John Keaton

By: John Keaton


“And my aim in my life is to make pictures and drawings, as many and as well as I can; then, at the end of my life, I hope to pass away, looking back with love and tender regret, and thinking, 'Oh, the pictures I might have made!'"

-Vincent Van Gogh, Letter 338, 9 November 1883

In the annals of art history, there is no comparison to the enduringly tragic and passionate life of Vincent Van Gogh. His works have been embraced and are treasured by a world which once scarcely understood or accepted this tragic and tortured genius.
The beauty of his remarkably prolific career lies in the intensity and conviction of heart, which he placed in his images. His works remain etched and embossed within our subconscious and still linger in our minds long after this tormented soul’s dramatic departure from this life.
Born March 30, 1853, Vincent Wilhelm Van Gogh’s young life was overshadowed by the death of a brother exactly one year prior to Vincent’s birth. Ironically, the brother’s name was also Vincent. Imagine the confusion of a meditative young boy dealing with the concept of being a replacement child and actually visiting a grave on a regular basis bearing his name. Nevertheless, the mournful and desolate countryside of Vincent’s birthplace in Groot-Zundert, Holland became the nurturing source and breeding ground for Van Gogh’s intense exploration of nature and the world around him.
His favorite brother was Theo, who became and remained a beacon of hope, support and encouragement throughout Van Gogh’s entire life. They were kindred spirits and their eloquent and tender correspondences (over 700 letters) are thoroughly archived as a living testimony to their symbiotic closeness.
In May of 1873, Vincent was sent to London to work at the Goupil Gallery as a young art salesman, where he began to explore and developed an appreciation for art of all sorts. While there he met a young woman named Ursula Loyer of whom Vincent became completely enamored and proposed marriage. Ursula mocked him and refused his advances with nothing short of contempt for the 21-year-old Van Gogh.
This disappointment, the basis of a lifetime of isolation and despair, became an awe-consuming event which shattered his expectations of a “normal life” While this may seem a childish exaggeration, this pattern of rejection was to repeat itself many times over the course of Vincent’s Life and influence his perception of the world around him.

The Emerging Artist: Nuenen

While speculation on Van Gogh’s personal life, emotional and physical troubles could fill volumes; we will focus on his art. This is best achieved by concentrating on the specific regions in which Van Gogh lived and worked and his reasons for being there, as opposed to a lengthy analysis of his coming and goings. Van Gogh did travel quite extensively for someone of his stature and class, but more relevant are the images themselves, which were created in a certain area at a significant point in his artistic growth.

The son of a Dutch protestant minister, Vincent’s early life was spent studying theology and acting as lay preacher for the miners of the region. Herein lies his fascination with common folk and workers of the lands and fields.
In one of the artist’s earliest works entitled Sorrow, the trials and tribulations of life take on an overwhelming somber tone.

In his first truly serious painting, The Potato Eaters, painted in Nuenen in April of 1885, we see a poverty stricken world with characters neatly sculpted in sharp, deep tones of thickly applied oil paint. It was during this stage of the artist’s development that the themes of the harvest and character studies of the miners took priority. The 192 canvases painted during this period are portraits of courage and dignity in spite of oppressive poverty and depressive circumstances.

"The point is that I have tried to bring out the idea that these people eating potatoes by the light of their lamp have dug the earth with the self-same hands they are now putting into the dish, and it thus suggests manual labor and -- a meal honestly earned."

-Vincent Van Gogh, Letter to Theo, c. 30 April 1885

Antwerp : Academic Reinforcement

During Van Gogh’s brief stay in the city of Antwerp, he attended the Academic Royale des Beaux Art. Although he painted only seven paintings during his three month tenure, the focus was on academic precision and it’s inclusion in the refinement of his art and technique. Arising from his studies of anatomy and the human figure, Van Gogh produced this rather startling macabre image entitled, Skull with Burning Cigarette. Perhaps Vincent was reflecting on his own ill health at the time with complaints of rotting teeth and stomach ailments.

Paris : Pivotal Artistic Exploration

In 1886 Vincent moved to Paris to stay with his brother Theo, now an art dealer. This period of Vincent’s life is remarkable in Van Gogh’s exposure to new art movements and his willingness to experiment and apply these new concepts to his own creations. Influenced by the Impressionists, his palette became much lighter and the colors more brilliant. Other influences include Japanese prints with their flat, decorative panels of color, which were highly popular at the time. Vincent incorporated many of these new influences in this incredibly vibrant stage of his life and career.
The painting Interior of a Restaurant with its speckles of yellow, gold and green, clearly displays the influence of Divisionism and even Pointillism, a technique developed by George Seurat. During his stay in Paris, Van Gogh met and associated with many of the premiere impressionists of his day, among them, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissaro, Seurat and of Course, Gauguin. Upon viewing Vincent’s work for the first time, Gauguin remarked, “You really do paint like a madman!”

This incident took place in an art supply store, which was run by Pere Tanguy, who also displayed paintings and considered himself an art dealer. Van Gogh’s Portrait of Pere Tanguy. is of special interest with the colorful Japanese prints and woodcuts, which profoundly influenced Vincent’s work at the time, that form the background of this unique portrait.

Painted in the late summer months of 1887, the painting, Two Cut Sunflowers, is particularly striking. Vincent’s fascination with the vivid yellow of these huge flowers is well known. The intensity of the color is only matched with Van Gogh’s seemingly manic strokes. During his stay in Paris, Vincent painted 222 paintings, many of which are considered masterpieces. Rural scenes of the area, numerous self-portraits and landscapes of the city itself are the subjects of Vincent’s incredible outpour of vivacious and enchanting imagery.

Arles : A New Hope Turns Tragic

Arriving in Arles on February 20, 1888, Vincent had most certainly hoped that the light of provence would inspire his work and raise his artistic abilities to a new, creative plateau. By this point, the plein-air painting he had explored along with the influence of impressionism and the japonaisse elements he utilized were fused and became, certainly without his own realization, the style that would become distinctly “Vincent “

The Sower, painted in June of 1888, displays a return to one of Van Gogh’s favorite motifs, and his lifelong fascination with the work of Millet. At one point, Vincent painted seven copies of the Sower in one week. Here in Arles, the Sower takes on a majestic quality with the brilliant sun blazing across the fields with a divine intensity.

It is a well know fact that Vincent could not afford to hire models for his paintings and very often painted himself. No fewer than 35 of these portraits exist, certainly more self-portraits than any artist had ever painted.

They are intriguing, not merely for the versatility of style, but also because they provide insight into Vincent’s state of mind at the particular point of time in which they were created.
The Self Portrait with Pipe and Straw Hat was painted in August of 1888. In my view, it is a charming portrayal of the artist’s optimism and hope for a productive, creative period of his life. There is a sense of peace and renewal evident in his face and in the simple, yet confident brush strokes.

Vincent’s intention in Arles was to create a colony of artists in the southern provincial city. The Painter, Paul Gauguin joined him for a brief time on this artistic excursion of pure expression. Their time together proved to be short-lived however, as their temperaments were vastly different.
While boarding at the yellow house, a bizarre incident occurred which was to mark the end of their relationship. In an atmosphere fueled by alcohol and Vincent’s delusional tantrums, the two personalities clashed, an argument ensued, and Van Gogh cut off a portion of his ear and delivered it to a prostitute named Rachel.

Much has been written regarding this episode and some of the facts have been misconstrued by dramatic interpretations. It is clear that Vincent suffered from both visual and aural hallucinations and that he also partook heavily in the drinking of absinthe, a highly potent mixture, with the same effects as opium. More than likely, the combination of all these elements, along with Vincent’s damaged self-esteem and string of emotional disappointments, led to this bizarre act.
Of the 187 Painting created in Arles, many are Vincent’s best loved works. The painting, Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, is considered the best of five different versions of the scene. Vincent was so pleased with the work that he wrote highly detailed letters describing the painting: “In a word, looking at the picture ought to rest the brain, or rather the imagination.”

The unusual forced perspective of the room with its slanted back wall is in fact a contradiction to Vincent’s intended vision. Once again we see a composition influenced by Vincent’s preoccupation with Asian art, some prints of which can be seen on the walls. The room grows narrow and perhaps reflect Van Gogh’s sense of isolation and an attempt to record some sense of order in a world of lonely chaos.

“I feel the desire to renew myself and to try to apologize for the fact that my pictures are after all almost a cry of anguish, although in the rustic sunflower they may symbolize gratitude.”

-Vincent Van Gogh, Letter to Wil, Letter W20
c.20 February 1890

After Van Gogh’s self mutilation episode on a December Sunday in 1888, the young surgeon, Doctor Felix Rey, was placed in charge of Vincent’s care. Perhaps as a token of his appreciation, Van Gogh immortalized the doctor in a portrait in January 1889.

By this point the citizens of Arles had registered a formal complaint against Van Gogh and considered him a threat to the stability and security of their peaceful community.
Doctor Rey’s parents were so mortified by the portrait that they actually used the painting to patch up a hole in their chicken coop. Some twenty years later, Rey rescued the painting which now resides in the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Art in Moscow.

Saint-Remy: The Elation of Heightened Nature

Perhaps realizing the seriousness of his own mental deterioration, Van Gogh voluntarily committed himself to a mental asylum in Saint-Remy de Provence in May of 1889. This was to be one of the most difficult years of his life, ironically though, and in the true spirit of this gifted artist, it was also to be one of Vincent’s most productive periods. Despite being at times completely incapacitated and at battle with his own horrific demons, Van Gogh created some of the most enduring images of all time. We see them now, and they appear to us as old friends. Stars and Trees, etched upon our conscious. This is perhaps Vincent’s greatest gift to us: The depth of his passion transformed through the tragedy of madness into visions that transcend time and space and become tangible visual icons of the human experience.

In this enchanting work, there is a rolling energy as stars explode across the cool blue sky while wild cypress trees rise like flames from the tiny hamlet created entirely from imagination and memory. Considering the popularity of this exquisite painting, let’s take a look at a drawing of the very same composition from Moscow’s Museum of Architecture.

During his convalescence, Van Gogh created no less than 142 paintings from May of 1889 to May of 1890. An ardent admirer of Eugene Delacroix and Rembrandt, he painted his own unique interpretations of their works. Perhaps sensing his own demise, the tormented artist reinterpreted Delacroix’s Pieta. A compelling work, Vincent’s Pieta, is one of compassion and expresses a return to the religious roots of his childhood. The image of Christ being taken down from the cross is much lighter in color than the heavier, more classically influenced work of Delacroix. Nevertheless the emotion and power of expression are clearly evident.

The Painting, Road with Cypress and Stars, is nearly a companion piece to Starry Night. There is a bit of human activity in the foreground and we even see a carriage with two passengers on the far left. The Cypress Tree is the main focus with its turbulent fiery presence in front a blazing sky.
The chisel-like brushwork and amplified surface texture had become hallmarks of Vincent’s work by this time. This was to be one of Van Gogh’s last paintings at the Asylum in Saint Remy.
Upon the advice of his brother, Theo, Vincent moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, a small village north of Paris. Here he was placed under the care of the Flemish Doctor Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, a sixty two year old specialist in mental illness. While Gachet’s competency was questionable, the situation of Van Gogh’s increasingly tragic sense of melancholy called for some drastic measure. An avid admirer of Vincent’s work, Dr. Gachet was thoroughly delighted with his Portrait.
In more recent years, The Portrait of Dr. Gachet fetched an astounding 82.5 Million Dollars at Christie’s Auction House in New York, the highest price ever paid for a painting.
An image of turbulent vitality and vividly colored anguish, Wheat Fields With Crows is considered Van Gogh’s last painting. While this may or not be true, the painting is explosive and there is a terrific atmosphere of an ominous and even sinister nature.

Armed with a revolver, Van Gogh shot himself on the afternoon of July 27, 1890. Two days later, Vincent died with his brother Theo and Paul Gachet, the doctor’s son at his side. Leaving behind a tormented and emotionally disastrous past fraught with despair and sorrow, Vincent Van Gogh’s artistic contribution is unrivalled in its emotional complexity and the sheer power of a tormented soul’s creative capacity.

An Overview

In the course of his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh created a veritable treasure trove of artwork. Over 1000 Drawings, 870 Paintings, 150 Watercolors and more than 133 letter sketches form the body of his vast accomplishments as an artist. The majority of these works were done within a period of four years from 1886 to 1890. Barely recognized during his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh is now recognized as one of the world’s greatest and most influential Artists.

Website References:

The Vincent Van Gogh Gallery:

(This website is the absolute definitive source on all things Van Gogh. The site provides a comprehensive overview on Van Gogh’s life and work and is also endorsed by the Van Gogh Museum of Amsterdam)


Van Gogh By Pierre Cabanne
Copyright by Finest S.A.
Editions Pierre Terrail
Paris 2003

Living with Art
By Rita Gilbert
Copyright 1995 by Rita Gilbert
McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Van Gogh
By Rene Huyghe
Crown Publishers, Inc. New York
Printed in Italy
Copyright 1967 by Ufficipress
S.A. Lugano

By Kenneth Clark
Published by the BBC
Copyright 1969 by Kenneth Clark

ART: Context and Criticism
By John Kissick
Penn State University
Copyright 1993
By Wm. C. Brown Communications




Article Source:

By: John Keaton


(Fame, Mass Media, Consumerism and Death)

Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928, Andy Warhol was destined to change the world of art forever.

Upon his graduation, he moved to New York where he worked as an illustrator for publications such as The New Yorker, Vogue , and Harpers Bazaar. He also created window displays for several prominent retail stores at this time. It is perhaps during these years that he developed his keen sense of style and realized the power of image and media manipulation. Throughout the 1950s, Warhol was one of New York City's leading commercial artists, and he received numerous awards and accolades for his work.

He held his first solo show at The Hugo Gallery in 1952 and a group show at The Museum of Modern Art in 1956.

In 1961, Warhol created his first series of silkscreens with images of Campbells Soup Cans. The Pop Art Movement thrived on presenting seemingly banal, everyday objects and giving them a monumental importance, Warhol was simply making society aware of it's own obsessions. The silkscreen process enabled silk-screen mass-produced multiple images with a seemingly endless array of color and compositional variances. Consumerism, one of Warhol's central themes, was evident in many of the works produced at this time. Coca-Cola bottles, Brillo Boxes and Dollar Bills took on a life of their own. The silkscreen technique and the iconic treatment of Products as Art made Andy a star.

Warhol's next thematic breakthrough was the Death and Disaster Series. Works depicting car accidents, Electric Chairs, and racial Riots. The heavily manipulated photographs, repeated over and over again, imply through their multiplicity that society is merely a silent witness to everyday horrors and that death, is simply another aspect of life to be reckoned with. The public's reaction to these works was not exactly all-embracingly positive and at the advice of Henry Geldzahler, Warhol's Art Dealer, he produced a less threatening series of Flower Prints.

In the years between 1962 to 1964, Andy altered his concentration and celebration of iconic images to include famous personalities and focused on the allure and mystique of Fame. It was at this point that he created the now legendary Series of Marilyns, Jackies, and Elvis paintings, at his studio known as The Factory.
By this time, Andy Warhol had become a world famous artist. He held exhibits at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, The Leo Castilli Gallery, and as far away as The Moderna Museet in Stockholm. He produced works at an amazing rate and baffled many with his uncanny ability to choose images that literally became instant icons. Warhol erased the lines between Fine and Commercial Art and forced the world to consider a new perspective that it, subconsciously, had already embraced.


" When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums."

" In the Future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes."

" I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They're beautiful. Everybody's plastic, but I love plastic.I want to be plastic."

" I want to be a machine."

The Factory was Andy's art and experimental film studio, where he and his entourage of self-proclaimed "Superstars" produced over 300 experimental and pornographic films. The Studio was far more than simply an artist's atelier. It was THE meeting place for artists, musicians, and actors. The atmosphere was a non-stop party where ideas, rock and roll, drugs, sex and art mingled. In 1968, Warhol was shot two to three times by a fanatical woman,Valerie Solanis, who claimed at her arrest that "He had too much control over my Life." The truth of the matter was that he had ignored her and her radical organization, SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men). This near fatal attack changed Warhol and his Art. His artistic response to this episode, The Skulls and The Shadow Series reflected an interplay between printing and Painting.

Moving away from the repitition of Iconic Figures, Andy's work focused on singular Portraits of the Rich and affluent. The silkscreen was still utilized but with a far more expressionistic quality and singularity. Some of his subjects were Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Liza Minelli and the like.

In the early Seventies Warhol began publishing Interview magazine. he also wrote the autobiographical The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and back again). He continued to produce numerous Portraits of celebrities and members of the European elite. The phenomenally priced portraits photographed in Europe, were often produced by Warhol's assistants at the factory with Andy's long distance artistic "direction". His subjects in the late eighties, Mao-tse-Tung and The Endangered Species Series continued to confound,delight and shock art lovers with his always new and ever expanding catalog of colorful images.

During the last years of his life, Warhol began a series of collaborations and promotions with a whole new generation of artists, among them, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Harring, and Francisco Clemente.

Interestingly, these were all younger contemporaries of Andy's that were carrying on his tradition of artistic revolution. On Febuary 22 ,1987, Warhol succumbed to heart failure, and as a consequence of a badly executed gall bladder operation. The assassination attempt of 1968 had finally taken it's toll on the physically fragile artist. In 1989, an exhibit was organized by The Museum of Modern Art, encompassing the largest retrospective exhibit of his works to that date. in May of 1994, the Andy Warhol Museum opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Andy Warhol's influence on 20th Century Art cannot be denied. His perception, exploration and experimentation in the field of Visual Arts is unmatched. There is hardly an Artist today that is not touched in some way by his thematic and cultural accomplishments and vision. In accordance with his will, he provided a considerable endowment Fund for Art Education and Patronage, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

" Andy Warhol looks a scream, hang him on my wall. Andy Warhol, Silver Screen, can't tell them apart at all."
- David Bowie, Hunky Dory, 1971

Websites of Interest:
The Andy Warhol Museum
The Andy Warhol Foundation for The Visual Arts
Andy warhol Prints

This Article Text © 2005 by John Keaton . All Rights Reserved.



Article Source:

By; John Keaton



Heaven smiled and he was born Da Vinci, Leonardo. The impact and resonance of his contribution to humanity is not measurable in mere mortal terms. Driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge, his life's work is an awe inspiring synthesis of art, science and technology.

How is it that a figure who lived nearly five centuries ago, continues to fascinate and engage our interest today? With the recent discovery of a studio of a Da Vinci's that had been sealed for centuries and the ongoing debate regarding the true origin of the alleged Da Vinci Code, time again has resurrected and revitalized interest in perhaps the greatest thinker of all time.

Born the illegitimate son of a notary, Leonardo was born in 1452 in a small farmhouse in Anchiano. In 1457 he moved to Vinci where he stayed with his fathers family even though he was never legitimized. At the age of 14 Leonardo moved to Florence to begin an apprenticeship in the workshop of Verrocchio. At the time, Andrea del Verrochio was the most famous artist in Florence. During his tenure with Verrocchio, Leonardo learned the mixing of colors and painted simple parts of paintings. In June, 1472, Leonardo was listed as a member of the Painters Guild of Florence.

The Annunciation

The Annunciation, painted in 1480-1481, now hangs in the Louvre. It is a small painting with a deep and misty landscape with highly detailed flowers in the foreground very typical of Leonardo's style during his time in Florence.


By far one of the most famous paintings of all time, the Last Supper was painted between 1495 and 1498 at the Santa Maria delle Grazie Monastery in Milan. This biblical scene, commissioned by the Friars of Saint Dominic is significant for it's incredible composition and the subtle emotional interplay between the apostles. Featuring great dexterity and mastery of the human form, this compelling work is at once a moving testament to Christianity and a marvel of DaVinci's virtuosity and technical finesse as a painter. This painting firmly establishes Leonardo's position as the supreme master artist of the high renaissance. At all times, Christ is the central focus of the scene. This is accomplished by placing Christ in the center of the painting and by placing all of the spatial lines and perspective points within the framework of the painting to draw the viewer to the very center of the tableau. The apostles are in fact supporting characters and each and every figure is majestically formed to frame and enhance the focus on the Christ figure. The years surrounding the period in which the Last Supper was painted were periods of intense anatomical studies for Da Vinci. It is a well known fact that Leonardo dissected cadavers in order to fully understand the complex workings of the muscles and inner workings of the human body. Of huge importance is to understand that the individual apostles are reacting to Christ’s announcement that a traitor is among them. This is the very heart of this timeless, enduring image. The “Pathos” of each figure is brilliantly executed through gestures and reactions that reveal each apostle's individual astonishment, disbelief, and fear. Certainly one of the worlds most widely copied paintings, The Last Supper has greatly deteriorated over the years. This was due to Da Vinci's experimentation with pigments and the natural time-related decay. Initial conservation efforts date back to the early 18th century. The more recent restorations lasted twenty years concluding in June 1999.


Began in 1503, the Mona Lisa was a commissioned portrait of the Florentine nobleman, Francesco di Bartolommeo di Zanobi de Giocondo's third wife, Lisa di Antonio Maria di Noldo Gjerardini at the age of twenty four. Painted on poplar wood, the iconic imagery of the Mona Lisa is so ingrained into western culture that the enigmatic smile of the mysterious woman is nearly synonomous with art, itself. As with many of da Vinci's works, this painting has a stunning history. The allure and myth of the work Is matched with the technical and artistic virtuosity of the piece. The sublety of the magnificent smile, the richly layered and highly detailed background are hallmarks of a process known as sfumato. Utilizing layers and layers of glazes, the illusion of depth is achieved. This technique, highly developed by the Dutch masters, was adopted and perfected to such a degree by Leonardo that it became a Da Vinci trademark. Another fine example of sfumato is The Virgin of The Rocks (1484) National Gallery, London.

The original Mona Lisa was actually larger than the present 77 x 53 cm. Originally, there were two columns one on each side of the figure which made it much clearer that the young woman is seated on a terrace. Leonardo worked on Mona Lisa for 4 years and kept the painting himself. Some believe that he was simply unable to part with it. Nine years later, arriving in France, the painting was in his baggage, and was sold to King Francis I. Amboise, Fountainbleau, Versailles, Ludwig XIV's collection and the Louvre were all homes to this alluring masterpiece. Napolean removed the painting from the Louvre and hung it in his bedroom. Upon his banishment to Elba, the Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre.

In 1911, the painting was stolen by an italian art thief. Ironically, two years later, the Mona Lisa resurfaced in Florence, the city of its true origin! Eventually the painting made it's way back to the Louvre. In the 60s and 70's, The Mona Lisa was exhibited in New York, Tokyo and Moscow. Today the masterpiece is in permanent residence in the Louvre and international law prohibits any foreign exhibition.


In addition to Leonardo's extraodinary contributions to the world of art, his powers of divine intellect led him to explore many other fields of endeavor. The renaissance was the period in which science and art blended together in the search for the purest, logical, and analytical observation of nature. The Homo - Vitruvianus by Da Vinci is a study of proportions with the human figure inscribed in a circle and a square is a superb example of this philosophy and the period's quest for scientific analysis.

Leonardo again placed himself at the forefront of this new age of reason and intellect. His commitment to observation of the human body is unsurpassed and included skeletal and muscle studies, respiratory and digestive systems and the evolution of the fetus within the womb. The collection of Leonardo's anatomical studies consist of roughly two hundred folios and are kept at the Royal Library at Windsor, England. Additionally daVinci's vast study of nature include the action of light, the growth of plants and the flow of water.


Considering the scope and vision of Leonardo's power of expression and the multitude of interests that inspired and intrigued him, it would be next to impossible to list them all. His spirit of scientific inquiry coupled with a daring and inventive mind allowed him to explore and elaborate on inventions and concepts as varied as engines, gears and pulleys flow mills and irrigational aqueducts. Fascinated with flight, Leonardo carefully observed birds and their wing structures. Applying these deceptively simple principles to mechanics and technology, he made numerous illustrations depicting machines of flight which are in essence the “working plans “ for hang-gliders, planes and helicopters which exist today. This is but one of the many examples of why Leonardo da Vinci is considered an enigma that lived centuries ahead of his time.


In autumn of 1516 Leonardo arrived in Amboise, at the invitation of King Francis I. He lived in the small castle cloux and pursued his hydrological studies. At the age of 67, the great master passed away on May 2, 1519. His health had severely deteriorated and paralysis had taken over the right side of his body. Leonardo da Vinci's remains are in the Chapel of St. Hubert situated within the king castle complex in Amboise, France.


Considered the last of Leonardo's verifiable works, this painting is strikingly different from previous visual conceptions of the saint. It is a powerful work in it's subtle simplicity and contains four recurring elements or themes consistent with Da Vinci's other dazzingly poetic paintings: the flowing curly hair defined with incredible precision, the enigmatic smile, peering through deep, dense shadows and perhaps most poignant, a finger pointing to heaven.


1.) Self Portrait. 1512. Red Chalk on Paper. Biblioteka Reale. Turin, Italy.

2.) The Annunciation. c. 1472-1475. Oil and Tempera on Wood. Uffizi Gallery. Florence, Italy

3.) The Last Supper. 1495-1498. Oil and Tempera on Plaster. Fresco, 460 x 880 cm (15 x 29 ft)
Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, (Refectory). Milan, Italy.

4.) The Last Supper (detail of Jesus) see above.

5.) Mona Lisa. (La Gioconda) 1503-1506. Oil on Wood. Louvre, Paris, France.

6.) The Virgin of the Rocks. 1503-1506. Oil on Wood, 189.5 x 120 cm (6 x 4 ft.)

The National Gallery. London, England

7.) The Proportions of the Human Figure (Vitruvia Man). 1490. Pen, ink and watercolor over metalpoint.
Galleria dell ‘Accademia. Venice, Italy.

8.) Female genitals and foetus in the uterus. 1510-1512. Windsor, Royal Library (RL 1901r: K/P 197v)

9.) Study for flying machine. C.1487-1490 (the so-called “helicopter”) Ms B f. 83v

10.) St. John the Baptist. c.1573-1516. Oil on Wood. Louvre, Paris, France.






Leonardo Da Vinci

By Carlo Pedretti

Published by TAJ Books

Cobham, Surrey

United Kingdom


Great Ages of Man

Time-Life Books

Copyright 1965

Art: Context and Criticism

By John Kissick

Penn State University

Published by Wm.C. Brown Communications, Inc.

Copyright 1993.

This Article Copyright 2005 by John Keaton. All Rights Reserved.



Article Source:

By: John Keaton


Art is The Noblest of Pursuits: 
True Art refreshes the mind, stimulates the senses, and invigorates the soul of mankind ! True Art is a manifestation of the Human Spirit in the search for a higher consciousness. In it’s highest form it is a vital, moving and inspirational force. An artist is an architect and builder of dreams into reality. The goal of my work is to be a vessel , a channel and a medium to elaborate and transmit the energy of life and the human experience and rise above circumstance and situation by imparting a visual spirituality that is both relative and timeless. 
Life is a gift from God above. All that surrounds us and brings us joy and comfort is part of that gift. To be an artist is to concentrate on that joy and exploration and to perpetuate those very human emotions and make them real to others. Art is the link between understanding and being. It is man reaching for the superlative in a world of chaos and evil. The light and the darkness are in the hands of the artist, who knows them well and chooses between the two.

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