The idea for a new quarantine hobby — marble sculpture. Oh sure, it can be pricey and a little hazardous… but if we’re talking about LEGO, all you need is a monochrome minifig on hand and a few Tuscan houses to set a scene like Kev.the.builder’s latest creation. In this idyllic build, Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is carving out a new masterpiece. The sculpture looks very polished, being made of a variety of tiles, including a Nexo Knights shield and macaroni tiles. The houses in the background are great examples of Kev’s knack for textured brickwork. My favorite is the dark tan house on the right, with its inset masonry brick door. The exposed studs on its pediment add a nice rustic touch at the top of an upside-down cheese slope archway.
There is just something about this mustachioed fellow’s gaze that is utterly captivating. Perhaps it’s the twinkle of 17th century worldly knowledge in his eyes, or it’s the amazing part usage that went into the face detailing as well as the costume of this LEGO bust built by Grant Davis.
The eyebrows of this piece are each cleverly composed of two reddish brown claw pieces, while the mustache is ingeniously constructed of two tail pieces with technic pin endings clipped to a reddish brown minifigure epaulette. Perhaps the main focal point of this build is the elegant white “ruff” or millstone collar made out of 4×4 flower pieces with rounded petals and 4×2 wedge elements. The studs on the wedges add some texture to the notably ruffled piece of neckwear. It is hard to pick my favorite use of parts here, I also quite enjoy the hat and its use of rounded-bottom 2x2s. Davis’s bust is both cleverly fashioned and true to its subject – the renaissance nobleman in its depiction.
It’s 1496 in Milan, Italy and the renowned artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci is finishing up his latest commission, a fresco spanning the wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Over the years, “The Last Supper” has become a symbol of the Renaissance art movement. More recently, it has been recreated as a LEGO vignette by Joe (jnj_bricks). In this stunning rendition of da Vinci’s masterpiece, Joe creates the appearance of a two-dimensional fresco with the illusion of three-dimensionality using three-dimensional LEGO bricks– it’s mind-boggling!
Let’s take a look at some of Joe’s illusionistic building techniques in “The Last Supper”. First, the floor in the fresco is built slanting upwards. This creates a deep shadow underneath the table, reminiscent of da Vinci’s chiaroscuro technique of contrasting light and shadow in his oil paintings. Next, the walls of the room within the fresco are built using slope bricks instead of standard 1x bricks, making the “back wall” appear to be much farther away than it actually is. Finally, the bordering brick “window” that frames the fresco completes the composition. Early illusionistic wall paintings that date back to ancient Rome would also use this technique to portray a vista into another world.
All of these techniques enhance the forced perspective in the overall build, creating a convincing replica of the real-life fresco. With the amount of realistic details and artistic techniques packed in this build, it’s hard to believe Joe hasn’t apprenticed for the Renaissance master builders!