The Virgin of the Rocks (sometimes the Madonna of the Rocks) is the name used for two paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, of the same subject, and of a composition which is identical except for several significant details. The version generally considered the prime version, that is the earlier of the two, hangs in The Louvre in Paris and the other in the National Gallery, London. The paintings are both nearly 2 meters (over 6 feet) high and are painted in oils. Both were painted on wooden panel; that in the Louvre has been transferred to canvas.” Source

Normally when we have seen Mary and Christ (in, for example, paintings by Lippi and Giotto), Mary has been enthroned as the queen of heaven. Here, in contrast, we see Mary seated on the ground. This type of representation of Mary is referred to as the Madonna of Humility. Mary has her right arm around the infant Saint John the Baptist who is making a gesture of prayer to the Christ child. The Christ child in turn blesses St. John. Mary’s left hand hovers protectively over the head of her son while an angel looks out and points to St. John. The figures are all located in a fabulous and mystical landscape with rivers that seem to lead nowhere and bizarre rock formations. In the foreground we see carefully observed and precisely rendered plants and flowers.

We immediately notice Mary’s ideal beauty and the graceful way in which she moves, features typical of the High Renaissance” Source

archaicwonder
archaicwonder:
The Wedding of Ariadne, Roman mosaic, 2nd century AD

Ariadne is the daughter of King Minos of Crete, She helped Theseus slay the Minotaur while he was on the island and then fled with him when he sailed for home. However, they stopped on the island of Naxos and Theseus promptly abandoned her while she slept. It was here where Dionysos found her and made her his wife. There are many versions of Ariadne’s mythology in addition to this one. 
More about Ariadne…

archaicwonder:

The Wedding of Ariadne, Roman mosaic, 2nd century AD

Ariadne is the daughter of King Minos of Crete, She helped Theseus slay the Minotaur while he was on the island and then fled with him when he sailed for home. However, they stopped on the island of Naxos and Theseus promptly abandoned her while she slept. It was here where Dionysos found her and made her his wife. There are many versions of Ariadne’s mythology in addition to this one. 

More about Ariadne…

The only secular frescoes by Botticelli that still exist were discovered 1873, in the Villa Lemmi, at the foot of the Careggi Hill, close to a villa of Cosimo de Medici. They had been concealed under old coats of paint for centuries. Villa Lemmi belonged to the Tornabuoni family, friend of the Medici. It is supposed the frescoes were executed to commemorate the marriage of Lorenzo Tornabuoni and Giovanna degli Albizzi.

The frescoes are in a very poor state of preservation, because they were damaged when taken down from the wall. Two of the three fragments found were transferred to canvas and later sold to the Louvre in Paris. The two compositions were originally separated only by a window.

One of the fragments probably represents Venus and the Three Graces Presenting Gifts to a Young Woman, the other A Young Man Being Introduced to the Seven Liberal Arts.

Even in this poor condition, the two frescoes still have some of the elegance which is the feature of Botticelli’s best compositions. The fact that the figures cannot be entirely identified in no way detracts from their distant charm. It is, however, assumed that this is an allegorical celebration for a newly married couple. Even though the young man is obviously being led towards the female allegories of the seven liberal arts, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, grammar, geometry, astronomy and music, it is unclear who is leading him there.” Source

“There are seven figures in the painting: from left to right they are St John, Jesus, Judas, two soldiers, a man (a self-portrait of Caravaggio), and another soldier. They are standing, and only the upper three-quarters of their bodies are depicted. The figures are arrayed before a very dark background, in which the setting is disguised. The main light source is not evident in the painting but comes from the upper left. There is a lantern being held by the man at the right (Caravaggio). At the far left, a man (St John) is fleeing; his arms are raised, his mouth is open in a gasp, his cloak is flying and being snatched back by a soldier. The flight of the terrified John contrasts with the entrance of the artist; scholars claim that Caravaggio is making the point that even a sinner one thousand years after the resurrection has a better understanding of Christ than does his friend. Two of the more puzzling details of the painting are, one, the fact that the heads of Jesus and St. John seem to visually meld together in the upper left corner, and, two, the fact of the prominent presence, in the very center of the canvas and in foremost plane of the picture, of the arresting officer’s highly polished, metal-clad arm.” Source

The taking of Christ, Caravaggio, c.1602

There are seven figures in the painting: from left to right they are St JohnJesusJudas, two soldiers, a man (a self-portrait of Caravaggio), and another soldier. They are standing, and only the upper three-quarters of their bodies are depicted. The figures are arrayed before a very dark background, in which the setting is disguised. The main light source is not evident in the painting but comes from the upper left. There is a lantern being held by the man at the right (Caravaggio). At the far left, a man (St John) is fleeing; his arms are raised, his mouth is open in a gasp, his cloak is flying and being snatched back by a soldier. The flight of the terrified John contrasts with the entrance of the artist; scholars claim that Caravaggio is making the point that even a sinner one thousand years after the resurrection has a better understanding of Christ than does his friend. Two of the more puzzling details of the painting are, one, the fact that the heads of Jesus and St. John seem to visually meld together in the upper left corner, and, two, the fact of the prominent presence, in the very center of the canvas and in foremost plane of the picture, of the arresting officer’s highly polished, metal-clad arm.” Source

The taking of Christ, Caravaggio, c.1602

"When the French captured Milan in September 1499 Bramante fled to Rome, where he frescoed the arms of Pope Alexander VI at St. John Lateran, in preparation for the Holy Year of 1500, and explored the Roman antiquities. The impact of the ancient monuments is evident in his cloister of S. Maria della Pace in Rome (1500-1504). The simple gravity and monumentality of the small square court marks a distinct break with the Lombard style and foreshadows the new classicism of High Renaissance Rome. The ground-floor arcade is supported on piers with engaged Ionic pilasters; the upper floor alternates Corinthian columns and piers bearing an architrave.

The tiny circular Tempietto at S. Pietro in Montorio, in Rome (1502), with a Doric colonnade surrounding a small cella closed by a semicircular dome on a tall drum, represents the perfection of Bramante’s Roman style. The architect intended the chapel to stand in the center of a circular, colonnaded court to emphasize its self-containment and centralization, but the court was never executed.” Source

Cloister of Santa Maria della Pace, c.1500

Tempietto of San Pietro in Montorio, c.1502

Donato Bramante (1443/4-1514)

ancientart

ancientart:

The lion hunts of Ashurbanipal -details from the hall reliefs of the Palace at Ninevah

Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, who reigned 669-630 BCE, is shown in the first detail to be aiming his bow and arrow atop a chariot. The second image displays an arrow of his shot, flying in mid-air towards a lion. A close-up of Ashurbanipal is given in the final photograph to present the immense detail of these reliefs, for instance, note the intricate carvings which cover his clothing.

Artefacts courtesy of & currently located at the British Museum, London. Photos taken by Steven Zucker.