The Artistic Genius of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo

Denise Budd
Denise Budd
Columbia University

Denise Budd teaches in the Core Curriculum program at Columbia University and has also taught a wide range of Renaissance art history classes at Rutgers University. She has published several articles on Leonardo da Vinci based on her studies of the artist and his documentary evidence. Following this interest in archival work, her current research has extended to the history of collecting Renaissance art in Gilded Age America, with a focus on the tapestry collector and dealer Charles Mather Ffoulke.


In 1504, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), the two greatest artistic geniuses of the Italian Renaissance, were both working on enormous paintings of battle scenes for the Salone dei Cinquecento in the palace of the Florentine government. Though neither Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo would ever see their share of the ambitious project to its completion, the brilliant full-scale drawings they created of rearing horses and muscular soldiers were known in the 16th century as the “school of the world.” Notwithstanding the generational difference, the pairing of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo might have seemed like the ideal opportunity for intellectual collaboration: both were accomplished artists, as well as so-called Universal Men, with shared interests across many disciplines, including painting, sculpture, architecture and anatomy. Instead, their relationship was one characterized by rivalry, and perhaps at times even animosity, with at least one contemporary report of the two artists hurling insults at each other in the streets of Florence.

This lecture will explore the trajectory of the careers of da Vinci and Michelangelo – who were dissimilar in temperament and beliefs, as well as the way they worked – and the way that their rivalry contributed to the creation of some of the most famous and influential artworks the world has ever seen.




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Marc Tanenbaum

A very Engaging Presentation

Ms. Budd beautifully relates to the camera as though speaking directly with the viewer in her discussion of these two artists. Her talk was very interesting, informative and personable. I am looking forward to future presentations by her. Thank you.

5 days ago
Hans Bleiker

Wonderful lecture. I learned much about the lives and works of these two renowned artists

5 days ago

The Artistic Genius of Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo

Professor Budd was able to compare and contrast these two artists in such a way, and with such passion, that I was able to view their works and their place in history from a new perspective. Well done.

4 days ago
Greg Paskal

Great content and very well taught

What a great talk. Denise Budd Does an excellent job of presenting new an interesting facts about these wonderful artist. Looking forward to more talks by Denise.

1 day ago
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