Da Vinci’s Demons

Prelude to this post : Friday night razzmatazz

Self portraitLeonardo di ser Piero da Vinci

The world depicted in the art of his day was self contained , fixed ,circumscribed .Leonardo set out to break the shell and to evoke movement. He painted souls not bodies with him modern art was born.

Therefore through Leonardo the 15th century which with its confidence in man ,its moral energy and its daring intellectualism had given the world so many masterpieces was drawing to an end, as Leonardo said his last words the 15th century lost a maverick and that was the beginning of the disasters which as well as glories the following century was to bring Italy.

Adoration of the Magi - Current Location Uffizi gallery FLorence

Adoration of the Magi – Current Location Uffizi gallery FLorence

Leonardo wrote on Mona Lisa “Paint the face in such a way that it will be easy to understand what is going on in the mind .Yet the most famous portrait in the world possesses a smile that has become the symbol of mystery.

The Mona Lisa : Current Location - Louvre ,Paris
The Mona Lisa : Current Location – Louvre ,Paris


Pleasure and pain are represented as twins ,as though they were joined together for there is never one without the other; and they turn their backs to each other .They have one and the same foundation ,for the foundation of pleasure is labor with pain ,and the foundations of pain are vain and lascivious pleasures. If you shall choose pleasure know that he has behind him one who will deal out to you tribulation and repentance.  – Leonardo

The Last Supper : Current Location – Santa Maria delle Grazie

Tu O Iddio ,tutto ci vendi a prezzo di fatica (Thou O God sellest everything at the price of hard work)

There may not be in the world an example of another genius so universal, so incapable of fulfilment, so full of yearning for the infinite, so naturally refined, so far ahead of his own century and the following centuries. .. Hippolyte

Virgin of the Rocks :Current Location Louvre ,Paris
Virgin of the Rocks :Current Location Louvre ,Paris

The Last years of da Vinci were passed in ease near Amboise in central France where he had gone to live at the invitaion of the king.His visitors avoided seeing his paralysed hands.Never had his talk been more versatile,never his presence more courtly,nor his smile more understanding .Perharps Death herself wore that smile that light on the lips of mystery and wisdom which da Vinci alone ever captured when she came for Leonardo on May 2,1519.-Donals Culross


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