Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are frequently compared across their careers to try to decide who was the most important artist from the Renaissance era. One aspect of their work to study is in that of invention, and it is here that Da Vinci holds the edge. This article will however give examples of how Michelangelo was still influential in this sphere of creativity and place them in context with the rest of the work that he produced during his illustrious career.
Da Vinci produced sketches of his own ideas, and these have become well known inventions, which in some cases have even been turned into reality. Michelangelo, however, only worked on other people’s ideas and so was not a true inventor in the normal way. He did however work very closely on many inventions, being signed up to add his considerable drawing skills to help illustrate and promote various new products.
After producing notable sculptures and frescos, Michelangelo had built up an exceptional reputation as an artist and also had some high profile contacts that commissioning inventors may also have looked to take advantage of in their attempts at bringing their respective products to market.
Michelangelo may not have invented anything, in terms of real products, but he did invent and create a lot with in the sphere of art with new techniques and ideas around how fresco art and sculpture could be done. The major impact of the Renaissance was through new ideas such as these, and this is why Michelangelo remains to be considered as one of the masters of this era.
Leonardo da Vinci was well known for having invented early versions of a diving suit, an armoured tank and a parachute. It is perhaps the difference between Da Vinci and Michelangelo in the invention stakes, plus the fame of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa which proved the difference between these true Renaissance masters. Thankfully, they both remain highly revered and respected by those who understand the importance of this artistic period where so many changes and new ideas came into fluition.
We can conclude that as creative and innovative as Michelangelo was, he was no inventor, in terms of coming up with new products. But he was inventive, in a way, with his new ideas for how art, literature and architecture could work within the Renaissance, and his influential work was to shape much that followed in each of these areas of society.