A free series of lessons "Arts Diary"

The Guide to the History of Painting

Whats the catch?

Why is Mona Lisa a masterpiece and Mengss self-portrait a little-known painting?

Why is Mona Lisa a masterpiece the whole world knows about? But almost no one knows the self-portrait by Raphael Mengs?

IndeedMona Lisa looks almost alive. Hidden in the mistas if shes about to speak...

But Mengss self-portrait is also incredible!

Compare them. The artist is looks alive as wellI would say that hes even more alive than Mona Lisa.

Its even difficult to distinguish his image from a photo! Incredibly soft hair. Deep eyes. I can even see fuzz on his face!

Anton Raphael Mengs. Self-Portrait in the Red Coat. 1744. Dresden art gallery.

Its all about... the DATE of painting!

Mengs painted his self-portrait in 1744. 225 years after Leonardo da Vinci.

Mengs was an outstanding imitator! He rehashed many of the old masters with extraordinary precision and even better technique.

If he had worked in Leonardoera, he would have been known as the most brilliant artist! 

By the way, this also works vice versa.

If Mona Lisa had been created in the 18th century, no one would have noticed it. Among such portraits by Mengs!

But the power of Mona Lisa... in the context.

This is the very first image of a person that is realistic to such an extent!

Of course, in the 17th century, artists have already learned to create lifelike portraits. When you can almost feel the pulse through the skin.

But for the beginning of the 16th century, it was UNPRECEDENTEDLY!

Leonardo Da Vinci. Portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. 1503-1519. Louvre, Paris.

That is why it is so important to know the history of painting. To understand whats special about it. What do all art critics admire so much?

Thats why I have introduced this series of lessons  The Guide to the History of Painting.

After studying the Guide, you will comprehend the skeleton of paintingSimply put -will get the understanding of the context.

The context will make it easier for you to realize how great a particular masterpiece is.

From the course, you will also learn:


- Who was the first ttake the brush

- Who was the first artist to paint nude

- Who once painted three-dimensional faces, and who depicted his contemporary

- How the painting went on vacation in the 18th centurythe light Rococo replaced the austere Сlassicism

- Why did the Impressionists dissolve figures in space

- Why artists of the late 19th century refused beauty and began to distort forms

- Why in the 20th century a dead shark and alcohol were used instead of paints and canvas

  • And what is going on with painting right now

The format of learning:


10-15 minutes a day (lesson + a task).

You will always be curious to find out what awaits you in the next lesson.

The course is more like an adventure novel than an encyclopedia of art😉

About the author:

Hello! My name Oksana Kopenkina and I an art analyst and just an experienced painting enthusiast🙂

I am the founder of Arts Diary website and the author of 165 unique articles about artists and paintings, from the ancient world to the present daysAs well as the creator of several courses on art.

My blog and courses are neither a gallery of reproductions nor an encyclopedia. Here, Im searching for answers to the questions Why is this picture a masterpiece? and Why is this artist a genius?

strive to shorten you way to the picture, to understanding of all its peculiarities and encrypted messages.

At the same time, it is important to make this road amusing. Thats why I write my articles in simple language, so that no cluttering terms could prevent you from communicating with artists through their paintings.

Enjoy your immersion in the world of art!

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