Art Appropriation and The Renaissance

One of the most appropriated images throughout the Western world is the “Mona Lisa” painted by Leonardo da Vinci.  Appropriation is when an artist takes a work by another artist and changes or modifies it, while rendering the original image.  So, in other words they are literally copying an image and transforming its previous meaning. One of the goals of “Appropriation artists or makers who replicate the painting want the viewer to recognize the images they copy, and they hope that the viewer will bring all of his/her original associations with the image to the artist’s new context, be it a painting, a sculpture, a collage, a combination or an entire installation” (Thurston) – Introduction to Appropriation

Appropriation is very common within works of modern art.  One of the most well-known artists of this art style is Andy Warhol, who has done an appropriation piece on da Vinci’s “Last Supper” (image in Last Supper Appropriations ).  And the most interesting part is that artists have been doing this for centuries, in a sense.  Artists often depicted the same subject matter and created it with their own aesthetic. The subject David, the one who defeated Goliath and later a king of Israel, was sculpted first by Donatello (1440) and then by Michelangelo (1504) the Renaissance (Image).  Each one portrays David differently, but the story of David is still the same in both interpretations.

The whole topic of appropriation relates to the Renaissance because a lot of modern artists use works created from this time period to appropriate.  Such artists include Kehinde Wiley and Mike Licht work with art from this time period, along with other periods from Baroque to Impressionism, to Cubism and Modern.  With the work of Wiley, he finds a random person on the street, most often a person of color, and asks them how they wish to be depicted. The subject chooses an artwork from the past and then they replace the figure, often a white subject.  “The Lamentation of Christ” (1480) by Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna is just one of the many Wiley has appropriated (top two).  Licht, on the other hand, gathers inspiration from general pop culture references and photo-shops them into such works described.  One in particular was “God as architect of the world” in Bible Moralisée, ca. 1250, in which Licht has appropriated the sphere with a pizza (bottom two).  Artists today continue to look at the pioneers from the Renaissance.  Renaissance art still captivates and inspires many artists and observers today.

Image One: n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Image Two: “File: God the Geometer.jpg.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 1920. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Image Three: “And god created pizza, after the bible Moralisée, ca. 1250.” Flickr – Photo Sharing!, 19 Apr. 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.





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