Exploration Of humanities

Exploration Of humanities


The following essay talks about one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most revered works, the Annunciation. It is a prestige painting that was done during the 15th century by the famous Leonardo da Vinci. It was undetaken during the renaissance period which spanned from the 14th to the 17th century.

Initial Thoughts

Upon first looking at the painting, I was marveled by its exquisite detail in human depiction. The illustration is that of two individuals, one with wings and the other with a bright radiant halo above her head. I immediately classified the painting to be that of Greek origin since the Greek legends and myths featured interactions between different mythical creatures, my assumption was however very wrong.

The detail portrayed in the painting made me to assume it to be of much more recent origin, my guess was the early eighteenth century. One thing that I was sure of, however, was that the message contained in the painting itself was universal (applicable to everyone). My first impressions of the work of art was purely positive as each and every inch of it was drawn to perfection. This was the aspect of the painting that intrigued me the most. It was as if the painter was in possession of the geometrical apparatus used today. It was truly a masterpiece.

Leonardo’s works of art mostly featured the style that can be found in the painting (Cookson, 2010). Most were depictions of many people, e.g. the last supper, while some were of single individuals e.g. La Mona Lisa (Cookson, 2010).



  1. Analysis of the Work

Analysis of the painting revolves around digging deep into what makes it unique and outstanding among the many others (MindEdge, Inc. 2014). It also grosses around some of the unique aspects that correlate it to the historical period in which it was made (Renaissance).

Historical Context

The renaissance period as stated above, spanned the 14th century to the 17th century. It traces its origins back to Italy beginning as a cultural movement, during the late medieval period (Martin & Philo, 2010). A particular point of interest for this period was the fact that it was based on humanism. Humanism is the concept of putting human beings at the center of everything. Greek philosophy summarized it as “Man being the Measure of all things.” This belief became manifested in various forms of art, science literature and topic (Martin & Philo, 2010).

The art pieces that are of the renaissance period are usually some form of religious depiction mostly that of the Catholic and Christian religion (Kuligowski, 2013). Da Vinci’s art piece which is under question, ‘the Annunciation’ depicts the Angel Gabriel ( a character with wings) who was sent to deliver the news of the birth of Jesus Christ, who was the prophesized messiah. This is a Christian biblical teaching and is one of the most important events in the Christian faith. Therefore, the name ‘annunciation’ which means that the angel Gabriel came to announce the birth of Christ (Kuligowski, 2013).

Insight from Authors Biography

According to Leonardo da Vinci’s biography, he was born at a place called Anchiano in present day Italy. At the age of 15, he began an apprenticeship under the noted artist Andrea del Verrochio with whom he gained a multitude of skills including painting, sculpting, leather works, carpentry among others which he used later on to build many masterpieces such as the Annunciation (Kuligowski, 2013).

His biography also states that he became enrolled as a master artist at the age of 20 at Florence’s Guild of Saint Luke and established workshop there. This must have marked his ascent into the religious world, more so Christianity hence his later works mostly featured the theme of Christianity. This includes the one in question (annunciation) and various others such as the famous Last supper which depicts Jesus and his disciples sharing the last supper. The insight gained from the biography has shown why the author has taken a keen interest in works of the renaissance period, the one in question being one of them.

Analyze how this work explores a particular theme and/or stylistic characteristic from its period

As stated above, the renaissance period was characterized by a large degree of allusion to works related to religion (Martin & Philo, 2010). The art piece under discussion is no different. It depicts an event that is most recognized in the Christian faith, the annunciation. Since the messiah who was announced by the angel Gabriel was to guide the world from its sinful ways, the painting can be seen as a depiction of hope. The prophesized messiah was hence a pillar of hope. To summarize, the painting is a depiction of hope hence it well portrays the theme of hope. It is however tied down to the Christian faith as other religions that are very farfetched may have a hard time actually depicting the meaning unless it is explained to them hand in hand. To summarize all of the above-shared insight, the painting had a theme of hope since it portrays an event in the Christian faith that restored hope to all of the world, that is, the annunciation of the birth of the messiah.


  1. Explain the relevance of this work for today’s audiences

The work, as stated above, carries the theme of hope. It is especially relevant to today’s audiences moreso those of the Christian faith. It reminds them that God does not forsake and He is always ready to intervene (Martin & Philo, 2010). Other non-Christian religion can use the work to analyze how works were portrayed in the renaissance era. They can also learn Da Vinci’s styles as studies of the past. This work of art is hence very relevant to today’s world given that it was done by one of the most famous and revered artists (Martin & Philo, 2010).

  1. Discuss how the deeper knowledge you gained through your analysis has informed or altered your thoughts and/or feelings about the work (suggested length of 1 paragraph or half a page).
    The analysis has allowed me to view the painting at a different angle than I initially had, first of all, the painting is not that of mythical Greek creatures as I had initially imagined, secondly, it was done much earlier than what I had imagined and finally, its message was pinpointed to the Christian faith although I had previously imagined otherwise. I now believe that the above art piece is a pillar of hope not only to the Christian faith but to everyone in general. Da Vinci had meant to communicate to the entire world through the Christian faith. This is my new deeper understanding of the work.


Kuligowski, S. (2013). Leonardo da Vinci: Renaissance artist and inventor. Huntington Beach, CA: Teacher Created Materials. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=n0Z_gY25Nm8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Leonardo+da+Vinci:+Renaissance+artist+and+inventor&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Leonardo%20da%20Vinci%3A%20Renaissance%20artist%20and%20inventor&f=false

Martin, C. & Philo, R. (2010). Leonardo da Vinci: the mechanics of man. London Los Angeles: Royal Collection Enterprises J. Paul Getty Museum. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=6L528hx3ogC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Leonardo+da+Vinci:+the+mechanics+of+man&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Leonardo%20da%20Vinci%3A%20the%20mechanics%20of%20man&f=false

MindEdge, Inc. (2014). Introduction to the humanities. Waltham, MA: MindEdge, Inc.             http://www.mindedge.com/page/humanities

Cookson, B. (2010). At the dawn of a new consciousness: art, philosophy and the birth of the modern world. Forest Road East Sussex, England: Temple Lodge Pub.


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