goes back and depicts the overalls in his portrait into a V-necked blue shirt he Divorces his wife Sara Maxon Wood. In this finished self-portrait Grant uses very realistic lining to depict himself. He also uses very dull and calm colors to depict his mid-western back round with an almost dotted texture to really give the portrait unity and blend well. Grant does a good job of balancing his photo by putting a windmill in the far right side of the portrait. The portrait has little movement besides the lining of his shirt and the back ground of what seems to be fields. Grant uses color to give his shirt dominance and slightly changes the coloring of the fields to create some variety for the portrait.
Grant wanted to leave an image of himself, not as a regionalist, nor as a farmer, but first as an artist, more complex than his regionalist rhetoric would account for. His gaze in this painting is direct and severe; there is none of the inviting friendliness of his publicity photographs in overalls. Grant chose to show a mix of modernism with the grogginess of the mid-west for his self-portrait a perfect way to describe him. Grant no longer appears to be either defending or representing the mid-Western landscape stretching out behind him. In this portrait, he is fully the artist: a watcher, interpreter, and teller of tales, both a part of and apart from his subject matter.
After writing about these two portraits I was personally captivated by Grant woods work because of his ability to perfectly captivate the Midwest. I was disappointed with Leonardo’s portrait because of the lack of information about it and detail but yet still somewhat impressed with how captivating the simplicity of it was. Both portraits do a great job of truly expressing how the artist wanted to be perceived in my opinion both of these portraits are very good at mixing a dark, bland, gloominess with sophistication.