San Rafael Youth In Arts Festival, June 2009
This year's Youth In Arts theme was Faces of the Renaissance, so we took advantage of some unexpected convalescent time this winter to go through lots and lots of Renaissance paintings. We chose a painting from the Late Renaissance/Mannenist era by Jacopo da Pontormo.
The woman in the portrait is Maria Salviati de' Medici and the little girl is Giulia de' Medici. Giulia's father was Alessandro de' Medici, first hereditary duke of Florence. He was the illegitimate son of either Lorenzo II de' Medici (recognized) or Giulio de' Medici (later Pope Clement VII) (more likely). When he was assassinated in 1537, his cousin Cosimo I de' Medici became Duke of Florence. Maria Salviati de' Medici was Cosimo's mother. She was widowed at age 27 and never remarried; the portraits of her that survive all show her in the somber black and white dress of a novice. When Cosimo became duke, Maria cared for Giulia, her brother Giulio and several grandchildren.
At some point after Maria had died, Giulia's portrait was painted over. The change wasn't discovered until 1937, when her portrait was restored. There was some controversy over who the little girl was--some researchers even suggested that it was the young Cosimo despite the girlish hairstyle--but most agree now that her features resemble Alessandro's enough to suggest that Giulia is the most likely subject (see Alessandro's portrait here to make your own decision).
On Sunday, we were joined in the square by Wayne's cousin Cheryl, our friend Fred Wilms (backgrounder extraordinaire!), and fellow watercolor artist Winnie Chien, who got to try street painting for the first time.
Saturday morning, right before the first chalk is applied.
Cheryl began by laying down green tones, then put more standard pinks and creams on top to make Giulia's skin look like skin.
Her face and neck are complete.
Meanwhile, Wayne painted Maria's translucent veil.
Cheryl added Giulia's pink dress.
When we left on Saturday night, Maria had most of her veil and one eye done, so she looked like she'd been painted by Magritte (or maybe she was a pirate).
Here she is with both eyes done, but not the rest of her face.
Wayne called this Maria's Shrek stage.
Continuing work on Sunday--Cheryl is finishing Maria's modest décolletage while Wayne works on her dark green dress. This view shows how we stretched the painting so that the two faces are in proportion to each other when viewed from the base of the painting.
Here are two of our helpers: Fred up at the top of the painting and Wayne's cousin Cheryl working on Maria's bodice.
All done! One of the official photographers took our photo.
Here's the completed painting from the base. If we hadn't stretched it, Giulia's head would look larger than Maria's from this perspective.
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