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Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Doni Tondo

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Artwork

Author: Michelangelo Buonarroti
Title: The Doni Tondo
Date: 1507
Technique: tempera on panel
Dimension: 120 cm (diameter)
Location: Florence, Uffizi Gallery

Photo Shoot

PICTURE
Image Size: 2.538.733.144 pixel (50.162x50.612)
Colour Depth: 16 bit Per Channel
Shooting: July 2012
Shots: 247

EQUIPMENT:
Camera Body: Nikon D800E
Pictures Acquisition Software: Nikon Camera Control Pro 2
Quality Control and Postprocessing Software: Nikon Capture NX 2

CREDITS
Image used with permission from Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities with thanks to the Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico, the State Museums of Florence and the management and staff of the Uffizi Gallery.

All rights reserved

Titian, Venus of Urbino (1538)

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

The Shroud and Haltadefinizione: the shooting of 2008

Haltadefinizione® was in charge of the shooting of the cloth of the Shroud between January 22nd and 23rd 2008.
On the occasion of the extraordinary opening of the preservation system ordered by Cardinal Poletto, the then Custodian of the Holy Shroud, in agreement with the Holy See, Haltadefinizione® was authorized to acquire high definition (HD) digital images of the Shroud. These HD images represent a milestone in the history of the Shroud. During the shooting of the Shroud, the entire surface of the cloth was captured for the first time using advanced HD photographic techniques. A process very similar, on a small scale, to that used for topography.
The image reached an unprecedented optical resolution not visible to the naked eye, allowing clearly to distinguish the individual elements that compose the cloth: elements of a diameter of a few hundredths of a millimeter.
The most critical aspect of the project was the shooting of the cloth. The photographic device was assembled in maximum-safety around the reliquary using a carriage with parallel rails. The lighting system was especially designed to filter any harmful radiation to the cloth, but most of all special attention was given to the calibration of the spectrum, which helped faithfully reproduce the actual color and fabric of the Shroud image.

All of these precautions minimized the risk of contamination and damage of the Shroud. Therefore, 1649 photographs were taken, each of which represents the area of the size of a business card, creating a single image of 12 billion points stored in one file of 72 Gigabytes, equal to the contents of 16 DVDs.
In order to reproduce the entire image at its maximum enlargement, a humongous cloth would be needed, 68 meters wide and 18 high.
HD digital photography by Haltadefinizione® is an indispensable tool for researchers who wish to access anytime to unique images of the Shroud and process them in real time.

Caravaggio, Bacchus (1597)

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Artwork

Author: Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio
Title: Bacchus
Date: 1597
Technique: oil on canvas
Dimension: 101 x 89 cm
Location: Florence, Uffizi Gallery

Bacchus was painted by Caravaggio around 1597 commissioned by Cardinal del Monte. The modern story of this painting are incredible: ranked among the works of less value, the canvas was abandoned for years inside the warehouses of the Uffizi Gallery, and was brought to light only in 1913, when Matteo Marangoni noticed its extraordinary quality and considered it a copy of an original Caravaggio work. Already in 1916, however, following the intuition of Roberto Longhi, scholars recognized the hand of Caravaggio observing unique features of Bacchus.
The tracts of the young pagan deity closely resemble those of the “The Lute Player” and “The Fortune Teller”. The full-face Bacchus shows pink cheeks and deep brown eyes.
The vine leaves with their autumnal hues, decoration for the hair, have a close relationship with the leaves of the “Basket of Fruit”, also quoted in the fruit variety of  still life placed in the foreground.
According to  Giovanni Baglione, one of the earliest biographers of the master, this work was painted by Caravaggio looking himself in a mirror: that's why Bacchus holds the cup in his left hand. The pose, the feature of a face , dirty fingernails: details best suited to “dull and sleepy boy of Roman tavern” (Longhi) than to a deity.

Photo Shoot

PICTURE
Image Size: 3.426.237.936 pixel (54.876 x 62.436)
Colour Depth: 16 bit for Channel
Shooting: February 2010
Shots: 198

EQUIPMENT
Camera Body: Nikon D3X
Pictures Acquisition Software: Nikon Camera Control Pro 2
Quality Control and Postprocessing Software: Nikon Capture NX 2

CREDITS
Image used with permission from Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities with thanks to the Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico, 
the State Museums of Florence and the management and staff of the Uffizi Gallery.

All rights reserved

Michelangelo Merisi calling Caravaggio (Milan 1571 - Grosseto 1610)

He was born in Milan 29 September 1571. He starts his career as apprenticed of Simone Peterzano, Lombard painter who gives Caravaggio his first art education. The Lombard painting, characterized by a focus on reality and a study of light, that sinks its roots into leonardesque heritage, exert a great influence on Caravaggio who, in these first years of training, comes into contact with Venetian painting too.
Was in Rome however, that Caravaggio assert himself as the great painter. In the workshop of the Cavalier d'Arpino, the most successful artists in Rome, Caravaggio particularly painted "flowers and fruits", typical subject of Lombard painting on which, thanks to years of training in Milan, now he has some experience. “Young Sick Bacchus” and “Boy with a Basket of Fruit” are works of this period that shows the great attention to detail with a naturalistic study of the relationship of light and shadows.
The meeting with Cardinal del Monte (occurred around 1595) gives a change in career and style of Caravaggio. These were the years of some great masterpieces: “The Lute Player”, “The Cardsharps”, “Penitent Magdalene”, “Basket of Fruit”, “Rest on the Flight into Egypt”, to mention only the most famous. In 1599 Caravaggio gets the commission for the decoration of the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of St. Louis of France. The “Calling of Saint Matthew”, “San Matthew and the Angel “and “Martyrdom of Saint Matthew”, achieve considerable success and increase the fame and commissions of the master. Between 1600 and 1606 Caravaggio is the most favorite painter in Rome. Although he continues to attend squares, taverns and to be involved in brawls and drunkenness. On May 1606, during celebrations for the anniversary of Paul V election, he kills Ranuccio from Terni, a member of an influential Roman family. So he begins a long exile, to escape justice, and he is forced to leave Rome to Naples first and then Malta (1608).
He paints here a huge canvas “Beheading of Saint John the Baptist”, for the new oratory of Knights of St. John of Jerusalem Order, that inducted him as a member. But new turbulent events force him to flee the island. He escapes to Syracuse, Messina, Palermo and then Naples, under the protection of the Colonna family. Is 1610 and after few months, during which he painted the “The Denial of Saint Peter” and two “John the Baptist”, Caravaggio goes to Rome, hoping for the grace by Paul V.
In July of that year Caravaggio arrives to Porto Ercole in Tuscany where, for a sudden fever attack, dies at the age of thirty-nine. 

Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation (1472-1475)

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Artwork

Author: Leonardo da Vinci
Title: Annunciation
Date: 1472 - 1475
Technique: oil and tempera on panel
Dimension: 98 x 217 cm
Location: Florence, Uffizi Gallery

The Annunciation, now accredited to Leonardo da Vinci, was for long time ascribed to Domenico Ghirlandaio and there are no records of the commission and its original location.
The scene, unlike the tradition that sets the annunciation inside a room, takes place outdoors in the garden of a typical Florentine building. The Virgin is represented browsing an illuminated book placed on a lectern that in the decoration recalls the Florentine sculpture style of '400. The prospective setting on the figure is not entirely correct: for example, the right hand could not get to rest comfortably on the book, because of the distance that exists between the Virgin and the lectern. 
Leonardo, who uses the perspective to paint the lines of architectural elements, here introduces a new concept of space built through the use of light and color, as in the lake landscape that opens in the background, whose distance is suggested by the atmosphere and tones of blue. The depiction of the flowery meadow at the foot of the angel, instead shows the special attention of Leonardo for the natural world. Dozens of flowers decorate the lawn while beyond the boundary wall of the garden, a row of pine trees of different species defines the visual field, increasing the sense of remoteness of the small port.

Photo Shoot

PICTURE
Image Size: 10.278.737.724  pixel (150.708 x 68.203)
Colour Depth: 16 bit for Channel
Shooting: February 2010
Shots:
533

EQUIPMENT:
Camera Body: Nikon D3X
Pictures Acquisition Software: Nikon Camera Control Pro 2
Quality Control and Postprocessing Software: Nikon Capture NX 2

CREDITS
Image used with permission from Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities with thanks to the Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico, the State Museums of Florence and the management and staff of the Uffizi Gallery.

All rights reserved

Leonardo da Vinci (VINCI 15 aprile 1452 – AMBOISE 2 maggio 1519)

He was born in Vinci 1452, illegitimate child of a notary and a countrywoman. After moving to Florence, he enters very young as apprentice in the workshop of a famous painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio, who is in contact with Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Perugino. Around his twenty years he completed his training, in 1472 he is member the Company of Painter as a master. In that period the did the first works: a pen drawing of a mountain landscape, the Portrait of Ginevra Benci, the Madonna of carnation and the Annunciation of the Uffizi.
In 1480 he enters the Accademia del Giardino di San Marco, a sort of school of young painters wanted by Lorenzo il Magnifico. At the same time he receives the committee for the altar piece with the Adoration of the Magi, for the church of San Giovanni Scopeto, work that he will never finish, but that with Saint Girolamo gives important information on his artistic evolution and on his reached expressive maturity.
In 1842, being thirty years old, Leonardo suddenly leaves to Milan. The reasons of this journey are not clear: according to some bibliographers of the time (Vasari among them) he moves for Lorenzo il Magnifico for a sort of diplomatic mission, taking to Ludovico Sforza (known later as Ludovico il Moro maybe because of his dark skin) a precious gift. Probably Leonardo is also looking for new commissions, how he writes in a non signed letter in the Atlantic Code. He keeps a very strong tie with Milan, enough to make it one of his native lands. In the streets and palaces of Milan, the painter, engineer, sculptor and architect will have the possibility to create some of his grater works (the network of canals and closings of the Milan Navigli is an example) and to elaborate many of ideas and projects that will make Leonardo the eclectic genius of the Italian Renaissance.
In 1483 he paints one of his masterpieces, the Virgin of the Rocks, painted in two versions. Few years later he makes the project for the equestrian monument for Francesco Sforza that in the intentions had to celebrate the family dynasty. The genius of Leonardo is clear also in portraits, among these, the famous Lady with the ermine, in which he experiments his theory of the "soul motions" reaching important levels.
In 1494 the arrive of Carlo VII causes terror in half of Italy, but has no big consequences in the state of Ludovico il Moro. When the big committees seem to be scarce and Leonardo writes letter (or drafts of letters) to Ludovico complaining for his precarious economic condition, Ludovico il Moro gives him the greatest committee of his years in Milan: the decoration of Santa Maria delle Grazie with he artwork representing the apex of his production in Milan, the Last Supper.
After the fall of Ludovico Sforza and the invasion of Milan by the French, in 1499 Leonardo leaves Milan and after short stays in Mantua and Venice, he goes back to Florence. In his native land, after the realization of the drawing of Saint Anna (never realized as painting), he receives an important committee and decorates a part of the Room of the High Council in Palazzo Vecchio with the famous Anghiari Battle. In 1503 he starts a portrait destined to become one of the most famous portraits of the world, the Mona Lisa, maybe ended some ten years later.
In his artistic activity Leonardo alternates frequent journeys to Milan and Rome and France, in Amboise, on request of king Francesco I in person. He holds the office of "Premier peinctre et ingénieur et architecte du Roy, Meschanischien d'Estat". He dies in 1519 in the castle of Cloux, disposing of his manuscript and drownings to his pupil Francesco Melzi. 

Hayez, The Kiss (1859)

Brera Picture-Gallery, Milan

Artwork

Author: Francesco Hayez
Title: The kiss. Episode of youth. Costumes of the 14th century
Date: 1859
Technique: oil on canvas
Dimension: 112 x 88 cm
Location: Brera Picture-Gallery, Milan

The painting became immediately popular since its presentation in Brera on September 9, 1859, three months after the triumphal entry in Milan of Vittorio Emanuele II and Napoleon III, victorious allies against the Austrian Empire, even if with the armistice of Villafranca Venice and Veneto region were still Austrian. 
It is the first description that Francesco Hayez gave about the subject, made for the Count Alfonso Maria Visconti di Saliceto, who offered it to the Picture-Gallery in 1886. The reasons of success lay not only in the excellent execution's quality - theatricality and naturalness blend together - but also in the universal nature of the subject (the strength of love) and in the ability to epitomize the Mazzini's ideals.
A real omen of growth for the young nation - this is the meaning of the subtitle the yearning kiss of the two youngsters hints at the alliance between Italy and France during the Independence wars.
The hug between the two nations gave birth to the new Italy, and the colours of the dresses of the two lovers, produced with great materic character, recall those of the two national flags. The emotional intensity of the scene is made stronger by the disquieting shadow appearing on the stairs on the left side, powerfully suggesting a feeling of danger, perhaps the expression of the concern of Hayez and his contemporaries about the achievement of the Risorgimento dream.

Photo Shoot

PICTURE
Image Size:4.488.512.000 pixel (74.560 x 60.200)
Colour Depth: 16 bit for channel
Shooting: February 2011
Shots: 264 


EQUIPMENT:
Camera Body: Nikon D3X
Pictures Acquisition Software: Nikon Camera Control Pro 2
Quality Control and Postprocessing Software: Nikon Capture NX 2

CREDITS
Courtesy by Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Soprintendenza per i beni storici artistici ed etnoantropologici per le province di Milano, Bergamo, Como, Lecco, Lodi, Monza, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese

All rights reserved

Francesco Hayez (Venenice 1791- Milan 1882)

After a sound neoclassical artistic education, experienced between Venice and Rome, he worked in Milan as of the 1920’s where he became the highest representative of the historic Romanticism.
Full professor of painting at the Brera Academy, he spread his influence, also thanks to an extraordinary teaching, able to join rigour of composition, mimetic perfection and skilful capacity in using colours.
He was an extraordinary and sought-after portraitist, as well as one of the main interpreters of the civil and patriotic commitment in the historic painting, as much as Mazzini deemed him “chief of the Historic Painting, demanded by the National thought in Italy”.