Painting and Sculpture – Similarities, Differences
Painting and sculpture - what distinguishes the two genres? Regarding my own work as a painter, I learnt that I have to stay with a painting (and work it) until the idea that lies within it finds clear expression. Regarding the task of a sculptor Michelangelo said: "Chip off all that does not look like the Leo."
So it is the idea that in both cases stands at the beginning of a work of art. The idea lies at the core of a stone, but also at the core of any painting. Both, painting and sculpture process, are about releasing this idea, about making it visible. And the clearer the artist has captured the idea, the clearer the painting or sculpture will be.
Towards the end of the fifteenth century there was a "Disputa delle Arti", an argument of the arts, regarding which of the two genres is the superior one.
Leon Battista Alberti wrote that both, painting and sculpture – and with them all the arts – have emerged from drawing. Painting, however, with its possibility of perspective, is able to imitate nature most accurately.
Leonardo da Vinci argued:
Tra la pittura e la scultura non trovo altra differenza, senonché lo scultore conduce le sue opere con maggior fatica di corpo che il pittore, ed il pittore conduce le opere sue con maggior fatica di mente.
[Between painting and sculpture I can see no difference other than that of the sculptor performs his work with greater physical fatigue, the painter with greater mental fatigue.]
A me solea parere che la scultura fussi la lanterna della pittura et che dall'una all'altra fussi quella differenza che è dal sole alla luna.
[I am of the opinion that sculpture is the lantern of painting; between the one and the other discipline is the same difference as between Sun and Moon.]
La scultura e la pittura per il vero sono sorelle, nate di un padre, che è il disegno,; in un sol parto et ad un tempo [...] male fanno coloro che si ingegnano di disunirle e di separarle l'una da l'altra.
[Sculpture and painting are truly sisters descending from a common father: drawing; born together and at the same time [...]; bad do those who are trying to separate the one from the other.]