Deeds & misdeeds: art feuds!

Italian artists and their rivalry!

When so many great minds meet, it’s not difficult for rivalry and jealousy to arise when it comes to art.
It’s the case for the countless artists who walked the Italian land in the last hundreds years. All of them became wildly famous, their art can be found in the most beautiful churches or museums, and their talent became an example of artistic movements and historical expressions.

Can you imagine Michelangelo, the painter of the Sistine Chapel, and Leonardo Da Vinci, the painter of the Monalisa, in the same room? It’s mind blowing! It’s not hard to imagine how they could feel about each other and how there could be feuds and rivalry going on.

Let’s unravel some deeds and misdeeds in art!

Michelangelo vs Leonardo Da Vinci: the student surpasses the master?

Despite their 30 years difference, Michelangelo and Leonardo were two of the pioneers of the art in the 1500-1600, together with Raffaello Sanzio. Michelangelo was young and rich, a prodigy, but jealous of the greatest master Leonardo. The latter had humble origins, and despite the talent, he was considered unprofessional and unreliable. Their difference also relayed in their faith: Michelangelo was a religious man, au contraire of Leonardo da Vinci. But he had a bad temper, also due to his bad looking appearance, compared to the handsome Leonardo. The first tiff happened when Da Vinci was asked where to collocate the famous statue “David” of Michelangelo, and he answered that it should had been located somewhere remote, to not hamper the guards. He was not listened to fortunately.

They finally confronted each other when it was time to paint the Camera del Consiglio in the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. The two walls were entrusted to the two artists and Leonardo wasn’t happy to be compared with someone so much younger than him. This time, none of them “won” as the two walls remained incomplete.

Caravaggio vs. Carracci: the opposites complete each other

Later on, the wonderful art of Caravaggio changed the game and signified the transition to the Baroque style. His mastery of the lights gave a new perspective on what a painting could express: passion, darkness and dimension. His nemesis, Annibale Carracci, is less widely known nowadays, but back then he was the one who instead carried on the classical Renaissance art of Raffaele Sanzio, with a touch of modernity. We can say they represent the light and dark of the 1600. There is one place in particular that allows to witness a direct confrontation between these two: the beautiful chapel Cerasi of the Santa Maria del Popolo Basilica in Rome. Despite the possible antagonism, we love to find beauty in the opposites.

Bernini vs Borromini: a well-known strong rivlary

Two of the most famous architects of the capital. You can spot their statues, fountains and churches all around the city… and the tales of their feud are many and bizarre (the most famous, but also false, is the one of Piazza Navona’s square). Bernini, who today would be called a nepo baby, started his path very young and proved his worth. Even after his failures he strived, thanks to his talent and charisma. Borromini, on the other hand, was more shy, and only arrived in Rome in his 20s. They started working together but drifted apart because of conflicts, both personal and concerning their concept of art. It happened in different occasions they stole each other’s jobs, sometimes even building offensive statues to spite the other, like donkey ears. There indeed was bad blood, but that didn’t stop them from shining in their own way, both contributing at the beauty of Rome.

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