|DRAWING SKETCHING COURSE: Comparison Mantegna-Dürer|
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Here are two copperplate prints (the fight of the Sea-Gods). The upper is one is made by Mantegna, the lower one of Dürer. Dürer "copied" a print of Mantegnas. The different effect of the two prints is interesting. Increase the pictures and look at them carefully. The Dürer works more naturally. The reason is, that Dürer is making a different usage of light and shade and of the picturing of details.
Mantegna (1431-1506) is drawing the reed in all details. The reed is forming the dark central surface, before which the figures stand out brightly. The reed forms a kind of curtain. The figures are evenly and carefully worked out. In the comparison to the Duerer the whole scene takes effect as confusing unclear and "full.
The brightest parts of the bodies are optically "in front", the water in the foreground is bright too, in the middle ground the waves are darkly shaded. On the top right some reed stems of the background are drawed brighter and with low-contrast, an effect of "air perspective".
"Eyetracing" investigations are investigations, where the eyes of test persons are filmed. In this way one can find out, on which areas e.g. of a picture a test person is looking at, and how long the areas are watched.
Viewers of pictures or scenes, on and/or which are shown humans, are regarding for the most time and most frequently the faces of the persons. And in the faces the eyes are of most interest. The rest of the scene is regarded only very volatilely.
Dürer (1471-1528) considered that intuitively ( or consciously?). He prepares the faces carefully and omits details in "less important" places. The waves are e.g. only suggested, nearly missing. Mantegna against draws the sheets of the reed in detail, Dürer outlines these only weak and uses extensively "air-perspective effects". In order to make the pictures statement clearer, he is pooling the rivalling groups with the means of shading and dark areas, considering the "natural light situation" (the light comes from left above out of the direction of the viewer).
If you pinch your eyes together when regarding the picture, you will see two large separate dark surfaces formed by the two parties, devided by a brighter area. Dürer needs a certain darkness to brighten the parts of the skin lying in front to the viewer.
But D ürer uses the surfaces of the bodies, being farer away from the viewer as the dark background, so he doesn’t need the reed like Montegna. The wall of reed is already part of the light low-contrasted background, as the of the serpent.
On this copies not so well recognizably: Dürer changed by the directions of the lines of sight somewhat.