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LEONARDO DA VINCI a HN »V~-

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Art Classics Leonardo da Vinci Painter, sculptor, architect, inventor, philosopher,

mathematician, theoretician: Leonardo da Vinci w as one of the foremost geniuses of his time, whose importance and influence

is

inestimable. Possessing

boundless talents and an unprecedented intellectual curiosity.

Leonardo strove

to

reinterpret

his

surroundings in new and original ways. This captivating account of the artist's life, art, and historical milieu brings into focus

one of the most

legendary and fascinating individuals of

all

time.


Art Classics


Art Classics

LEONARDO DA VINCI Preface by Mario Pomilio

%ZZOLI \»Si» YORK


)

ART CLASSICS

LEONARDO DA VINCI

First

published in the United States

of America in 2005 by

Director of the series Eileen

Romano

Rizzoli International Publications. Inc.

300 Park Avenue South

Design

New York, NY

Marcello Francone

10010

www.rizzoliusa.com Editor (English edition) Originally published in Italian

by

Julie

Di Filippo

Rizzoli Libri Illustrati

Š 2004 RCS Libri Spa, Milano

Translation

All rights reserved

Miriam Hurley

www.rcslibri.it

(

2003 Skira - Corriere della Sera

Buysschaert&Malerba

First edition

Rizzoli \

Editing and layout

Buvsschaert&Malerba, Milan

AH

rights reserved.

Excerpt from

Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists translated by

George Bull has been

reproduced by permission of

Cover

Lady with an Ermine

Penguin Books Ltd., London.

1488-1490

No

Krakow, Czartoryski

part of this publication

may be

Museum

reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form

Frontispiece

or by any means, electronic,

Self-portrait

mechanical, photocopying,

(detail)

recording, or otherwise, without

Turin, Biblioteca Reale

prior consent

of the publishers.

The publication of works owned by 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 10

987654 32

/

1

the Soprintendenze has been

possible

by the Ministry

Goods and

made

for Cultural

Activities.

Printed in China

Š Foto Archivio Scala, Firenze, 2003 ISBN: 0-8478-2677-5 Library of Congress Control

Number: 2004099908


Contents

7

The "Window

to the Soul"

Mario Pomilio

23

His Life and Art edited by Lucia

75

Aquino

The Masterpieces edited by Lucia

Aquino

Appendix

ISA

Chronological Table

1

/CQ

Geographical Locations of the Paintings

1

(\A

Writings

1 "7

\

Concise Bibliography


*

32

\

i


The "Window

to the Soul"

Mario Pomilio

have always believed strongly

I

fact, I

think the best interpretations of a text are

when we can

all

the

more

leave us what, though not the

as

artist

first treatise

first

with a "modern manner" of painting, a

This

is

precisely

on would be so

much

a

a

why one

new

to write.

author.

I

have to

vision of the tools of

illustrated

It

ushered

modern

in,

along

I

world brings with

its

a

would most love

to

work

by Leonardo. Mind you, not

Leonardo, the painter, commented by the Treatise on Painting,

as a painter.

cultural

it

practical figuration.

but rather his entire Treatise on Painting annotated by images from

work

in

spiritual universe in that the

of the books that

book on Leonardo

its

those instances

of the "poetics" in the

new

and revolutionary discourse about the

total

made in

on painting (he was preceded

had ever before attempted

feeling of being in possession of a

about himself. In

he showed himself so conscientious to

the fifteenth century by Alberti), was the

sense that any

talks

world of

truly enter the intentional

Leonardo

believe in

who

in the artist

For one,

it

would be

knowledge of one of the

greatest of the fifteenth century

a

way

his

to better acquire our shared

greatest texts of Italian prose, possibly the

and the only one

that shares

its

mindset and

express methods with Machiavelli's works; that tension and passion of experience to bring to science, that language those nerves The Virgin and

and membranes of

thought that explode through the energy of synthesis into laws and sentences

Child with Saint

Anne and the Little Lamb (detail), c.

1510-1513

Paris,

of "conclusive brevity" (as Leonardo writes) in which highest expression of Italian Renaissance prose.

be

a

Musee

du Louvre

him

way

we may

Making such

a

to place ourselves at the heart of Leonardo's interests

in the

way

in

which he should be regarded. For there

is

find the

book would and look

at

no doubt: though 7


he was aiming for many things

most wished

to write a

how it lets you come

"how

once with

at

my

to see

his Treatise,

he

and

first

fore-

The Virgin and Child with Saint

painting" manual,

unmatched

into contact with his problems, introduces

you

for

to his

Anne and the Little Lamb (detail),

ideals of art

and educates your eye so

that your vision

grows

in its ability

c.

1510-1513

Paris,

to penetrate his painting,

renewed

and what's more,

to even look at reality with

senses.

For example, reading some of

shadow mixed together with the

the composition of light and qualities of all of the simple

his definitions of painting ("Painting

is

different

and composite colors") immediately brings back

a straightforward consideration of formal facts, releasing every trace of

sentimental dross that could have obscured your view of Leonardo.

read that "he

who

laughs" must have "raised and separated eyebrows,"

and you have something

that introduces

you

Mona

to

than the thousands of words that have been said about "think

[.

„]of the effect of the evening on faces

sweetness

we

it.

[...]

see in them," or that "the gentle lights

Lisa's smile better

You read his famous

how much

"the light that comes

those parts to which that take

it is

down from above

takes

little

away

in

transall

of

shielded by the reliefs of the face, like the lashes

away light from the eye sockets and the nose and much of the mouth

and the chin from the

throat."

The

references immediately multiply and you

are better able to grasp the roots of a pursuit that

the eye's perceptual capacities and

contours because another rule

mannerism), "the shadows that different darknesses [...] as its

grace and

end imperceptibly

the pleasant and delightful shadows," and that "the flesh keeps a

parency, "and

You

changeable movement."

is

[.

.

many

.]

refined to the limits of

not satiated in changing shadows and

which there

(in

is

is

already the entirety of

cover an irregular body will be of many

as the varieties that

Or perhaps you go

the bodies lighted either by true color of these bodies it is

not

all

the

body and

to the discussions of colors

and you find another quote: "We can almost never say

illuminates

make

of this color"; you also find:

that the surfaces of

[...]. If

"No

the light that

color that reflects

Musee

du Louvre


*


Madonna

in the surface

and Child (Madonna of

will

be mixed with competitions from the other colors reflected that

the

same

the Carnation) (detail),

1470 Munich, Alte Pinakothek

c.

of another body colors this body with

place,"

and immediately from painting

own

its

to painting

color,

but

it

fall in

you are able

to look with a strengthened sensibility at the changing greens, blues, pinks,

browns of the

you take

instance,

Annunciation

on

flesh,

clothes,

on the surrounding elements and,

in the differentiated

in Florence.

Or

melting of light on the figures in the

consider the rules of the "multiplication of

the airs" and this in particular: "All bodies together and each

surrounding

air

with

its

for

infinite similitudes,"

itself fills

the

and you have within your

grasp Leonardos magic, that lyrical multiplication of references (think of

amalgam of

the Virgin of the Rocks) resolved in a lofty

Then

there

the massive

amount of observations about

As you read them, you have

the infinite care that

Leonardo used

his effort to place the "passion"

he

the "demonstra-

and the movements of the limbs, the muscles, the positions of the

tive acts"

bodies.

is

tonal assonances.

said, again

a

thousand encouragements to follow

to vary expressions

and the "act"

predating mannerist

in precise relationship (because

taste, "that figure is

in his act best expresses the passion of his soul").

Treatise the precepts for plants,

night with

little light

and which

it is

because you

pierced by the light of the

air":

most laudable

You

which Leonardo wanted

green, there blue-ish, and which should be that ends in the air,"

and movements and

will see

also find in the

to

"much darker

make

suggested to

alights

and better enjoys the "most beautiful greens"

on

"as

a

be here yellow-

[...] in

them the same

and your eye

that

that part

you see them as a

at

dark color

thousand

details

that any painter has ever

given us in the very delicate inlay of the leaves behind the portrait of Ginevra

Benci

up

in

Washington, and the extraordinary tonal variety of the trees lined

in the

down

background of the Annunciation. And

finally, if

you want

to

sit

to contemplate the inexhaustible fascination of Leonardo's "aerial

perspective" on the great air saturated with blue in his backgrounds, his

mixing of white and pink, you are again

satisfied in the Treatise

and you 11


read that "great distance encompasses quantity that

we

much

find "between the eye

almost the color of the

air

within

it"

and for the great

and the mountains,

that

and "the country landscapes have

air";

seem blue the

all

more

blue the further they are from the eye and this blue becomes lighter the closer

it

gets to the horizon," but

must become

lighter the

the horizon has no mountains "the sky

if

more you make it finish low"; and if "the sun reddens

the clouds on the horizon, the things that are dressed in blue due to the distance will

be affected by

this blush";

and we must

from the eyes that they are only

far

aries"

spots, not finished, of confused

and make them "selected when

We

could go on like

this forever.

the problem of Leonardo

is still

also "put in [...] the things so

cloudy and high in the evening."

it is

Yet

bound-

we

realize that despite all of this,

open once we

try to

go from the

results to

the premises and to the type of relationship that he institutes between practice

and theory and, more widely, between

serves

first

all

notion of nature.

the

iors.

and

science.

and foremost for defining the methodological

expects of the painter. tific

art

more loved

This places

It is

the

it

also immediately presents the

It

more

it

is

more

still,

nation of

all

evident

moment

for the clarity with

is still

art

when

and

it

it is

the very

the primary theme of

his vision as a painter.

w^e evaluate the extraordinary innovative

and vision, which

in addition to possessing the fasci-

and

of birth of modern science,

which he

law and experimental

between

a scien-

of the great beginnings and makes Leonardo's "naturalism" or

"scientism" the

some ways

problem of

of his interests as a thinker and

and almost the very content of

quality of this conception

Leonardo

reveals the mathematical necessity of its behav-

foundation of his conception of the world, making

There

rigor that

precisely this, this "nature" elevated to science

at the center

his artistic pursuit

Because science

intuits the relationship

results;

he brought about

if

for nothing else than

between phenomenon,

a true revolution

which

in

going on, within the eternal problem of the relationships

reality.

For the

first

time with his scientism, there

is

rather

than a fact to reproduce, a fact to investigate and through which an insatiable 12


}

new expressive methods

experimentalism ceaselessly gathers

which would end up

tools for investigating reality in an effort sive, yet this is It is

him

the aspect of

interesting

and

it is

feel

we talk about

telling:

Leonardo's message

a bit disper-

that brings us closest to him.

still

the painter and the

mind

how much you try to stick to your topic,

goes with the thinker and no matter

you

or, all together,

our

in the center of

alternatives,

if

for

no

other reason that this dilemma between science and art that he passed on to us,

which

answers

is still

today— in

him seems

less

and

completely ours and for which,

Having

said that,

Leonardo out of

much

I

do not wish

his time.

to

He was

at first sight

he seems

to take

into the

fall

indeed a

he brought to completion

as

fit

cannot use his

harmoniously to

—the premises—experimental mindset — from which he took the

and inspirations which he introduced into the

steps

we

tenable to us today

are an inalienable part of our cultural

while

appeared to

that a synthesis that less

if

arts.

common trap of removing

man

of his time,

a century of reflection

up the precept of art

if

only in so

about

art.

as imitation,

Yet,

which

he was handed down to him by centuries of long tradition that flowered fifteenth century pursuits,

you

will

soon recognize that accepting

saying, for instance "painting represents the

with more truth and certainty" does not to

it

for him.

certainty"

On

the contrary,

and wanting,

for

it

works of nature

at all

mean

that this

more accent on

puts

one example,

it

in

and

to the senses is all

there

that "truth

is

and

to perfect the fifteenth-century

—the diminishing of perspective — the

experiments on perspective and study three of these bodies with distance, of colors and of

superb dream of a

full figurative

aerial

mastery of

to realize

means more than

reality. It

anything embarking on the most adventurous of explorations because following pages .

The Annunciation (

nature

is full

.

.

11

of infinite reasons that there never

were

in experiences,

[...] is

no more than

,!.V ,JL 14//— 14/

without the science of these reasons "the painter

Florence,

mirror which copies slavishly everything placed in front of

,

Galleria degli Uffizi

no consciousness of the existence of these things

»

1 ;

it

a

and which has

1

he therefore wishes to 13


'

30


T

Mb I

~-


go outside of

a

merely reflected nature, to the inside of a nature explored

in its causes, to

though

it

demand an experimental method

closes within

itself, it

him

leads

in

to science,

view of a study

that,

and from there to

Madonna and Child (Madonna of the Carnation)

art, (detail),

it

remains coherent everywhere. In other words, he wants to open a perpetual

exchange and translate the problems of imitation and

art

everywhere into

problems of consciousness and science (and, of course, vice the question of

how

see and from here

and

to imitate

we come

especially of optics

visual universes that

it

we

versa).

arrive at the other question of

From

how we

to the "last principles" of geometry, physics

and the collection of laws

and the

that investigate

discovers cultivates the magnificent, impossible

ambition of translating them into complete figurative experiences.

So and, in

I

how

would

is it

that

from

of

all

say, subjective,

he ends up

this,

a painter

who

Of

course, this

comes

at least in

part from his

neoplatonic traces that, while not conflicting with his scientism the two coexist in the civilization of which he

nature,

which

made by

calls

instance, the writer

[...].

depends

is

a part)

the same

guided him

science

a

still

now

intact

wonderment of

("Every natural action

These are the miracles!") and

how

is

the

is

in the next

moon?") and

remains a guarantee of the poetic edge of Leonardo's

in the first place

wanting to penetrate the

that

do with

("The moon, slow and grave,

in everything the artist

in

also has to

upon the man of

shortest route

scientism. It

It

is

(in

harmony" the "beauty of the world" and the

in fixing in "proportional

"ornaments of nature."

so lyrical

impalpable, best able to create visions suspended

zones of near unreality?

way that

is

on the quality of this scientism which,

last principles

no longer immediately

a portrait, but

of things and give you a nature is

mediated through

its

internal

behaviors, almost wears out things in view of the causes, in the eagerness to

present you the seen and the indiscernible together, spiritualizes almost to a point of excess as

he liked to This

16

is

call

and makes Leonardo's eye

truly a

"window

to the soul"

it.

the fact of the matter: that gradually as Leonardo explores the

1470 Munich, Alte Pinakothek

c.


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Diagram from

laws of optics he discovers the entirely phenomenological quality of every-

Yitruvio's

De architectura, about proportions of the

human

Leonardo's

hand c.

(detail),

1492 Venice,

realizes

how much image

he studied the differences between perspective image and

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the

so-called marginal aberrations

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and the reasons

its

we know

hopeless ^reproducibility both as relief and as perspective (and

body with notes written in

hand he

thing that happens under our eyes and on the one

retinal

which the

for

"painting cannot appear distinct as natural things"), and on the other that reality

does not offer

itself

on

its

own but

only through the effects that our

Gallerie

dell'Accademia

eyes take from itself:

it.

These

effects are light

optical effects or illusions, that

is

and dark, colors and perspective

to say, that can

depending on the points of view, distances,

lights,

be changed

hours, for which not only

the "things seen from afar are disproportional," but from one the next "the such, the it

same thing seen

more

show

will

his study tries to

itself to

mode

ties as relative

in the

end

of representing things, the

and must recognize

in the

moment

be of different

sizes."

The more

more

it

feels

in the

tries to act

it

our visual

words of

perspective, that the relationship of the eye with the world

is

a

was

totally alien to

how he was

tific

make the representation

had necessarily

subjective

to

in

and throw open the doors and

and

We

him

to

contem-

to our eyes, his

an expansion of the sphere of the to the self of the observer.

While

it is

a large part of fifteenth-century painting

that the scene depicted lives within

relationships

we mean

of the outside world systematic and scien-

be solved

typical of medieval painting

modern

oriented and the solutions that the laws

framework of a system of relationships referenced

attempt to

facul-

Leonardo's mentality.

of optics and the studies on perspective set him, leading plate the

on

a relationship

of the spirit with the world of the eye. This does not mean, that

merely mean that for

As

that the "science of painting" consists

"predicaments of the eye," or

to talk about a relativism that

to

mathematicize and objectivize, the more

discovers the subjectivity of our sensations.

an absolute

infinitely

in a precision of

itself,

complete

in a

system of internal

meanings that make them seem

ferent to the presence of the person looking at

it,

indif-

even when perspective 19


was attempted or achieved tator

and the viewer

(it is

really a devotional event

you are

also a protagonist in that

contrary,

he pulls you into

almost as It

if it

may be

Leonardo's moder-

as witness), possibly the essence of

nity lies in the fact of having turned

it

it

On

the

making you

feel

you are not excluded from

and makes you an

new

which

into an emotional event in

were waiting to be completed

in this, in the

God as spec-

with

in

active part,

your eye

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

role given to the spectator, that

it.

in

your

soul.

we have

the

primary reason behind the kind of Copernican revolution that the appearance of Leonardo brought to painting; the quiet and lofty conversations in

which he involves us and attribute to

from

same margin of mystery

that actually comes, rather than so

we

much from

usually

symbolic

our interpreting

according to an ever-changing fabric, susceptible to

new impressions

(and don't the evocative power of so a little

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;and without too many

the walls and clouds that these

that

his offering himself to the intervention of

residues, spirit

him and

in the

many of his

things even

judgments

historic

make

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;of the famous spots on

Leonardo suggested the painter look

"awaken the genius of the painter

to

us think

new inventions" and

at

because

"this

is

like

the ringing of bells in which one can understand whatever one wants to")? Yet, there

universe was not a act of is

at

all

of this. If we consider that Leonardo's

It is

always surprised in motion or in the

another reason for

is

still

universe.

changing and the feeling looms that the being

making

itself

is

its

beauty. Blink

and look

what you see was not there before and what was there understand from

and

this insertion

a

first

no

it

again:

longer."

We

nature in which everything flows

("The water that you touch from the

which went and the

is

at

of the concept of time in the traditional picto-

concept of space and the notion of diversifies

it

always changeable and an unrepeatable becoming. "Look

the light," he says, "and consider

rial

within time and

rivers

of that which comes: such

is

is

the last of that

present time"), the

importance that Leonardo puts on the issue of "mutation," the unstable, the undecided, the fleeting, of that which "transforms as 20

it

goes" and

all


makes

that

it

be dissolving

so that in his paintings the being appears to

an epiphany of becoming,

made

as

is

it

by the moments of the

in

loftiest

suspension, absolutely perfect moments, instants, yet in which awareness

looms of the ephemeral quality of the

on the point

actual, beautiful

which the passing of the hour sends them

in

absolutely harmonious presents, but as

of their unrepeatability in

and

all

of

are constantly

its

if

fragility

is all

says

lost,

Leonardo of painting

of the Renaissance's dream of perfec-

"you keep the fleeting beauties

alive [...]

which

changed by time."

Leonardo's entire ceuvre of phenomenological

from the awareness of the inconstancy

starts

comparable to the very strong awareness of

reality,

the scientist of the inconstancy of physical that the rivers,

be

to

they were broken by the feeling

"Oh marvelous science,"

an exclamation in which there

tion

moments stopped

gnawing the

valleys,

that nature takes pleasure "in

reality.

Just as the scientist intuits

continuously change the landscape or

making continuous

lives

and forms," the

painter was highly sensitive to the infinite variety that the action of time

brings to the appearance of

and I

as

reality. It is in this

key of a suspended vision

poised between two bats of the eye and already ready to disintegrate,

can come more often to Leonardo's painting and

feel

the

why of the

fable fleetingness of the expression of his faces, of the shadings

inef-

and incom-

pleteness of his landscapes, of his explorations of shadow, of his interest

and the

in the gesture

state of

mind which

in

manifesting

itself

seems

dawn

already about to dissolve, just as in his preference for the lights of

and dusk and the backgrounds turned the atmosphere

is

in

and

and the moments

most indecisive and impalpable and the

of the "beauty of the world" lofty

to blue

is

we

get out of

it.

Almost

an absolute expression the perfection of an hour that

tegrate,

ator of

it is

as if

human

he wanted to save

things,"

it

is

which would soon have "undone"

as

that if,

is

both

in fixing

about to

disin-

this "fast

pred-

just

from the trap of time,

which

fleeting essence

most evident and the quality

fleeting with the joy that

in

it.

21


His Life and Art

Leonardo Da Vinci's name evokes the concept of genius

He

ination.

in the public

imag-

lived in an era (despite

down

man

the image to us of a

So many virtues

strength.

in

one body! " But

then he quickly adds: "For he

"new world," the

learn

"man

the concept of universe"), in

and the means and

him

and uniqueness (La

Mente

split:

the center of the

which the contrast between

his aspirations

available to

at

reveal

all

of his humanity

to us today. Cesare Luporini

issues that

which he worked

good of

character of

between

art

them gave them up. In

arithmetic, during

the few months that he applied himself to

it,

he made such progress that he often perplexed

his

culties that

master by the doubts and

he propounded.

He

diffi-

gave some

play on the lute, improvising songs most

its

utility

men, the cognitive and

realistic

and when he had begun

he explored and on

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;nature, science and

all

things,

himself to

time to the study of music, and learned to

)

method, the experiment, the machine, for the

many

set

describes the

di Leonardo, 1953

"The

tools

whom

"genius combined with beauty, grace and

the invention of printing, the discover}' of the "rebirth" of the arts, and

in

art,

and science

the relationship

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;were laden with

divinely."

Recent studies have also revealed

an interesting

how

to

fact.

The

artist

did not

know

do sums; he could not solve the

simplest mathematical operations.

could not read Greek texts and

He

also

in all likeli-

the future in relationship to his times. These

hood he read Latin

would be some of the

of some skilled friends. Yet, this man's great

the

decisive issues to form

modern world." Leonardo was ahead

of

curiosity, his extraordinary ability to visually

analyze natural

his times.

Giorgio Vasari, biographer from Arezzo

texts only with the help

phenomenon transposed

through figurative representation, seems

ulti-

and author of Lives of the Most Eminent

mately to be one of his "genius" qualities.

and Architects, has passed

This bring us to the core of this essay: his

Painters, Sculptors

23


on page 22 Saint ]erome (detail),

c.

1480

Vatican City, Pinacoteca Vaticana

Leonardo surpassed

painting.

century figurative tradition in theory and artistic practice.

That tradition was founded

on the method of

linear perspective alone,

which he considered

insufficient.

Nature

should be represented through the mental process of the

artist

perspective" to his Treatise

it,

who

applies an "aerial

he well explained

as

His grandfather Antonio,

fifteenth-

on Painting. This essay very

in

likely

house Leonardo spent

news of his

brings us the

15

He was

how Leonardo above any other

The works

is

clearly

demonstrates

considered painting to be artistic

chronological ordering of Da Vinci's

based mainly on

have few documented are about

works

have been

lost.

that

facts

style

because

we

and many of them

were never finished or

Today we can use modern

at

to

three in the

our 10:30 p.m.].

notary and part of a wealthy family of land

owners

in the

del

marry

Empoli countryside, and

have

she

who would soon

a certain

"Achattabriga di Piero

about

made

dates from a

It

13, 1493."

We

when Leonardo moved

may have been

already there in 1464, the year in

Amadori, died and was buried

hidden from

The

his first wife, Albiera di

first

Giovanni

in Florence.

documented news we have

the eye by paints in order to study the origin

annual payment

of the works and sometimes their chronology.

Compagnia

24

to

after his father,

ography, reflectography and infrared photogdetails

visit

do not know

which

show us new

from

to her son in Milan: "Caterina

with certainty

who was

comes

mother

own hand and

came on July

Florence.

the

diagnostic techniques on the paintings (radi-

raphy) that

there-

Vacca from Vinci." The terse note we

Leonardo's

expression.

"My grandson

the illegitimate son of Ser Piero,

after

It

birth.

morning [corresponding

some of his

manual of rules.

his early childhood,

[1452] on Saturday

Caterina, a peasant

as a

whose

was born, son of my son, Ser Piero, on April

dates to his time in Milan and was taken by students, such as Cesare da Sesto,

in

di

made

in

is

an

1472 to the

San Luca, an association of


Female Head Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi.

Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle

Stampe

Florentine painters, a predecessor of the sixteenth century

Accademia

Disegno. Belonging to

delle Arti del

was

this association

a

common practice among those practicing art The Compagnia had

in the city.

existed since

the fourteenth century, was hierarchically

structured, had

members had

its

to respect

religious character

to Saint

own

statute that the

and an

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;with

essentially

special devotion

Luke the Evangelist

(he was also a

painter in the Christian tradition)

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

that took

the form of artistic practice accompanied by religious exercises.

The Compagnia

di

San

Luca should not be confused with the Arte dei

Medici e degli

Speziali, as this

was

a full-

fledged guild in which membership required a registration fee.

Leonardo was had,

art

at

course, at this point,

in his twenties

strictly

completed

Of

speaking,

and

his training

been

already

Verrocchio's multidisciplinary

workshop. However, two documents

from the spring/summer of 1476 show that he was

still

"Lionardo

working with

di Ser Piero

this

da Vinci

artist. is

with 25


Adoration of the Magi (detail), 1481-1482 Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

Andrea del Verrochio." These papers are

Sandro

not about

Pietro Perugino, to

artistic

events or census state-

ments, but a condemning note on his sexuality,

an anonymous report to the

della

Notte of the

Ufficiali

city of Florence, a

magis-

trature that oversaw proper citizen conduct, that

of

Leonardo and three others were accused

sodomy with

To be

a certain

true to the facts,

Jacopo

we should

Domenico Ghirlandaio,

Botticelli,

whom

were added the

permanent students Leonardo and Lorenzo di Credi,

and the sculptor Francesco

Simone Ferrucci. The

di

figurative language

that developed in this multidisciplinary

environment could accurately be defined

Saltarelli.

"Verrocchiesque" with the result that

note that

have

as

we now

difficulty distinguishing Verrocchio's

the report bears an acquittal of the accused

works from those of his students. The emula-

in the

tion of his disciplines

margins.

We

hear, again

from Vasari, how Ser

workshop master's

and collaborators of the

style

was not something

Piero realized his son's great talent for

looked down upon between the fifteenth

drawing and placed him

and sixteenth

of his

good

in the

workshop

friend, Verrocchio. This likely

a

matter of having

happened around the mid- 1470s when

that

Leonardo was the

for

workshop

(this

right age for entering a

was between nine and

twelve of age). Here he could learn the special

skills that a

all

of

leading Florentine

centuries. It

made

it

uniformity of

all

of those

26

was

this

in the

stylistic

who worked on

it.

In addition to his regular disciplines of

versatility

around Verrocchio's workshop, including

it

agreed-upon times, thanks to the

There was reason

century revolved

as

many works and complete them

painting, sculpture

of the late fifteenth

little skill

possible to accept commissions

studio such as that of Andrea's had to offer. that the greatest masters

was not considered

took the form of carpentry, casting

and mechanics

copper

and drawing, Verrocchio's

ball

in general.

The work of

the

on the cupola of Florence's


Duomo dates to

1471.

complement the

A worthy epilogue to emblematic monu-

city's

della

neve addi 5 d'Aghosto 1473" (Santa

Maria della Neve on August

Our

5, 1473).

ment was made by Verrocchio. Leonardo

attention

would participate

perched on the left-hand ridge but by the

would not

in the event,

forget to note

many

which he years later

(about 1510) on a piece of paper kept in Paris.

The

basis for the master's teaching

method was drawing, all artistic

a

technique shared by

disciplines. In Verrocchio's

work-

is

not captured by the small castle

depiction of nature with that sprays as if

on the

we can

hear

its

valley beneath;

have quickly realized

landscapes as some of the backgrounds of the

"black and white" pen on linen canvas

are ascribed to

tors

who used

earth models clad in "filled-

in" cloths.

Drawing was the

work of the

artistic path,

basic ground-

and was considered

almost

his pupil's talent for

compositions he prepared

This practice was adopted by sculp-

it is

Verrocchio must

its roar.

shop, a special type of drawing was used:

(rensa).

large waterfall

in the

workshop

Leonardo (Madonna with Child

and Angels, London, National

Gallery;

two Madonnas with Child now Gemaldegalerie specialty,

in Berlin).

and the

at

Along with

this

Leonardo's talent for portraying

the representation of movement and nature.

animals gave Vasari another anecdote. Ser

work dated

Piero, again, this time acting as an interme-

It is

not surprising that the

by Leonardo was

first

pen and

a

the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle

in

diary between a country

Stampe

at

have a round piece from

the Galleria degli Uffizi) portraying on the recto a

mountain landscape

corner of which the teristic left-leaning

his

28

artist,

in the

upper

left

with his charac-

handwriting, caused by

being left-handed, wrote

man who wanted

(now

bistro

"di' di s.ta

Maria

owned

painted. After

Leonardo had had

turned, he painted on fearful animal."

The

a fig tree that

it

a "horrible

animal's realism

to

he it

and

was so

great that the painter's father realized that rather than give the

round piece back

to

its


Study for the apostle Philip

Windsor

Castle, Royal Library

The Royal Collection Š 2003, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth

legitimate owner, he could give

merchants

who

sold

it

to the

to

it

some

duke of Milan

for three

hundred ducats. Maybe Leonardo

managed

the beast so well because of the

love he had for animals. in passing places

II

As Vasari

tells us,

where birds were sold "he

would take them out of

their cages,

and

paying the price that was asked for them,

would to

let

them

them

away

fly

into the

air,

restoring

their lost liberty."

His surviving drawings of animals evidence

this

passion that

in his painting.

vivacity of the

We

little

we

find not least

need only mention the

dog and the

fish in the

painting of Tobias and the Angel in the

National Gallery in London, which, though attributed to Verrocchio's workshop, saw

Leonardo's hand there

is

in these

two animals; then

the tremor of fear that raises the fur

of the ermine in the Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani; not to

mention the serpents

head of Medusa (precursor Caravaggio that at

is

now

to the

in the

one by

in the Uffizi),

which

the time, according to Vasari, was in 29


Andrea

di

Cione, called

Verrocchio and Leonardo

and the Angel 1470-1480 London, National Gallerv Tobias

(detail),

Cosimo Is Guardaroba

at

Vecchio, but has unfortunately been

the so-called

lost.

The Madonna of the Pomegranate, now at

National

the

Washington,

is

Gallery

shows

it

in

pictorial

his origins in the

Verrocchiesque environment, so that in the past

Art

of

Leonardos oldest

essay. It clearly

The same type

the Palazzo

much

so

has sometimes been

particulars are

Madonna of

found

in

the Carnation

(Munich, Alte Pinakothek) which must have

been

painted

immediately

after

the

Washington Madonna and which strongly reflects the as

Verrocchiesque environment,

shown by the yellow drapery

ground. In

this painting, the

in the fore-

young painter

technique to compete

attributed to Verrocchio himself or to his

experimented with

very faithful student Lorenzo di Credi. Yet,

with Flemish painting, of which some influ-

there

is

a distinct fineness in the execution

oil

ences had reached Florence.

The

vision

is

of the delicate and precise touch, a certain

highly effective as Leonardo succeeds in

transparency of the flesh that can only be

creating a translucent surface and giving

ascribed to Leonardo students.

among

Then there

is

his

Verrocchio's

manner of

painting the draping of the clothes of which

we

find precise examples in the studies on

canvas mentioned above.

the light mobility.

The work

is

The

Leonardo's

from

fact that

the end of the 1460's (around 1469: a

been

period in which Andrea took

of these

a trip to

the

Veneto, possibly bringing his young pupil with him as

is

that of Bellini,

shown by

the style close to

whose United

Marani recognized.

States painting

aura of mystery surrounding

lost.

life is

many

partly

due

to the

of his works have

Attesting to the existence of

we have

studies

done by

his

some hand

or reflections of them in paintings attributed to his followers.

Of

others,

we

the news that sources give us.

mentioned the

"fig tree

only have

We

wood" and

already

the head 31


of Medusa. According to Vasari, Leonardo

Florence,

also painted a watercolor cartoon of the

painting technique.

woven

Original Sin for a tapestry to be

in

If

is

we

skillfully

mingled with Flemish

accept the hypothesis that the

Flanders for the king of Portugal, which was

portrait

never completed. Though, in Vasari's times,

ambassador Bernardo Bembo, who was

this

cartoon

is

mentioned

in the

house of

Ottaviano de' Medici; and an angel like the

head of Medusa, Cosimo had

a

that,

work

was

a

commission from the Venetian

platonically in love with Ginevra,

reflects

it

the environment of the Florence in which

Leonardo found himself working.

It

bloom of the Laurentian

"with the head of an angel raising one arm,

city in the full

which

which was equally humanistic and

is

foreshortened as

it

comes forward

from the shoulder to the elbow, and a

hand

was

to

also a

made

its

breast with the other." There

drawing of Neptune

for his friend

was so

lifting

realistic that

it

in the sea

cratic.

was

era,

aristo-

Lorenzo de' Medici, better known

The Magnificent, upon father Piero in 1469,

a

as

the death of his

assumed the leader-

Antonio Segni, which

ship of the affairs of city government and

seemed

quickly

alive; portraits

became

a

commissioner and patron

of Amerigo Vespucci and "Scaramuccio

of artists. Lorenzo was a friend and protector

Capitano de' Zingani." Though the two

of the Ginevra-Bernardo couple, to the point

portraits

were

lost

we have

an idea of the

Leonardesque conception of genre

at that time,

this painting

by admiring the so-called

of sending the

woman two consoling sonnets

after the final

departure of the ambassador.

It

was no

secret that Verrocchio

Ginevra de' Benci (Washington, D.C.,

Lorenzo's favorite

National Gallery of Art) in which the

for his father

Verrocchiesque type of the Lady with

church of San Lorenzo.

Bouquet, 32

now

at

the

Museo

del Bargello in

a putto

artists.

was one of

He made the tomb

and uncle Giovanni

He

in the

probably made

with the dolphin for the fountain in


Study for two heads of soldiers c.

1503-1504, for the painting

Battle ofAnghutri

Budapest, Szepmiiveszeti

Museum

the garden of Villa di Careggi and the relief

representing an ideal portrait of "Scipione"

with armor and helmet with magnificent ornamentation, in whose creation Leonardo likely

took part.

According to Anonymous Magliabechiano

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;who

joins Vasari as an invaluable art history

source

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; even

Lorenzo

Leonardo passed through

de' Medici's

famous garden (Giardino

di San Marco), a kind of school of painters, sculptors

young

and noblemen, whose

custodian and director was the sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni. in front of the

The garden was

located

Dominican convent of San

Marco. Inside there were antique sculptures

and marbles, sarcophagis and fountains, the perfect place to practice sculpture.

On

January

10, 1478, a

few months

before the Pazzi conspiracy, in

which Lorenzo's brother, Giuliano,

was murdered, Leonardo received an

ment from the Priors of the

city of

assign-

Florence

with a formal, solemn document, as were 33


^^k. -!'":" v.

.»


previous pages

Adoration of the Magi (detail), 1481-1482 Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

been revealed. The work was

the Deliberazioni dei Signori e Collegi

had not

(currently preserved in the Archive of the

later given to Ghirlandaio,

State of Florence), to paint the altarpiece for

completed

The

The Florentine

painting was not specified.

government wanted altarpiece painted

to replace the existing

by Bernardo Daddi

in

but was only

1486 by Filippino Lippi.

was

in the Uffizi

also

conceived under Verrocchio's influence, as

evidenced

in the oval jewel that

hangs from

the triple-loop necklace, hidden under the

current

paint

(in

addition

to

the

oft-

become obsolete and too

mentioned comparison between the marble

from contemporary fashions, with one

base of the lectern for the tomb of Giovanni

1355, which had far

subject of the

in

The Annunciation

the chapel of the Palazzo della Signoria dedi-

cated to Saint Bernard.

yet

that

would

reflect

contemporary

mere seventeen years sion

had been given

another prominent

earlier,

tastes.

A

the commis-

to Piero del Pollaiolo,

artist in

Florence's late

fifteenth-century art scene. He, however,

refused

it.

On March

16, 1478,

Leonardo

received twenty-five large florins for the job, a considerable

sum, and a sign that the

had already undertaken the work

in

and Piero in the

The

de' Medici,

made by Verrocchio

same time period

jewel's

in

San Lorenzo).

existence was

infrared studies

made on

1999. This jewel can be

pendants worn by

the painting in

compared

women

or

paintings and drawings that

artist

Verrocchio's workshop.

some

modern

studies

by

revealed

We

to

many

Madonnas on came out of can look

on works of

art

at

on the

way, probably by drawings, though nothing

subject of this piece's Verrochioesque origins

has survived. This commission, though

to

unfinished,

is

significant

because

an important sign of trust

was 36

still

starting out, a

in

young

an

it

it is

serves as

artist

talent

who

which

show

how much

approaching cannot

fail

the

manner

of

art history has

changed.

We

to notice the fact that the affinity

of the nature portrayed in the Annunciation


and the nature

The Baptism of Christ by Verrocchio

invisible to the bare eye in the

Baptism (known through technical studies

now

performed on the painting)

painting that

evidence of

a

artistic climates.

about

the

upon

it:

as well

the Uffizi and

in

we have

is

the only

discussed so far of

which sixteenth-century sources speak.

conception of the same

According to

We

master saw the angel painted by Leonardo

original

Annunciation

a solid basis

two works,

for the close dates of the as

is

kept

is

should add

a

destination

point

of

the

he decided

a

famous Vasari

story,

once the

to stop practicing this art

and

as a quite striking fact bears

dedicate himself exclusively to sculpture:

the silence of the sources. As

"Lionardo's angel was better than Andrea's

which was the cause of Andrea's

Antonio Natali has argued,

it is

likely that the

figures,

Olivetana church was not

its

original loca-

never touching colors again, being angry that

tion because Vasari's silence could indicate

was not found

that the painting

in the

sixteenth century in this monastic complex.

Vasari in a

knew about Leonardo's

work by Verrocchio, such

Would he have that

failed to

was completely

his?

participation

as the Baptism.

mention

a painting

The omission seems

a

boy should know more than he." The work

has often been considered emblematic of the

teamwork done

in

shops. However,

more

Renaissance

how Leonardo's work should be considered not the

first

collaboration of a

in his master's

workshop but

whose

tion of a painting,

had friendly relationships with the monk,

reconsidered.

Don

started by the master

that

Pitti,

monastery and

who was

also prior of

who Vasari quotes

times in his autobiography, calling

amicissimo (close friend).

several

him

his

work-

recent criticism shows

strange, particularly considering that Vasari

Miniato

artist

(Botticelli's

young

as the

fates

artist

comple-

should be

The Baptism may have been

name

and

his

students

has been suggested for

the angel painted next to Leonardo's) a few years earlier and then completed at the

end 37


of the 70s. In that era, Leonardo had his

Benci).

own

drapery of the Leonardo angel by the fabric

rial

specific artistic personality.

shaping of

The

picto-

a different quality level

clear at even a cursory.glance.

The

is

sight of

the beautiful and expertly executed angel

It

showed the

also

trace left

on the

worn by Leonardo, which

of the clothes

inadvertently brushed the newly laid

and impressed

his real life

oil

mark.

shown from behind but with the head turned to the side and obliquely from below to look

up

and space

Florentine painting. that

in

The

Leonardo affected

Florence for Milan,

unique

Leonardo proved the maturity and

human

artistic

contemporary

achieved in two

at Christ, constitutes a

case for mastery of the anatomy, the

structure

Before leaving

imitation of reality in the

background

development

monochrome

he

had

masterpieces,

which, however, remained incomplete: Saint

Jerome (Vatican

Pinacoteca Vaticana)

City,

landscape can be taken as emblematic of his

and the Adoration of the Magi (Florence,

way of conceiving

Galleria degli Uffizi).

painting:

an

open

The unfinished nature

window, beyond which the eye glimpses

of the two works gives us valuable infor-

the image of a world perceived with such

mation about their genesis. The

a level of simulation that

it

could be taken

Recent during the

some

scientific analysis last

undertaken

restoration (1998) revealed

interesting things about this painting:

in Christ's

face

we can

see the use of a

human anatomy and

surrounding

space

relationship to

"within

which the

three-dimensionally placed,

kneeling saint

is

almost as

were

if it

its

a portrayal of a historic

sculpture that measures with

its

finger tip to soften color transitions on his

the spatial directions (how can

skin (as in the portrait of Ginevra de'

think of knowledge of

38

an

example of the knowledge he had achieved of

for a real view.

first is

arts all of

we

fail

to

some ancient models


Study for Leda

Windsor Castle, Royal Library The Royal Collection Š 2003,

Her Majesty Queen

like

Elizabeth

il

one of Niobe's children)" (Marani).

The Adoration of the Magi is

a

summaby the

tion of the great progress achieved artist

on nature and the motions of the

human

being. In this piece,

vates in these

Leonardo inno-

ways the figurative canons of

the sacred event to place himself in a

groundbreaking role century Florentine

in the late fifteenth-

more

scene,

artistic

current than Verrocchio, Lorenzo di Credi, Botticelli or Filippino Lippi.

The monks of

San Donato a Scopeto would give

this

same

commission that Leonardo never finished

human

fifteen years later to Lippi. In the

vortex created in the painting, in which almost

show

all

a

of the figures move, the bodies

composition of the masses

Ghiberti's

style,

a

flexibility

in

following

Masaccio's ideals and Donatellos mobility; the greatest artists of the fifteenth century are brought together in a single scene. It is

about

clear

this

how much Leonardo

composition by

his

thought

many

studies

and preparatory drawings, one of which, 39


kept in the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle

duke only

Stampe

his

inv.

at

the Uffizi (Studio di Prospettiva,

436 E

shows the pursuit of

recto)

a

power

in 1492,

but had

since 1480. This man's ambition

turned the Milanese court into one of the

and most

prospective definition of the space for the

richest

characters and a majestic architectural

compete with Florence.

we intuit through

construction that

the inter-

weaving of lines. Leonardo was twenty-nine

when he conceived full artistic vigor;

this painting.

the comparison

He was is

in

natural

in fact exercised

fertile in Italy, to It

was

be able to a refined

center of humanist culture and a center of attraction for scientists, artists suffice to

and

writers,

mention the names of the architect

Donato Bramante, the mathematician Luca and the musician Franchino Gaffurio,

with the great figurative revolutionary that

Pacioli

was Masaccio

possibly painted by Leonardo in a

century,

who

The

died

small

these years.

at

the beginning of the at

The

critic

it

from

According to the sources, Leonardo was invited to Milan

by Lorenzo the Magnificent,

as the portrait

along with Atalante Miglioretti, an expert

Regardless

player of a silver lyre in the shape of a horse's

little girl.

the different existing copies,

be traced back

is

Bernhard Berenson

(1916) scathingly described

of a bald, toothless

preserved in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.

only twenty-eight.

Madonna Benois

all

of which can

to the Florentine environ-

skull that

he made himself (we have already

mentioned that Leonardo was

ment, indicate the composition's immediate

music and song). Yet,

success.

unsigned edition us

t

I 40

was

likely in

September of 1482

Leonardo moved o!

Ludovico

il

work

that

about

the

a letter

also skilled in

included in an

in the

Codice Atlantico

tells

actual

assignments

that

Leonardo hoped

to

receive

from

the

to Milan to the court

gentleman from Milan: works of engi-

Moro, who was elected

neering, military art and, last but not least,


following pages

The Virgin with the Infant Saint }ohn Adoring the Infant Christ Accompanied by an Angel (Virgin of the Rocks)

1483-1486

(detail),

Paris,

Musee du Louvre

paintings. Leonardo, the theoretician

man

and

notarial contract,

which was for that matter

of science, was born in this environ-

very detailed, specifies that the central

ment. The period in which he remained in

painting of the total system of the altar

amounted

should have a centered form and include the

the Sforza court

and was

full

to eighteen years

of assignments.

He worked on

constructing magnificent sets and mechan-

Madonna with

child surrounded

of angels and two prophets.

by

a

group

The two

side

devices for jousts and court shows; he

paintings were to be rectangular and portray

designed costumes for parties and tourna-

four angels in the act of playing music and

ments and even came up with poems, fables

singing.

ical

and rhymes.

He was what

you would

call a

work

Milan, on April 25,

in

1483 he received an assignment, with the siblings

there

is

the fact that subse-

quent documents name Ludovico

Ambrogio and Evangelista

de'

company

This makes us think that the duke might

and varied altarpiece

painting and in that of the

to

be placed

in the

which

San Francesco Grande. There

San Francesco Grande.

is

still

a

Gordian knot to be untied to explain why the subject portrayed in the Virgin of the Rocks

Louvre, with which

spond

this first

commis-

generally identified, does not correto that requested

by the members of

the brotherhood of the Concezione.

The

also surely

One

in the genesis of this

London

version

comes from the church of

chapel of the Concezione in the church of

is

as

over the originally agreed upon payment.

have directly taken part

sion

Moro

to give the painters an increase

Predis, to paint the central panel of a grand

in the

II

one who could induce members of the

perfect courtier.

In term of

Then

reconstruction of events, a rather

complicated one, has been advanced

in

relationship to the subject of the Conception

(Marani).

The dogma of

the Immaculate

Conception was only sanctioned by the

Church

in 1854. Yet,

it

already had

its

41


The Virgin with the Infant Saint John Adoring the Infant Christ Accompanied by an Angel (Virgin of the Rocks) (detail),

Paris,

1483-1486

Musee du Louvre

Europe

followers in

since the fourteenth

Grande

century. In Milan, Sisto IV, a Franciscan

time.

pope, had ignited

for

in

this theological dispute

1475 and had allowed

The gives

an

unknown

painting that Leonardo prepared

Ludovico

il

Moro would have

therefore

only served the function of temporarily

filling

interpretation that this assumption

the place while waiting for the artist to

make

Leonardo

thinking of

in the Virgin

of the Rocks

Amedeo Mendes da

Silva.

Da

the version that

Franciscan convents in Lombardy.

Amedeo had

The Beato

resided for almost fifteen years

the convents of

St.

Francis in Milan where

he was protected by the then duke Francesco Sforza. In the light of this,

mere conjecture

Moro, wished

it

does not seem

to think that

Ludovico

il

in the tracks of his predecessor,

to

Leonardo

commission that

would

a

reflect

Silva's theological ideas.

until

1506-1508.

Leonardo

also

proved himself as an

archi-

tect in Milan.

His studies to solve the problem

of Milan's

Cathedral's

Tiburio

date

1487-1488. The drawings are preserved the

Codice

Trivulziano.

de

Manuscript

l'lnstitut

and

Atlantico

B

de France)

(Paris,

is

the

to in

Codice

Bibliotheque

dedicated to

reli-

gious buildings with central plans. Critics

have recognized Bramantesqsue ideas

in

some

of these sketches and markedly in those that

Mendes da

reproduce central-plan churches with a cross

the divergences between what the contract

we

London today and

in

to

painting

This would solve

of 1483 ordered and what

is

which he would have worked on

was an advisor and personal confessor

of Sisto IV as well as the founder of

at

The

at

belief in 1477.

its

could therefore depend on the theological

Silva

be then removed

to

see today in

enclosed in a square.

Donato Bramante was, by Ludovico

il

Moro

in fact, also called

as a court architect to

Leonardo on some works

the painting in the Louvre, which could have

collaborate with

only been brought later to San Francesco

for his residence, the Castle of Porta Giovia 45


Madonna and Child (Benoi's

Madonna)

(detail), St.

r.

1478-1482

Petersburg,

Hermitage

The

State

Museum

(later Sforzesco).

Two documents from 1489

nephew

his

Gian

Galeazzo

Sforza).

and 1490 show Leonardo debtor of the

Leonardo planned

Confraternita di Santa Maria in San Satiro,

sculpture with an experimental, revolu-

a building to

which Bramante's contribution

tionary technique: the

was

We can however not be sure of

a giant

decisive.

Leonardo's direct involvement taking.

in the

under-

His involvement along with Bramante

himself in the architectural reconstruction of

Santa Maria delle Grazie

On June 21,

is

more probable.

1490 he traveled to Pavia with

upside

The

found the bronze

to

down

model was

first

imagined

that falls a soldier, then

trotting horse

project

on

be

in

cavity.

surviving drawings

sculpture was

to

a

it

show us

that the

as a rearing horse

was

to portray a

high podium. The

was not completed. In Leonardo's

would have

the Sienese architect Francesco di Giorgio

idea the "great horse"

Martini to inspect the construction of the

in the space; a type of sculpture that

cathedral.

only realized a hundred and

fifty

risen free

was

years later

many assignments between

with Gian Lorenzo Bernini. According to the

1488 and 1493 included designing the

Magliabecchiano, Michelangelo Buonarroti said

model of the equestrian monument

of the failure of this undertaking to Leonardo:

Leonardo's

to

Francesco Sforza. This commission also

came from Ludovico

il

Moro, who planned

"You made a design of a horse to and you could not

cast

The two

it

to celebrate the dynasty through a propa-

let it

ganda campaign intended to give

have a good relationship.

luster to

his

image

his

government (there were more than

few

who

as a sovereign

and

bronze

and shamefully you

artists certainly

did not

to legitimize a

considered him a usurper because

he took the power from the legitimate duke, 46

go."

cast in

L

eonardo's anatomical interest for animals and people go back to these vears. In this time,

he started

a

book


of anatomy dedicated to the

which was an rest

of his

interest that

human

he pursued for the

His caricatures can also be

life.

traced back to his anatomical studies as variations

on the subject of the human

As

figure,

face. In

a ducal engineer

Leonardo addressed

the problem of regulating water in the city

summer estate,

of Milan and in the duke's

The

Sforzesco at Vigevano.

was

the

court of the Sforza

a perfect place for the artist to express his

He provided

the past, this artistic specialty of Leonardo's

multifaceted interests.

had great success and was widely repro-

ices as a feast organizer, for instance.

duced. His physiognomy studies are also

example was the "Paradise" completed

connected to the caricatures, artist

in

which the

inverted the proportional relationships

of the face, giving expression to precise characteristics

and

states of

a large sheet, in the

An example is

Royal Library of Windsor

honor of Duchess

in

also designed a pavilion in the

Leonardo often returned in these years.

clear portrayal of different characters.

ment

his

Around

who

a

man

wearing an oak leaf garland,

has a classic typology, four faces are

Gaffurio,

came across

us

how when Leonardo

strange heads, he observed

for a long time,

even for a

full day,

impressed them so perfectly in his that 48

he could return

them

and he

memory

home and draw

them.

he

park of the

to the portrait

used

enon and the use of color.

the sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegtells

whom

it

to experi-

spirit" theory, his

study of optical and perspective phenom-

presumed

matic types. Vasari

He

"movement of the

that fully express in their expressions

grouped

in

Sforzesco Castle.

form

where five grotesque heads

An

Isabella d'Aragona,

wife of Gian Galeazzo Sforza, for

are drawn,

Castle, a

mind.

1490

his serv-

We have noted the

portrait of the musician

portrayed

in

precedes or follows the

a

last

Franchino

moment

that

note of a song

or a piece of music in an atmosphere that

seems

still,

frozen in time.

modern

portrait of the

century.

Then of course,

It is

Lombardian

the

first

fifteenth

there are the heights


following pages

Knight

Adoration of the Magi

c.

(detail),

1481-1482

battles

1503-1504

Venice, Gallerie dell'Accademia

Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

reached by the portrait of the Lady with the

Ermine now

at

the Czartoryski

Krakow, which seems

Museum

in

alive in space; the rota-

woman's body and the movement

tion of the

of the animal give the surroundings circu-

The

larity.

lady

is

generally identified as

Cecilia Gallerani, the beautiful, cultured

refined favorite of

born

in 1473.

lord (born in

Duke Ludovico

She even had

May of

The study of shadows

back

by her

that

from him.

gift

we can

see in this

both secondary and primary, goes

to the writings

"ombre

e

lume"

as

by the drawings of Manuscript

attested to (in

a child

Moro,

1491) and received the

feudal land of Saronno as a

portrait,

il

and

C

the Biblioteque de l'lnstitut de France

in Paris),

which bears the date 1490. These

precepts would be best developed in the already mentioned Treatise on Painting.

The

Portrait of a

simple in

known

as

its

Lady

construction.

at

the Louvre

It is

is

incorrectly

La Belle Ferronniere and

is

the

last

of this pictorial genre that Leonardo painted in his first

Milan period. The painting has 49


MmP-gr^'


s

10VW^'


also

been attributed to

most

Boltraffio,

one of the

gifted of Leonardo's Milanese followers,

yet Leonardo's paternity

magnificence found

is

supported by the

in the direction of the

portrayed woman's gaze, which avoids meeting the observer as

him

to continuously

eyes,

which gives

to the a

woman

if

move

to look in her

a three-dimensional aspect if it

were

sculpture around which you could walk.

This brings us to the undertaking that

could be considered the peak of Milanese pictorial perfection: the Last

Supper painted

Dominican refectory

in the

of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

received

payment

mentioned

Luca

in the

in

De

1497

that

and

it

was

Divina proportione by

Pacioli in 1498. This

assume

The master

makes

Leonardo finished

it

it

easy to

between

and sound. The

Supper produces

at first

it

were

a

trompe

l'ceil

The

paint spread

ment of the

spirit"

acoustics, perspective, 52

device,

painted, as

if

and the creation

interior

on two preparations, the more

one adheres to the rough plaster and

the layer on which the gesso colors take hold is

calcium carbonate based. The experi-

mental technique, though loss

Leonardo

to

fresco,

allowed

work more slowly than he

would have had

to if he'd

used the buon

technique giving him the chance to

return to it

did cause the

it

of color in several parts,

it

several times to

change and adjust

as well as refine the clothes

with touches

of light and give transparency to the glasses

which he never could have

achieved in a fresco.

"move-

it is

the breaking

technique used: one or two layers of tempera

manifesto of sixteenth-century painting; the his studies of the

is

recent restoration established the

on the

had applied

glance

of an inexistent space.

these two dates. This can fairly be called the

artist

effect that the Last

up of the walls on which

she were requiring

portrayed, almost as

on dry plaster

light

table,

Matteo Bandello,

in

one of

his novellas

how Leonardo

on the mechanics,

(Novella LVIII, 1497)

and the diffusion of

approached the painting of the Last Supper.

tells

us


"

Codex Madrid: drawing for casting model for Trivulzio monument, 1511-1513, folio 157r, Madrid, Biblioteca

Nacional de Espana

"He

up

often got

on the

early to stand

scaf-

Because the Last Supper was high

folding.

from the ground; he painted from morning to night forgetting to eat or drink, continu-

He would

ally painting.

then remain there

two, three or four days without touching the painting, only contemplating

it,

considering,

examining and judging the figures painted. I

also

saw him, depending on the

mood when

or

inspiration of the

moment,

sun was high

midday from the Corte

Vecchia

at

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;where

he

is

leave

the

working on that

marvelous terra-cotta horse

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

to

come

to

Santa Maria delle Grazie and climb on the scaffolding to give a stroke or

two of

his

brush to the figures and then to leave to go

somewhere In the several

else.

same

rooms

years,

(e.g,

Leonardo worked on

"the black room") in the

Sforzesco Castle. Today only the Sale delle

Asse remains on the ground floor of the large square northern tower. This rated as

if it

room was deco-

were an arboreal dome such

as

those that were used in temporary structures 53


The

Virgin with the Infant Saint

John Adoring the Infant Christ Accompanied by an Angel (Virgin of the Rocks) (detail),

1483-1486

Musee du Louvre

Paris,

for feasts.

The

covered over

vault

was however completely

in the early twentieth

century

and traces of Leonardo's design remain on the wall pieces of

monochrome

with masses of rocks that

start

painting

from the

among

intertwining roots, small plants,

which we can recognize the Thippa a lake shrub that

on

a

Litofolio

Da Vinci loved that

appears

paper showing the study for the

Kneeling Leda

As his

floor,

far as

in

these things, he stole 4

of the purse; and

Leonardo's private

Milan period, we know from

life

during

his specific

notes that in 1491 the student Gian

Giacomo

money

the

out

make him

could never

Leonardo himself noted, and on

confess."

the side he added "thievish, lying, obstinate,

greedy." But this failed to stop

him from

lending him money, loving him and favoring

him among the others and

ultimately leaving

him the beneficiary of a considerable legacy in his will to

and

Rotterdam.

I

lire

compensate him for

loyal services."

who

see the

"good

The nature of these

ices has differing interpretations.

those

his

bond between

serv-

There are the two as

homosexual, partly because of the

fact that

Caprotti da Oreno, nicknamed Salai (devil),

one of the few documented news of

was with him, described by Vasari

Leonardo

graceful

and beautiful youth with

as "a

fine curly

which Leonardo greatly delighted."

hair, in

Leonardo took care of this boy, feeding and clothing part

is

him over the

years.

The

surprising

in his

Florence period

sation of sodomy.

Beyond

that,

is

the accu-

we can garner

the impression from this of a

good man,

quick to forgive and excuse the mistakes and

misdeeds of others.

the indulgence that Leonardo always

showed

to this person

who was

not easy and

very badly behaved: "I had two shirts cut out for him, a pair of hose,

and

when

money

I

put aside some

for

year 1499 was a disastrous year

Ludovico

il

Moro. Leonardo

and

recorded on the cover of one of his

pay for

manuscript the tragic end of his patron with

a jerkin,

to

The

55


The Virgin with the Infant Saint John Adoring the In/ant Christ Accompanied by an Angel (Virgin of the Rocks)

1483-1486

(detail),

Musee du Louvre

Paris,

the rather dry, impersonal words:

and

lost his state

his

"The duke

property and his

freedom, and none of his works were

completed for him." Yet even given him

his protector

a vineyard, a

had

property of

Cecilia Gallerani in an

"comparison" with the portraits by Giovanni

Of

Bellini.

Leonardo

Louvre

before the Vercelliana gate of Milan. In the

profile.

Leonardo sent

year,

florins as a deposit to the

Maria Nuova

six

hundred

Spedale di Santa

duchess

the

course,

to paint her portrait.

asked

Today we

have the beautiful cartoon preserved

considerable size (sixteen perches) located

same

exchange of letters the

in Paris,

showing the noblewoman

Before

returning

Leonardo spend 1500,

when

in the

a short

to

in

Florence,

period in Venice in

the musical instrument

maker

a

Lorenzo Gusnasco wrote to the marquise

banking function and also kept part of

Isabella, praising the qualities of her portrait

Michelangelo Buonarroti's money.

that

On July

in Florence. This place

had

Leonardo had shown him. Venice had

recently asked

him

Milan that Louis XII, king of France, had

defend the

from attack from the Turks.

crossed the Alps and settled his army in the

He was

fort of Trezzo, a possession of II Moro's.

evidenced by a paper preserved in the Codice

24, 1499, the

On August With Sforza also left

Luca

19, the

news arrived

French took Valenza.

fleeing to Innsbruck,

Milan together with

Pacioli

in

and headed

to

Leonardo

his friend

Fra

Mantua where

city

Rome

in

Atlantico

that

Mausoleum

in

March

in

Urbe should be considered

of the relationships he had with

Alexander VI Borgia and

been awaiting him for some time. Just

Borgia, the

earlier,

having seen the magnificent portrait

Lady with an Ermine, she had discussed with 56

had

his

Pope

son Cesare

Duke Valentino whom, Leonardo

likely already

were

is

on the recto bears the

the cultured duchess Isabella d'Este had a year

of 1501 as

of Hadrian (Castel Sant'Angelo).

His presence in light

to prepare projects to

met

in

in the city after the

Milan when they king of France,


'V


He definitely visited Tivoli and the

Louis XII.

and the degree

ruins of the Villa Adriana

to

Anne once he and

returned to Florence where he

his retinue

were the guests of the

Serviti

which the remnants of Roman antiquity

della Santissima Annunziata.

piqued

commissioned the main altarpiece of

their

church

once

his curiosity

evidenced

is

in his

artistic creations after this trip.

The cartoon of Saint Anne, now

at

the

National Gallery in London, was planned right after the Last Supper, critics

have tended to date

monumental

the style and even the

and

that

Da

the

showed us

transposition of the sculptures of the

Tivoli

he suggested that he undertake

Vasari,

this

never made, according to Leonardo's typical

way of grouping

Alexander VI had found

according to

later. It reflects

it

scale of the figures,

Museo Nacional

in Florence,

but

important assignment. The painting was

figures. Carlo Pedretti deftly

(Madrid,

Leonardo arrived

Lippi,

though recently

the ideas that Leonardo applied to the Last

Supper; the

Filippino

to

The monks had

a

Muses

del Prado) that in the

Odeon

of

Vinci would have been

able to see during his stay in

Rome. The

ways, and the cartoon was this

lost.

was one of his most admired works; we

know about it from thorough contemporaries,

Lady with

S.

"He made

Anne and

a

when

it

was

filled

finished, for

with

descriptions of

cartoon of our

the infant Christ,

which not only astonished

was

However,

all artists,

two days

his

but

room

men and women, young and solemn

old, going as to a

festival to see

reference to antiquity and comparison with

Lionardo's marvels." (Vasari, Lives of the

the ancients seems a constant in his works

Most

in

the early sixteenth century

and marks

his

contribution to the development of the

"High Renaissance

Style."

Leonardo worked on the subject of Saint 58

Eminent

Painters,

Sculptors

and

Architects, 1568).

The

artist later

returned to the same

theme with determination, though the specimen found todav

in the

Louvre

in Paris


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Study for apostle James Windsor Castle, Royal Library The Royal Collection Š 2003 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ,

does not represent the cartoon that was to

be used for the painting of the Santissima Annunziata. In Florence, he was sent again to the

marquise of Mantua, but Leonardo

was busy with the

Serviti

and completing

small painting portraying the

secretary, of

that of the

which two versions

of

fine

exist

duke of Buccleuch and

formerly of Battersea, today collection in

Madonna of

Florimond Robertet, Louis

the Spindles for

XILs

a

New York

in a private

(judged graceful and

Wilhelm

by

taste

that

Suida,

but

some

vases

unsigned). In

May of

1502, he admired

already in Lorenzo the Magnificent's collection

and bearing

his initials; these

that Isabella d'Este

Due the time,

were vases

planned to buy.

to the disastrous political events of

Leonardo entered the

service of

Cesare Borgia as an architect and general engineer; he obtained a pass that enabled

him

to

move freely in

Valentino.

It

was

the dominions of in

Duke

Urbino where he

designed the chapel of Perdono in the Ducal 59


Adoration of the Magi (detail),

1481-1482

Florence. Galleria degli Uffizi

Palace; he

went

to Pesaro, Rimini, Cesena,

and Cesenatico where he port,

and

finally

visited the canal

Piombino where he would

returned. Lorenzo had died, the Medici family

been

was sent

in exile

instituted.

and the republic had

On November

1502, Pier

1,

return after working at Appiani on the

Soderini was chosen gonfalonier for

recommendation of Machiavelli

which

Leonardo hoped there

Valentino's service,

would be use tions for

in 1505. In

for the

war machine inven-

which Milan had not offered great

prospects.

When

the princes of

Romagna

of

a

new era began

for the

city.

new commissions were aimed

life,

A decade

at creating

the image of a great patron, possibly to

more

with

make

palatable to the Florentine people the

difficulties that the republic

was suffering

plotted against the duke and the duke was

because of the war for conquering Pisa and

made prisoner in

may have

the increasing tax burden that the king of

been with him. Bloody events followed, with

France was demanding. The republic asked

the massacre of Senigallia, the killing of the

Leonardo

plotters

Imola, Leonardo

and Cesare Borgia's vendetta against

Siena and Perugia.

The Roman

pope put an end

liant career of

Duke

make an

fications in Verruca

June 21, 1503,

of the

Valentino.

left

Florence in

left a city in

Lorenzo, dominated both

60

by

a letter to

to study the possibility of diverting the course

Medici family,

culture.

as attested

to the terrible, bril-

Leonardo

1482, he

where he went before

Soderini from Pier Francesco Tosinghi, and

illness

Arno

besieged Pisa

When

inspection at the forti-

and death

poisoning attempts, and the of the

events, the

to

in

in the

to achieve the surrender of (a

project that was studied at

length but finally abandoned as unfeasible).

which the

The most important

person of

in

government and

Much had changed when

he

job given to Leonardo

Florence was the commission to decorate

a wall of the Sala del

Maggior Consiglio

(today the Salone dei Cinquecento) in the


-

^H^^HI


The

Virgin with the Infant Saint

John Adoring the Infant Christ Accompanied by an Angel (Virgin of the Rocks)

1483-1486

(detail),

Musee du Louvre

Paris,

Palazzo Vecchio.

It

was intended

to portray

February, paper and canvas for the cartoon

an episode from Florence's war against Pisa,

itself

the Battle of Anghiari, fought on June 29,

4,

1440 between the troops of the league of

methods of the job with

papal, Venetian and Florentine soldiers

and

and an adjustable

scaffolding.

On May

he had the instructions, times and payment a decision

Signori e Collegi. Yet, by

by the

December

1505,

the Milanese formation of Filippo Maria

he interrupted the transfer of the cartoon on

Visconti led by Niccolo Piccinino. Soderini

the wall of the hall because the paints on the

had

wall melted due to the technique used, a

concurrently

Michelangelo

given

Buonarroti another portion of the wall in the

clumsy attempt

same

Vasari's story,

hall in

which

Casciano, fought

to portray the Battle

on July

29, 1364

of

and won

by the Florentines against the Pisans under the

command

of the Englishman

Hawkwood. The two in

John

great artists, remarkably

Florence in the same years, challenged

results in

According to

at encaustic.

Leonardo had achieved

experimenting with

this

because of misunderstanding Plinius.

However,

Da Vinci's

terrible

technique

a recipe

by

attempts should

not be dismissed as mere whims as they were

aimed

at a

very specific goal, to give the wall

themselves on the walls of the most repre-

painting a mysterious depth, transparency

sentative hall of the Florentine people, the

and luminosity of

government

hall.

to the Sala del

Da Vinci was given

Papa

in Santa

the keys

Maria Novella

oil

painting rather than

the uniform lightness and traditional coloring

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

of the fresco

oil

painting had taken on these

on October of 1503, and other adjacent

characteristics thanks to

rooms

in

The cartoon was

battle.

Leonardo must have worked quickly

on

this

artist

which

to prepare the cartoon for the

cartoon that winter as in January the

received

some wood

for his work; in

Leonardo

himself.

scattered immediately after

his departure. Likely the largest part of

it,

along with other things in his property, stayed at

the hospital of Santa Maria

Nuova while 63


Saint John the Baptist (detail),,:.

Paris,

1508-1513

Musee du Louvre

the piece portraying the battle around the

pencil for the central figures of the battle

banner, used as a starting base for the wall

the head of a soldier in profile and another

painting, remained in Palazzo Vecchio.

two or three sheets with clashes of horsemen.

According to Benvenuto

They

was brought

Cellini, the

to the Sala del

Papa

cartoon

in Santa

and

can, however, never restore the vision

of the whole to us.

Maria Novella: "And for the entire time that

were

they

there

[he

also

referred

to

Michelangelo's cartoon in Palazzo Medici]

certain fact

is

that in 1512, the Sala del

Maggior Consiglio was turned into

a barracks

and Leonardo's painting was protected

in a

Leonardo was

older, prob-

ably between 1501 and 1506,

they were the school of the world."

intact,

A

When he

dedicated

himself

to

preparing the Leda, though thoughts around this subject

From

can already be seen in the 1490s.

the love between

Leda and Jove, who

As we know, nothing

survived,

turned himself into a swan for the occasion,

neither the painting by Leonardo,

who had

Castor, Pollux,

scaffolding.

Helen and Clytemnestra were

established himself in Milan in service of

born. There were two solutions Leonardo

the French, nor the cartoon by Michelangelo

proposed

for giving life to the mythological

story: the

Standing Leda and the Kneeling

(he

had never started

wall),

who

Pope

Julius

to transfer

established himself in II.

A

it

to the

Rome with

pale reflection of what

For the former, the Leonardian

Leda.

conception can be recognized

in the painting

Rome, although

must have been Leonardo's creation can be

in the Galleria

seen by examining the nonetheless beautiful

the most recent criticism tends to consider

version

made by Rubens,

held in the Louvre,

portraying only the battle episode.

The few

surviving drawings consist of two heads in 64

it

Borghese

in

and the piece formerly

now

in

Spiridon and

in the Uffizi, as a derivation of the

master.

The Kneeling Leda

version

is

known


*

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Portrait of Mona Lisa

del Giocondo (La Gioconda)

1503-1504 and 1510-1515

(detail),

Paris,

Musee du Louvre

through two drawings, one

now in Rotterdam

all

(Boijmans Van Beuningen

Museum) and

be painted. Seeing that the eyes had that

other in Chatsworth (Collection of the of Devonshire). Again what

is

the

Duke

important to

the details that with subtlety are able to

and watery sheen

luster

and around them were

that all

is

true to

life,

those rosy and

know is the ascendancy of this model of antiq-

pearly tints, as well as the lashes, which

taken from an antiq-

cannot be represented without the greatest

uity (the Kneeling

Leda

uity sculpture of a

is

crouched Venus) and

great popularity in the sixteenth century.

its

Even

The eyebrows, through

subtlety.

shown the manner

in

which the

more

his

having

hairs spring

and here

Raphael drew a Leda (Drawing of Leda, Royal

from the

Library in Windsor Castle) inspired by

more

Leonardo's creations.

pores of the skin, could not be more natural.

Leonardo's interest in antiquity was also reflected in his

imagination

Mona

Lisa,

is

i.e.,

del Giocondo. started

though

in it

work

that in the public

the definition of portrait:

The

Portrait of Mona Lisa

The work was

Florence

may have

circa

definitely

1503-1504,

only been completely

Vasari's

here

words,

we fully under-

stand the character of this work: "In his

how

close

and curve according

scanty,

nose, with

its

tender, appeared to be alive.

with

its

to the

beautiful nostrils, rosy

opening, and with

its

and

The mouth,

ends united by

the red of the lips to the flesh-tints of the

seemed

face,

in truth, to

flesh. In the pit

upon

it

be not colors but

of the throat,

intently,

that

it

make

if

one gazed

could be seen the beating

of the pulse. And, indeed,

about 1510-1515.

Through

The

flesh,

was painted

in

it

may be

said

such a manner as to

every valiant craftsman, be he

who he

closely art

may, tremble and lose heart." (Vasari, Lives

could imitate nature, was able to compre-

of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and

hend

Architects, 1568).

head, whoever wished to see

it

with ease, for in

it

were counterfeited

67


The

lack of

human presence

primordial landscape behind the

makes the This its

work met with enormous

when

famous painting

it

in the

of debunking

August of the same

to Milan. In

year,

among

governor with the duchy of Milan and

in the nine-

Giaffredo Caroli, vice chancellor, asked the artist to stay in

Milan for another month.

A

The gonfalonier

Pier Soderini reminded the

world.

French

Mona

Lisa."

success and reinterpretation, very often by

way

to go

became the most

expression says, "As famous as Its

months

Charles d'Amboise, French marshal and

success

contemporaries and especially

teenth century

woman

Signoria for a permit for three

timeless.

and

portrait enigmatic

in the

commonplaces (almost

governor that Leonardo had started

work

in Florence.

a large

However he could not

a

exert the pressure that he might have liked

kind of "La Giocandoclasm") are seen in

because Florence was connected to France

works by twentieth-century

with a long-standing bond and was heavily

Duchamp and Its theft

artists

such as

indebted to

Dali.

on August

painting's fame.

The

21, 1911 sealed the

of France personally asked

writer Guilliaume

stay in

Apollinaire and the artist Pablo Picasso got in

trouble, but rightful

Vincenzo Peruggia, an

prison, in

blame went

to

who was

the

Italian

museum's decorator. The and sentenced to

a year

thief

and

was caught

fifteen days of

and the painting, which reappeared

Florence

in

an

antique shop, was

returned to the Louvre on January

On May 68

30, 1506

The following

it.

4,

1914.

Leonardo asked the

(aside

Milan

from

commission

monument

Giacomo

if

in his service

year the king

Leonardo could

and so he did

a short stay in Florence).

His

to erect another equestrian

dates to this stay; this one to

Gian

Trivulzio, marshal of the king of

France. That project, however, also failed.

On March

22, 1508,

Leonardo was

a

guest of Piero di Braccio Martelli in Florence,

where according friend

to Vasari,

Giovan Francesco

he helped

Rustici to

his

model the


Study for the head of aposde

Bartholomew Windsor Castle, Royal Library The Royal Collection Š 2003 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ,

three statues

for the Baptistery in

cast

Florence; the Baptist between the Levite and

the Pharisee.

The work was accomplished

with consulting from the master, but without

Leonardo shared

his direct involvement.

friendship with the younger Rustici,

more

ticed art

who pracmoney.

for prestige than for

Having shown Da Vinci

his respect,

he earned

the unconditional support of the master in

many

realms, including painting horses. Aside

from

this

in

time in Florence, Leonardo stayed

Milan where he served

official

as a painter

and

engineer to the king of France, dedi-

cating himself to the study of urban planning solutions for Milan, hydrographic ical

and geolog-

problems and the study anatomy.

He

left

Milan for

Rome on September

24. 1513 with his favorite pupils:

Francesco Melzi, the oft-mentioned certain

had

Giovan Salai, a

Lorenzo and the Fanfoja. In Urbe he

a studio built for

by Giuliano

de'

protector and to

himself in the Belvedere

Medici,

whom

who was

his

Leonardo served

as

a military consultant.

69


Saint John the Baptist (detail),

1508-1513

c.

Musee du Louvre

Paris,

Here he dedicated himself studies

to scientific

and plans for draining the Pontine

Anne," and

lap of Saint

drawings.

swamps; he came into contact with the new

Leonardo recorded

Medici pope Leo X, son of Lorenzo the

Amboise

Magnificent.

Atlantico, foglio

He made

a trip to

Bologna following

Giuliano de' Medici and Leo there to meet the

Francois

I.

X who

new king

went

of his anatomy

all

he was

Clous

in the Castle of

in the

249 recto for the

He

on June 24, 1518.

He

that

left in his will,

died on

still

in

Codice

last

May 2,

time 1519.

dated April 23, 1519,

all

of France,

of his manuscripts, drawings and instruments

When his protector Giuliano de'

to his student Francesco Melzi; while the

Medici died

in

March of

1516, Leonardo

paintings in his studio went to his student

who brought them

accepted Francois Fs invitation to go to

Salai

France to the castle of Clous near Amboise,

appear

where he resided

the year after his death in Milan on January

until his death, fulfilling the

role of premier peintre et ingenieur et architecte

du Roy, Meschanischien d'Estat. In

France, he was

much loved and

for just a period of

two years he received

a

pension of 10,000 scudi, a considerable sum. In

October of 1517, he received

a visit

to Milan, as they

in the inventory of

goods prepared

19, 1524.

began on

He

appreciated.

His salary was commensurate with his fame;

all

The

this date.

did not forget his blood brothers in

his will (born

from

marriages), to

and

scattering of Leonardo's legacy

his father's third

whom he left a farm in Fiesole

a deposit of four

again, he

hundred

proved himself

who

and fourth

a

scudi.

Once

magnanimous

from the secretary of Cardinal d'Aragon,

person

Antonio de Beatis, who saw three paintings

family members,

who upon

the death of his

father Ser Piero

on July

9,

1504, had kept

inheritance.

The announce-

in his study:

Mona Lisa,

the Baptist" and a

a

"young Saint John

"Madonna placed

in the

did not bear grudges against his

him out of the

71


ment of the master's death was made family

members by Francesco

to his

Melzi.

past,

The question of Leonardo's workshop and school remains open; and,

if so, if

d'Oggiono and

Salai

starting in 1490;

that all

really existed

by Leonardo's express

Antonio

Giovanni

if it

Boltraffio,

were

in the master's

after

They were

workshop, though

it

is

they came to Leonardo's studio

after they

had already learned the rudiments

the

they had been apprenticed with

master

Boltraffio

since

were

they

and d'Oggiono

children.

definitely

already

worked on paintings

Leonardo that

worked

on some of the master's works, but they

also

3,

1501 in which Fra Pietro da

Novellara, writing to Isabella d'Este, after

having described the cartoon for Saint tells

"He

us that,

some boys make

did nothing

portraits

else,

and he sometimes

puts his hand to them."

As such, there Leonardo kept

a

is

no doubt

makes us consider with

less

circumspection

the information from seventeenth-century

sources that

tells

of the existence of a

Lombardian

tence of

Ambrogio

de' Predis, Luini

and Bartolomeo

Veneto.

The

some of

his time teaching his pupils

from Louis

a letter to

news

that

comes

earlier:

Antonio

de

Beatis,

"And though

this

Da

exis-

Vinci engravings that bear the

words "Achademia Leonardi Vinci." In five hundred years, Leonardo's

Leonardo spent

the secretary of cardinal

d'Aragon,

mentioned 72

first

Slario,

that

kind of workshop. This

Leonardesque academy, based on the

were:

Anne

except

took independent commissions. The other students

his

from April

if

if

others." In his Florentine period,

teach

Marco

not clear

of art or

make drawings and

can

still

students painted; this was found in a letter

Giampietrino shortly later.

he

desire.

definitely students

and Francesco Melzi

Lunardo cannot paint with the ease of the

ical

crit-

success has not been eclipsed. Leonardo

the scientist however

is

a twentieth century

discovery. Considering this,

surprising

that

for

the

it

is

a little

previous three


hundred sively

years, his

from paintings, which,

noted during left

as

we have

were often

this essay,

him works

his Florentine or

poraries.

There

is

that

were created

Lombardian contem-

ample

literary tradition

dedicated to Leonardo in which trious

names appear.

It is, as

many illus-

such, impos-

sible to outline his critical fortunes a

lost or

unfinished. This enthusiasm led to

attributing to

by

fame was derived exclu-

summary form. The

scholars, critics, poets

list

even

in

would include

and writers from every

century; and even a psychoanalysis, possibly

the most famous of in

his

all,

Leonardo da

by Sigmund Freud, Vinci:

A

Study in

Psychosexuality. published in 1947.

73


/ 9


Madonna of the Pomegranate (Dreyfus Madonna )

c.

finhis work, which became part of the Kress Collection

1469

Oil on panel, 15.7 x 12.8

cm

Washington, D.C., National

„ r a ts Gallery of Art, Kress

Collection

in 1951,

J_ nas nacj a controversial history. Attributions has been given to «. ,. \ t7 l j T n ,. del Verrocchio, his workshop and Lorenzo di Credi.

»

i

i

Andrea

.

,

Contemporary

,

criticism accepts

still

immature

Leonardo's

hand of

small painting indeed shows the is

as

it

work. The

first

a student of Andrea's

yet graced with great talent, as

we might

who

imagine

Leonardo before he was twenty. To be convinced, one need only compare

it

similar in

its

but from a a

drawing

with a painting in the monaster)' of Camadoli, which

totally different

and

experienced hand. In Dresden,

less

in silver point attributed to

Lorenzo

di Credi,

is,

with good

reason, considered an influence

on

not lead us to believe that the

Madonna of the Pomegranate can be

attributed to Credi. Rather, practice in a

became

workshop

testing

The two love,

The

still

it

to

showing

be much

was

a

should

common

paintings,

which

and

intent

a great gentleness

in relationship to

child offers her a part of the fruit she just plucked.

The

it

same studies to paint

this

a student's talents.

figures, while

do not appear

However,

reinforces the idea that

to use the

grounds for

this painting.

one another.

Virgin seems to be looking at the pomegranate and the Christ

ment

is

harmonious,

Virgin's face

a

scape which

emerges from

is still

The

color agree-

shade of red that goes well with a dusty blue. a

dark background, probably a wall

between two rectangular windows

76

is

organization and also comes from Verrocchio's workshop,

that

open on

a

view of a land-

but a foretaste of that typical of Leonardo.


77


Madonna and Child (Madonna of the Carnation)

c.

1470

Oil on panel, 62 x 47.5

cm

Munich, Alte Pinakothek

W7 Vv

^ a<^ no news °f this painting before

e

tion of Dr.

x>...

100/

T

to Uurer. in 1886, diately identified

,r

it

was

j. to the .

into the collec-

museum.

by the curator of the museum

Madonna

Tt It

attributed

was imme-

Adolph

at the time,

which according

della Caraffa,

pope Clement

in the collection of the Florentine

nephew of Lorenzo excellent

i

moved rrom here

Bayersdorfer, with the Vasari

came

it

Albert Haug of Gunzburg where it was

to

VII,

the Magnificent: "Leonardo next did a very

Madonna, which afterwards belonged

to

Pope Clement

VII.

Among other things it contained a bowl of water with some marvelous flowers, the

dew upon them seeming

looked more

real

Painters, Sculptors

than reality

actually to

itself" {Lives

and Architects,

be

there, so that they

of the Most Eminent

1568). That there are quite a few

existing copies of the painting demonstrates

success in Tuscany and Flanders.

It

its

importance and

already shows the features of

Leonardo's pictorial universe: the coiffure of the Virgin cent of studies for the head of Leda later);

Lisa

(a

work done almost

is

reminis-

thirty years

the mountains are densely atmospheric, to reappear in

Mona

The

small

and the

first

version of the Virgin of the Rocks.

painting has an interesting craquelure (pattern of cracks) on almost

the entire painted surface, especially concentrated on the face. effect

is

caused by the large amount of

quickly),

which Leonardo used

of nature and of Flemish painters,

The work

has close

ties

around the architectural

oil

to give the

who he

with the Dreyfus interior

is

The

paint (that congealed too

image clearly

a vividness

worthy

sought to emulate.

Madonna

,

but the space

well-orchestrated and the elegant

double lancet window looks out on a landscape whose mountains are arranged

in

two

levels of depth, distance scaled

use of color and "aerial perspective."

78

through the

skillful


I

80


m.,<r--

-

-

-

V

''

-

r

j

.-

-

mm

\

f


-

m fa "

saw


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-

u


The Annunciation

c.

1472-1475

Oil and tempera on panel

98x217 cm

The painting had been ally

attributed to

Ghirlandaio. In 1867,

tradition-

Domenico

it

was taken

Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

down from the wall of the sacristy of the church of Saint Bartholomew,

annexed

to the suppressed Bene-

dictine monastery,

and moved

to

the Uffizi.

At first glance the perspective arrangement and the anatomic representation in the

ti

work appear

be flawed. The many pentimen-

to

(second thoughts) would suggest

had some

that the artist

difficulty

in organizing the scenic space.

The

angel Gabriel has just landed from flight is

with his wings

still

open and

placed asymmetrically to

Mary

who seems

to

try of the

noble building with

be held by the en-

strongly Florentine architecture.

She appears to have three

legs

because of the edge of her

mande

ing on the seat arm. She has a beautiful but inexpressive face.

rest-

Her right

hand cannot easily reach the left margin of the book because the lectern on which ly,

it

rests

you can see

the lines that

is

too far from her grasp. Yet,

that the composition

mark

the floor) and,

specific point of view,

from the

is

if

right

if

you look more

close-

geometrically arranged (observe

you observe the painting from

and

a

little

a

below, you realize that

these perspective errors are magically corrected by the gaze (Natali,

2002).

84

What

at first sight

seem

to

be incongruities become composi-


tional expedients,

anamorphic experiments which Carlo

leading Leonardo scholar, has

shown

to

be practiced

riods of his artistic history (Pedretti, 1957).

there are incongruities, they

do not

Pedretti, a

in various pe-

While admitting

that

invalidate the painting because

comes from the "atmospheric" landscape, the light and the

its

as

or.

The view that we can admire from

the balustrade

is

col-

a magical lake

environment, with hillocks and steep mountains and a strongly backlit

procession of trees of diverse varieties and the absolute absence of

human

presence.

85


86

.1


'

;


* '

it i

V:-

:

\

'

''

'-'


J^

&


Ginevra de' Benci

1474-1476

c.

Tempera and oil on panel 38.8x36.7 cm Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art

On a

the back of the painting,

cartouche with the motto

VIRTUTEM FORMA DECORAT

the nineteenth century, this small painting was located in the

In

Viennese palace of the princes of Liechtenstein and was bought

by the American museum only cut off at the

bottom by

in 1967. It

highly likely that

is

a third party, suffering

part of the bust with the hands possibly only sketched. is

portrayed in her

full

diaphanous

tree (which, in Italian, ginepro,

which

is

strongly backlit.

The

is

pallor,

on her

painter, with those touches of light

artist

used

The motto Virtutem forma

it is

on the cartouche

and palm. This

clearly

born

a

Flemish

spread

the skin seem alive, leaving his fingerprints on

meant to

is all

formed of three

is

which stands

plants, juniper,

painted on the back of this painting, and

relate to the

in 1457, the child of

decorat (beauty adorns

that ties the garland,

background of porphyry and

laurel

worthy of

his finger to better

the painting.

a

The woman

consonant with her name, Ginevra),

make

on

was

face, against of a juniper

the color and

virtueHs written

it

removal of the lower

Amerigo

woman

portrayed. Ginevra was

Giovanni Benci and the seven-

di

year-old wife of Luigi di Bernardo di

Lapo

Niccolini. This portrait

may have been painted for their wedding on January 15, 1474 (although, the woman does appear be older than seventeen). A more recent theory suggests that the

work was painted

Bernardo Bembo, Ambassador of Venice in

1478/1480,

who was

in

at

the request of

Florence

in

1475 and

so attached to Ginevra that he commis-

sioned Cristoforo Landino and Alessandro Braccesi to write verses celebrating his feelings.

As such, the

plants

and the porphyry painted

on the back could allude to the chastity and endurance of this

love.

Leonardo's relations with the Benci family were intense and longlasting. Saint

John the Baptist

been painted for the

Magi in

this family.

the Uffizi were

left

upon Leonardo's departure 90

in the

Louvre

is

also said to

be have

Giovanni Benci and the Adoration of incomplete

for Milan.

in

Amerigo Bend's house


91


Baptism of Christ by Verrocchio (detail of angel and landscape)

c.

1475-1478

Oil and tempera on panel

m

x i ^ ]] _,. TTÂŁC / _, Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi T^

O

ources mention this

Oas on

work from

the church of San Salvi in Florence

belonging to the Vallombrosan order and probably painted

their commission.

At an unknown

date, the painting

to the convent of Santa Verdiana, belonging to the

was then transferred during the Napoleonic wars di Belle Arti in

Vasari painting.

1810 and the Uffizi

was the

It

first

was moved

same

to the

order,

Accademia

in 1914.

mention Leonardo's involvement on

to

and

has been suggested that

all

this

of the parts painted in

oil

are Leonardo's: the face of the angel in profile (created after having

scratched away the older base preparation), angel, the landscape in the

we

can see the use of the

the skin.

The

Baptist's

some

background and

thumb

body

is

curls

on the other

Christ's face, in

which

to create the color transitions

on

linked to the Pollaiolo environment,

while the hands of God the Father and the palm tree seem so archaic

and of low quality Verrocchio and

Recent

to cause

no problems of attribution between

Botticelli.

scientific analysis (taken

by infrared) have revealed that

the view of the landscape underneath the one that

bare eye has a vast variety of tree-types very

century Florence and idealized Christ's feet

were immersed

in a

taken over and covers almost

"We

hilly

visible to the

contours. In the original, only

stream of water.

all

is

common in late fifteenth-

Now the water has

of the work's foreground.

are immediately led to believe that the affinity between

the nature portrayed in the Annunciation and that which survives

Baptism

temporal adjacency

conception that came about

some

92

may be

invisible to the bare eye in the

artistic

as well as a

environment"

(Natali, 2002).

the evidence of a in the


93


94


w*

t

I


â&#x20AC;¢

\

*Ste

=

jSL-

-'yy;


Madonna and Child Madonna)

(Benois

c.

1478-1482

'TT'his painting

Oil on panel transferred to canvas St.

48 x 31

Petersburg,

Hermitaee

cm

The

Museum

is

possibly to be identified with one of the two

J_ Madonnas began by Leonardo in 1478 and completed yearg before he

moved

tQ

Mi]an

in

H82 A

State

bears the

memory

signed annotation.

The

Astrakhan and

who gave it

known.

It

This

a transition

is

to the

work

who was

and Leonardo's work

in

that

came

name by which

it is

marks the divide between

firmly tied to Verrocchio's teachings

that he

The two

univer-

in 1914.

had learned

as

figures of the

a youth

that

in the

Mother and

constructed on oblique and counterpoised spatial fully

into the posses-

Lombardy. The composition shows

had surpassed the systems in Florence.

the

later

Hermitage only

Florentine Leonardo

shop

.

two Virgin Marys, which contams the

small painting was bought in 1824 by the in

sion of the Benois family,

came

in the

in the uffizi

.

or these

merchant Sapozhnikov

sally

pagÂŁ kgpt

child,

lines, are skill-

connected to one another with the small flower that serves

a device to

he

work-

as

connect their gestures. The gentle movements and the

hands and the gazes from the two protagonists render the scene

inti-

mate and homey. The use of color with modulated tones and the

warm

light create a

rounding of the forms,

of the figures, which imbues

a

them with

shaded and life

soft

contour

and motion

atmospheric space that contains them. The Virgin's

in the

lively

and

compelling expression and the contour of her face as an upside triangle are completely new, a prelude to the face of the angel of

the Virgin of the Rocks in the Louvre in which this type was further refined

98

and perfected.


99


Saint

c.

1480

Tempera and

Jerome

'"T"*his is oil

on panel

one of Leonardo's works mentioned

J_ goods inherited by his student Gian

known

and

as Salai,

it

was one of the works brought

Vatican City Pinacoteca

T_

belonged to Angelica Kaulmann

Vatic-ana

in

inventory of

in the

Giacomo

Caprotti, better to

Milan in 1525.

Kome and then went into

Cardinal Fesch's collection to ultimately be purchased between 1846

and 1857 by Pope Pius IX.

The

probably started

artist

this painting

related in style to the Adoration in the Uffizi.

It

around 1480.

It is

remained unfinished

because of the painter's departure for Milan. Leonardo appears to

have mentioned

it

himself in a

Gerolami) drawn up for the

manner of preparing the which were,

precisely,

list

trip.

picture,

of works and objects

"An unfinished work

moving from the

intended to be

illusion, partly 'stratigraphically'

(cierti

San

reveals the

last to first levels,

left for last as if

to provide the

of volumes extending behind the

The twisting

surface of the painting's frontal surface" (Marani 1994).

of the body and the languid expression of the face with the bony

and

tilted

head corresponds

ment of the

were directed

body in

closely to

Greek

sculpture.

The

arrange-

figure suggests Leonardo's anatomical interests,

space.

in these years at the

The saint in

this

which

dynamic nature of the human

pose produces such

a strong sixteenth-

century effect as to fully justify Vasari's definition of Leonardo as a

harbinger of the "modern

style."

beating his chest, kneeling as tural organization of his

shown by

body

drawing/pictorial procedure. the

upcoming

is

100

saint

is

in the act of

the knee's bending; the sculp-

reconciled with great fluency to the

The rocks

to the right are a prelude of

Virgin of the Rocks in the Louvre.

opening of a landscape defined by tible

The repentant

a

few sharp peaks

on the greenish preparation of the painting.

On is

the

left,

the

barely percep-


101


102


^


Adoration of the Magi

'TT'he large painting was commissioned in March of 1481 by the

1481-1482 Oil on panel, 246 x 243

cm

Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

_|_ monks f San Donato a Scopeta regular parishioners of _• •. „, * r c c i * a a. bant Agostino orc the congregation or ban c balvatore. As it was kit .

.

unfinished,

i

it

remained

house when Leonardo

in the

left for

rooms of Milan.

his friend

Amerigo

Benci's

then went into Antonio and

It

Giulio de' Medici's collection and entered the Uffizi in 1794 (after other exchanges including the Villa di Castello near Florence.)

The scene depicted

is

dynamically organized. The actual

Adoration of the Magi takes place

in the

foreground, where a sense

of circularity dominates, a whirlwind of actions and gestures pivot

around the grouping of the Virgin and to

tell

there left,

The background seems

child.

the story of a history preceding the Epiphany. is

On

the right,

an armed battle and unsaddled and rearing horses.

men

are busy

architecture with

on the

stairway, intent

new parts

that coexist with

the broken arch there are small shrubs as constructions in which the

and nature had took

employed

in

been carried

compromise

out, its

is

broken

a restoration

for

and infrared

which, though

see

legibility.

These studies

on

some reason

it

rays

were

has not yet

needed because of the many impurities

complete

On

structures.

we sometimes

work was interrupted

over. Reflectographs

planning for

On the

on rebuilding the ruined

that

clearly reveal "the

presence of carpenters and masons, briskly working on the steps and the wall above the arches between the stairways;

baskets

and wooden

boards,

men

portrayed

men who

pull

on

in the act of shoveling

or placing bricks" (Natali, 2002). Unfortunately, none of these details

can be seen with the naked eye. In

fact,

have the impression that that reddish tens everything.

104

looking

brown

at the painting,

surface levels and

we

flat-


105


The

Virgin with the Infant Saint John Adoring

Accompanied by an Angel

the Infant Christ

(Virgin of the Rocks)

A

1483-1486 Oil on panel, 199 x 122

cm

lthough there are those

jT\_ in Florence, to

in the fourteenth century

and was destroyed

Visconti,

of the painting was in

della Concezione,

who

San Francesco Grande in Milan. The chapel had been

their altar in

founded

it

who maintain that this painting was made

has to be identified with the painting commissioned

Leonardo by the members of the Compagnia

had

I

it

by Beatrice

in 1576.

A

d'Este, wife of Galeazzo

seventeenth-century mention

made by Cassiano dal Pozzo, who said he had seen

Fontainebleau in 1625. According to the most credited tradition,

the painting was probably sent by Ludovico

il

Moro (who

definitely

played a fundamental role in the painting's origins and therefore had

ownership

rights over

it)

as a

wedding gift

to Maximilian of Hapsburg,

who married Bianca Maria Sforza. From Innsbruck, to France

when

wife of Francois

work

to

contract, dated April 25, clearly specified that

be painted was

was assigned

would have gone

I.

The commission the

it

Eleonora, Massimiliano's granddaughter, became the

a large altarpiece.

to Leonardo, the side paintings to

(associated with

The

central painting

Ambrogio

de' Predis

two panels portraying musician angels now

in the

National Gallery of London), and the coloring and the gilding of the altarpiece to Ambrogio's brother, Evangelista. All was held in a

magnificent frame that had already been sculpted and carved between

1480 and 1482 by Giacomo del Maino.

The scene

takes place in a rocky landscape that

tonically orchestrated in

in the distance.

a slight smile is

is

foreign

106

The

A

stream of water can be

angel looks towards the observer with

and points to Infant Saint John. This evocative

absent in the version in London.

sition

architec-

which flowers and water plants (showing

great botanical precision) dominate.

glimpsed

is

The great

evidenced by the many copies artists.

success of this

in existence

by

detail

compo-

Italian

and


107


.


Portrait of a Musician

(Franchino Gaffurio?)

c.

'"TT'he portrait

1485

Oil on panel, 43 x 3

1

cm

was

mentioned

first

J_ na d the same dilemma in ivith

Pearl Hairnet by

physical vicinity. in the

its

Ambrogio

The two

in the

Ambrosiana

in 1672. It

attribution as the Portrait of a de' Predis solely

Lady

because of their

on the same wall

paintings were placed

mid-nineteenth century and were considered portraits of

Ludovico

il

Moro and

Beatrice d'Este.

In 1904, the decision was

the bottom (though

it

was

made

historic

a layer of paint

on to

to

Leonardo himself) which covered the paper on which the

The man

right

and notes of

lines

remove

and probably attributable

hand and the piece of

a musical score

can be seen.

could be identified as Franchino Gaffurio,

in the portrait

chapel master of the Cathedral of Milan in 1484 as well as a regular at

the duke's court

who

surely

had

Leonardo. Other musicians present

in

been suggested, including Atalante

a friendly relationship with

Milan

in these

same years have

Migliorotti,

who came

who

worked

with Leonardo; and Josquin des Prez,

also

to

as

Milan chapel

master of the Cathedral of Milan.

The of a

dating of the painting, which

man by Leonardo,

affinity

is

the only surviving portrait

has been estimated in regards to

its stylistic

with the Lady with an Ermine and La Belle Ferronniere.

These paintings are similar figure to space

and

and

feeling that

in a

moment

in style, the relationship of the

their exceptional psychological acuity.

The power

emanate from the individual portrayed, captured

of waiting

(is

he about to

start his

song?)

is

tied to

northern portrait painting, probably filtered through familiarity with the works of Antonello da Messina

110

who was

in

Milan

in 1475.


Ill


Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani

(Lady with an Ermine)

Prince Adam Czartoryski had purchased this magnificent portrait

1488-1490

cm Museum

Oil on panel, 54.8 x 40.3

Krakow, Czartoryski

Top

left,

toward the end of the eighteenth century

who had

a

kind of private

museum

called the

for his wife Isabella,

Gothic House

in the

the apocryphal

writing LA BELE FERONIERE

LEONARD DA VINCI

castle of Pulawy. In the past

to

Ambrogio

de' Predis.

Today Leonardo's paternity

doubt. Likewise, the theory is

Cecilia Gallerani to

YaAr)

(gallel. Cecilia

Gallerani, a Milanese

has been attributed to Boltraffio and

it

is

confirmed that the

in

allude, in

Greek

daughter of Fazio

in 1465, the

nobleman and landowner. The woman was

and an orphan when her

sixteen years old

no longer

woman portrayed

which the ermine would

was born

is

lover,

Duke Ludovico,

gave her the estate of Saronno. With her beauty, her intelligence and the strength of her spirit she

Milanese court.

came

Once her duke took

Bergamini di Cremona and lived

The

in

was celebrated

portrait

to play a primary role in the

Milan in a

in the

it

who

to Isabella d'Este so

Marquise of Mantua could compare Leonardo's

way of working with exchange of

Palazzo del Broletto.

sonnet by Bellincioni

died in 1492. In 1498, the portrayed showed that the cultured

married Count

a wife, Gallerani

letters

that of

Giovanni

Bellini. Gallerani, in

with Isabella, reminded her that

at

an

the time of

now much had changed. seems to happen at the moment

the portrait she was "so imperfect" and that

The turn of in

the figure's bust

which one looks

of the

woman.

frightened, but the it.

the painting.

The ermine

painted hair by

hair.

also follows the gaze

The beast seems almost

woman's hand, which has

a clear

X-rays have shown that behind the woman's

was once

a

window. This

of reflection that

112

at

Its fur is

we

is

left

anatomy, calms shoulder there

the reason for the intense light and sense

see today.


113


Portrait of a

Lady

(La Belle Ferronniere)

c.

>"TPhis painting was

1490-1495

Oil on panel, 63 x 45

cm

first

mentioned

in the royal collections at

J_ Fontainebleau in 1642 and, significantly, was in the merveilles de Fontainebleu a portrait of the ically

by Pierre Dan where

Tre'sor des

mentioned

it is

Duchess of Mantua. The painting must have

been part of the crown collections possibly

Louis XII or Francois

I.

Its origins,

at

as

histor-

the time of

however, are not documented.

There have been various theories for identifying the portrayed

woman, none

of which, however, appear convincing.

which the painting ally "beautiful

a

universally

is

The

title

known, La Belle Ferronniere,

wife of a hardware merchant,"

is

by

liter-

merely the result of

mistake that occurred in the eighteenth century during cataloguing

when

it

was confused with another

portrait of a lady. In the nine-

teenth century, a piece of jewelry similar to that

on her forehead became popular, but inally

it is

to

be

orig-

from Leonardo's time.

Identification of the Gallerani, Elisabetta also a lover of

found

in the

woman

has vacillated between Cecilia

Gonzaga and Lucrezia

Crivelli.

Ludovico Moro's and, according

Codice Atlantico

(folio

her portrait. The report adds that a

The

latter

was

to three epigrams

167 verso), Leonardo painted

little

more than

the death of his wife, Beatrice d'Este, Ludovico

of

worn by the woman

presumed not

six

months

after

made a gift to Crivelli

some lands on Lake Maggiore and Lake Como and recognized

the right of succession to her son Gian Paolo, born to her in 1497.

A

strong contrast

is

used

in the painting to

emerge from the background and bathe her

woman

is

on the

much

114

warm

the figure light.

The

struck by diffuse, not direct, light, which gives her a

greater sense of plasticity. hair

in

make

left

check

is

The

original

arrangement of the lock of

shown by radiographic study

higher, revealing her ear.

to have

been


115


The Last Supper

1494-1497

Tempera and

oil

on two

layers

of gesso preparation spread on plaster,

460 x 880 cm

Milan, refectory of Santa

Maria delle Grazie

T

he Last Supper was undoubtedly mission from Ludovico

by the ducal insignia above it.

il

com-

a

Moro, evident

in the three lunettes

A request that duke made on June 29,

1497 to Marchesino Stanga, soliciting the work's completion, provides confirmation. In

1498

it

must have been completed

the letter dedicated to Ludovico

il

as

shown

Moro

in

with

which the De divina proportione by Luca Paopens.

cioli

The Last Supper is located

in the refecto-

Dominican church of Santa Maria

ry of the

delle Grazie in Milan. Its theme,

which may

have been suggested by the Dominicans, represents the institution of Eucharist.

ment

that

matic

moment

Leonardo chose

the most dra-

in the Evangelical story,

Christ utters the sentence,

betray me."

is

The mo-

What Leonardo

tions of the soul" start

when

"One of you called the

will

"mo-

from these words. The

apostles are dramatically animated, their gestures are of amazement

those

who

and wonder. There are

stand up because they did not un-

derstand Christ's words, those those

who

The They tive.

who

near, those

who

are horrified,

withdraw, like Judas, feeling immediately accused.

figures of the apostles are defined

are portrayed in a

Through simple

room which

is

by

their monumentality.

precise in terms of perspec-

perspectival devices

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the framing of the

the coffered ceiling, the tapestries on the walls, the three the background and the position of the table

116

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the

floor,

windows

in

effect of the fres-


'â&#x20AC;˘-Âť,'

n

co sinking back into the wall upon which

make

it

In

appear its last

as a

room within

a

it is

painted

room of the

is

achieved to

refectory.

restoration the Last Supper gained

some details

that ap-

pear endowed with a luminosity and color freshness that was not previously imagined.

of this light

is

The

a real

color

window

is

used

in the tones

of

light.

The source

of the refectory and the three

windows

painted in the background that open on a sky about to darken. 117


wm

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The

Virgin with the Infant Saint John Adoring

the Infant Christ

Accompanied by an Angel

(Virgin of the Rocks, second version)

nnhe

1495-1508 Oil on panel, 189.5 x 120

London, National Gallery

cm

painting was purchased in 1785 by the painter Gavin

J_ Hamilton for

^ in

of thg

Milan.

1

12

Roman sequins. Previously, it had been on the

Compagnia deUa Concezione

It

came

to the

San Francesco Grande

in

London National

Gallery in 1880 after

having passed through two other English collections. The work in large part

by Leonardo's own hand and

is

a

second version of

is

a

painting commissioned to Leonardo in 1483. This version was

conceived by Leonardo himself with painting in Paris. giving

The

many

them greater monumentality. There

reached

differences from the

figures are larger, their clothes are simplified,

are echoes of the heights

in the majestic apostles in the refectory of

Santa Maria delle

Grazie. In reformulating the angel, the artist chose to

the gesture of the pointing

power, as he

is

hand and

concentrated within himself; the Christ child does

not have the same moral intensity. Virgin,

though they are

The

infant Saint

John and the

in a similar position, are given a

concentration of shadows that

The

do away with

to give his expression greater

configuration of rocks

is

make them somewhat

higher

less lyrical.

almost identical in the two paintings,

while the light of the sky in the back and the water plants in the

London

version are a completely different species.

The

painting was prepared and started by Leonardo with the

help of his student Ambrogio de' Predis under the master's supervision. It

was painted

from the same

altar,

to replace the original.

The two versions come

but from different times. This painting, compared

to the Paris version,

shows

a simplification of the

iconographic and

symbolic concepts, figures with a more pronounced chiaroscuro

and

124

a cooler color tone.


125


126


.rt\

••JJJJ-1

,7

1

..JIT

X*


X

mf^r

I

J)'?

J


W^SY

w


Tree Trunks with Branches, Roots and Rocks

rT"'he only documented

1498

Pen drawing on

plaster,

fragments

April 21, 1498. certain

da Bascape to Ludovico

We know that

Miian, Castello blorzesco, Sala delle Asse

evidence of the decoration of this room

a l etter f rom Gualtiero

_|_

little

rooms

â&#x20AC;&#x17E;

Leonardo undertook the decoration a small black hall is

in the Slorzesco

the only surviving room.

the two large

monochrome drawings on

eastern wall of the hall were already discovered in 1893-1894

work

as

undertaken

from the

at

is

Moro, dated

.

and

Castle, but the Sala delle Asse

The remains of

il

the request of Paul Miiller

Wolde

the

when

to uncover

faint light of the northeast hall of the Sforzesco Castle the

existence of works by

Da

Vinci.

The

vault

was

totally repainted

by

Ernesto Rusca in 1901-1902 and the two monochromes were covered by wooden boards because they were not thought to be

by Leonardo. They were then only "rediscovered"

in

1954 and

since then have been considered by critics as the only part of the entire decoration

The to

vault

mind the

is

by

his

hand.

structured as an architectonic labyrinth, bringing

pavilions that

decorate the duke's

feasts.

Leonardo created

The blue sky

intertwining of the branches.

atmospheric. until they

The

expand

It

must have

in the castle's

is still

visible

originally

large roots slip themselves

park to

between the

been bright and

between layered rocks

into a large base full of protuberances that

the start of a tree trunk. Leonardo probably planned

it

become

as the basis

for a decoration that covered the hall, including the walls, to create a single

ways

in

environment from the base

which the roots

slip

end of the

vault.

The

themselves between the gaps of the rock

has a strong dynamic power. released from the roots, as

to the

if

It is

the very

power of nature

a catastrophic event

that

were triggered,

suggestion of primordial powers that are about to be unleashed.

130

is

a


131


Portrait of Isabella d'Este

npr

1500 Black chalk, sanguine 11

63 x 46 Paris

J_ Louvre in 1860.

The

i

cm

Musee du Louvre

Cabinet des Dessins

success because

^

^y

it

Paris *portrait never enjoyed J *

was derived from

ian Cristoforo

Romano

in 1498. It

site

seems the

case.

for

Leonardo

much

critical

model, a medal

made

said that the marquise

is

pose for portraits,

Isabella d'Este did not like to

how many times she sent

a heraldic

yet,

judging by

to paint her one, just the

oppo-

When Lorenzo Gusnasco compared this cartoon

with the portraits painted by Giovanni

though luminous and noble, to pale

those portraits seemed,

Bellini,

comparison.

in

This work can be interpreted as a testament to the words that Cecilia Gallerani wrote to Isabella about Leonardo's excellence as a portraitist.

Here he shows himself more mature than when he

painted her portrait. Leonardo was interested early on in representing the

human

face

and body. In

this

cartoon he studied

at

length the best light that could render the gracefulness of the face,

emphasizing the description of "the motions of the mind." The marquise's portrait, though clearly a

it

remained

precedent of the portrait of

a preparatory cartoon,

Mona

Lisa. It

was

may even be

Mona Lisa, whose figure does not seem foreground with as much authority, nor can such a

better constructed than the to

dominate the

strong rotation of the bust seen in

it.

The face is not

expressive such

as that in the Portrait of a Musician or as in the so-called

Ferronniere but

we

La Belle

can recognize some of the greatness achieved by

the artist in the weight of the bodies in the Last Supper.

Along the

lines that give

body

can see minute holes intended to filter

sumptuous

clothes,

the very fine carbon

we

powder

on the canvas which would have constituted the base outline

of the painting.

132

let

to the


133


Virgin and Child with Saint

Anne

and Saint John the Baptist

House Cartoon)

(Burlington

1501(?)-c. 1505

Black chalk, ceruse and stump

on paper 141.5 x 104 6 cm London, National Gallery

'"TPhe cartoon was owned by the Arconati family of Milan in the J_ eighteenth century and then went to Venice where

Robm

tQ

udnv

House and

London

b

1?63 After hay

ed thr

.

the Koyal Academy,

was sold

h Burlington .

it

came

to the National Gallery or

in 1966.

The cartoon the

it

-

is stylistically

close to the Last Supper

same impression of strength

and gives

that the apostle's figures do.

It

doubtlessly represents the most classically influenced piece in

Leonardo's ceuvre to the extent that some ness of these figures

made an

was inspired by

reproduce

effort to

a

is

Saint Anne's head.

say that the grand-

multicentric sense of

making the two characters blend which

critics

a classical sculpture.

into a single complex,

The cartoon

is,

Leonardo

movement, on top of

rightfully so,

judged

superior to the painted version in the Louvre. In the drawing, studies for

it

and particularly

Leonardo intended

to

one kept

in

make

already used for the right

in the

a mirror

hand of Peter

Louvre,

it

is

clear that

image of the same cartoon in Last Supper.

The Louvre

holds several drawings that mark the development of the cartoon

and

clarify

how Leonardo

thought about

its

composition.

Three generations of Christ's family are represented. Saint Anne holds her daughter is

Mary on her knees and Mary holds her son who

turned toward infant Saint John. The harmony of the image's

forms and the lyricism contained artist's

134

most sublime paintings.

in its feelings

makes

it

one of the


135


*#*

mrâ&#x20AC;&#x17E;r


Mona Lisa

Portrait of

del

Giocondo

(La Gioconda)

1503-1504 and 1510-1515 Oil on panel, 77 x 53 Paris,

cm

Musee du Louvre

'THhe

first

time period comes from the identification of the subject

^^

Lj sa j e j Giocondo, wife of the Florentine merchant ÂŤ. ,r â&#x201E;˘, tij j rrancesco del r>Oiocondo, according to Oiorgio Vasan. lhe second

J_

.

i

set

of dates comes out of the

stylistic

.

,

study of the landscape.

The

conception of the work can be taken back to the second Florentine period, but

it

may have been completed ad istantia del quondam Rome between 1510-1515.

magnifico Juliano de Medici in

Sources say that Leonardo brought

this painting

with him

he moved to France to the Cloux casde near Amboise of King Francois

d'Aragon, saw

it

October of 1517. to

Milan where

it

his death. Vasari

classic

to visit

Salai, his favorite pupil, inherited

it

Leonardo

and brought

was inventoried among his goods in 1525, mentioned

it

as already in

(who died

by Cassiano

bust portrait

in the field

in the service

Beatis, secretary to the Cardinal

when he went

in his studio

tion of Francois I

certainty

Antonio de

I.

is

dal

in 1547)

Pozzo

extremely high. its

It is

all

is

pervaded by

of the elements

it

a tonal,

it is

The a

discussed here with

pictorial quality of the

work without precedents

strong psychological introspec-

warm and diffuse light which

The image is such

provoking mystical and sensual opposite of everything about

can see on the

left

may be caused by the yellowing

that catalyzes the gaze of the observer feelings;

it.

recedes toward the background.

we

The

surrounds

portrays: the flesh, the clothing, the waters, the

rocks and the atmosphere. This effect

of the paints.

it

a year before

tion that the face expresses, partly through her sardonic smile.

painting

in

Fontainebleau in the collec-

and

in 1625.

of portrait painting for

when

The

we can say everything and the

bust, seen in three-quarter view,

The lady is

the base of a column.

seated in a loggia of which

The landscape

that takes

shape over her shoulders consists of waters and mountains that seem like a glacial

138

and remote atmosphere.


139


Female Head (La scapigliata)

c.

A

1508

Earth shadow, green amber

â&#x20AC;&#x17E;._ 24.7

â&#x20AC;&#x17E;.

P

x21 cm

Parma, Galleria Nazionale, Palazzo Pilotta

dolfo Venturi identified this painting with the one that Ippolito

J\ Calandra proposed

in

1531 to be placed in the bedroom of

Margherita Paleologa, wife of Federico Gonzaga, which was described in 1627 in Gonzaga

s

inventory as "a painting portraying

woman,

the head of a disorderly (scapigliata)

[...] a

work of Leonardo

da Vinci." The heirs of Gaetano Callani, a

brilliant painter

sculptor from Parma, gave

di Belle Arti di

in 1826. terfeit

by Callani

The

painting was

Although

a

Parma

claimed that the work was a coun-

incomplete, but some parts of the face

left

and can

easily

be referenced

to

Da Vinci's

ceuvre.

study was published in 1939 certifying this painting as

by Leonardo's hand, its

Accademia

to the

who

himself.

are quite complete

of

it

There were those

and

critics

have shown

authenticity aside, there are

still

logical placement. It

is

be related

and technique

in its style

not clear

little

if this is

of the Magi and Saint Jerome, or a

interest in

questions about

it.

its

an early work, which can

to the drafts for the

later

Doubts chrono-

work,

in

Adoration

which the

classi-

cism that Leonardo learned on his

Roman trips in the early sixteenth

century can be seen. In

the

century,

Leonardo

way of seeing and

fact, in

first

decade of the sixteenth

revisited his early experiences to attempt a

perceiving form in a

new

more volumetric manner. This

face exudes the sense of ambiguity and realism typical in Leonardo's

works. The face's position, slightly inclined to the right, can be

compared

to the studies for the hairstyle of Standing Leda,

interested the artist in the Specifically, there

is

first

decade of the sixteenth century.

a close relationship to a

Library of the Windsor Castle portraying elaborate hairdressing.

142

which

a

page

now in

the Royal

woman's head with an


143


Saint John the Baptist

c.

1508-1513

Oil on panel, 69 x 57 Paris,

was

'TT'his painting

cm

Musee du Louvre

J_ 1517.

appeared

also seen in Leonardo's studio in

was then inherited by

It

Milan

in

have been sold by Leonardo's heirs collection. It

Salai, in

As with the other

in 1525.

was then given to Louis

Cloux

whose inventory

in it

must

paintings, this

it

appears in E. Jabach's

XTV in

1666 and was then given

as

to the Louvre.

The

saint

is

portrayed as a half bust, a variation on the theme

of the figure classically and monumentally constructed in space in direct reference to the

models of statues of

antiquity.

The

painting

can be considered completely by Leonardo's hand. The figure

wrapped

is

shadow. His face carries a languid and ambiguous

in a soft

expression typical of the master's later works.

somewhat weighs down the image employs chiaroscuro to give

is

The shading,

that

used intensely. Leonardo

relief to the painting surface. Relief

is

nothing other than that produced by the optical relationship between an object and

its

background

(a

theory often expressed in his writing).

Today the work has blackened. Despite

shadow

there

is

some

this,

on the walls

reflection of light, primary

in the

and secondary

shadows. The softness with which the tonal transitions are accomplished from one contour of the face to the other shows Leonardo's interest for

optical

atmospheric subtleties. The painting's theme

and expressive

light.

"No one has

is

light,

ever denied that an intense

aura of emotional engagement exudes from Saint John.

Its

nature

has however been interpreted in a variety of ways and often in ways

unfavorable to Leonardo. In the worst case,

it

has been seen as the

effusion of an ageing homosexual, and from a certain perspective, that

144

may be

true"

(Kemp, 1982).


145


The

Virgin and Child with Saint

and the

c.

A

1510-1513

Oil on panel, 168 x 130

Pans, Musee du Louvre

cm

Little

Anne

Lamb

ntonio de Beatis saw this painting in Cloux on his 1517

ÂŁ\ which we have already mentioned. His pupil tQ

Mi]an In 1629> thg painting was bought

at

Salai

it

it

Casale Monferrato,

during the war for Mantua's succession, by Cardinal Richelieu,

gave

visit,

brought

to the king of France, Louis XIII, in 1636.

It

who

has been in the

Louvre since 1810.

Leonardo worked on

theme

this

several times, at least since he

made the cartoon

for the Serviti of Santissima Annunziata in Florence.

The grouping

formed following

structure.

the

The

is

lamb by the

tries lovingly to

ears.

stop

Mary,

less

and

is

him from

so evanescent that

ageless.

game. The scene

this

is it

a

view of

The doubts expressed

The opaque

a

is

homey, playful

mountainous land-

seems magical and unreal, time-

been painted by Leonardo stem from vation.

balanced pyramid

who is sitting on her mother Anne's lap,

and peaceful. Behind the group scape that

a perfectly

Christ child flees from the mother's arms and grabs

in the past

its

about

it

having

imperfect state of conser-

flatness of the Virgin's clothes

is

caused more

by the deterioration of the pigment rather than by Leonardo not having finished painting

this area. Saint

Anne's clothes have also

lost

color and the tree to the right that serves as a theatrical backdrop

has nothing of the naturalism

we

expect in Leonardo's works. The

layering of the rocks and stones in the foreground

is

what has

remained of an edge of a pool of water that originally bathed the feet of the saint (a device that

Leonardo

The draping of the arm of the erations ings.

on which the

They can

also

artist

also used in his early works).

Virgin's clothes reveals those consid-

had practiced

be referenced

in his studies

to the interest, that he

explored, in comparisons with classical statues.

146

and draw-

had often


147


Bacchus

1510-1513

(?)

Tempera and oil on panel tra sfer d t0 CanvaS

?

>"TPhis painting was inherited by Leonardo's fortunate pupil Salai _|_

anc was seen by Cassiano dal Pozzo

in

J

defined as a "Saint John in the desert."

It

Fontainebleau in 1625,

was recorded

in

1695

in

[5 Paris

Musee du Louvre

r

^ e r °y a ^ collections as Baccus dans un paisage (Bacchus in a land-

scape).

It

had the same

Some Saint

critics believe that

John the

leafs,

in his

to return finally to Paris.

the painting originally represented a

Baptist in the desert. In support of this theory, scholars

cite the fact that the

of vine

works Leonardo had

fate as the other

from France to Milan

studio, going

addition of the attributes of Bacchus (the crown

the panther skin and the grape bunch) were

made

in

two copies

the French collections between 1683 and 1695. There are

of this work: one by Cesare da Sesto's and the other in the church of Sant'Eustorgio in Milan. Neither of the two has the Bacchus

However,

attributes.

Sarato, in

found

Louvre was later

Worcester by Andrea del

in

is

palpable, does

show

these

therefore difficult to establish

if

the Bacchus in the

originally a Saint John/Bacchus or

if

the attributes were

attributes. It

added

a derivation

which Leonardo's authority is

and without Leonardo's

intentions.

The

character

is

located in a natural surrounding and once again returns to the theme

of a classical style figure.

Of course,

to

be

a Saint

John the Baptist

the figure does not have a cross, but a thyrsus. "Despite

of conservation, this strange painting has a nostalgic

148

image of

a lost paradise."

its

its

poor state

own unique charm,

as


149


â&#x20AC;¢

M


/


Leda (after

c.

A

1515-1520

Tempera > _,

grassa c1 .

?

on panel

.

Rome, Gailena Borghese

t

Leonardo)

the time of

its

inventory,

Leda was the most highly valued

Âą\ painting inherited by Gian Giacomo Caprotti, better known sign of considerable fame. was almost' certainlv the ... Standing Leda version of which painting derivation by as Salai, a

its

It

.

this

is

Leonardo follower who must have seen

a

a

cartoon in addition to

its

copying the original. In 1625, Cassiano dal Pozzo described Leonardo's Leda

in

Fontainebleau

as,

"A standing Leda, almost

completely nude, with the swan and two eggs

from the

shell of which four children are

at

her feet and a figure

seen emerging."

tion dates to the second Florentine period, at the

Its

concep-

same time

as his

studies for the Battle of Anghiari.

Leonardo's choice to give

life

to a classical

myth such

as that

of Leda (with undeniable erotic and sensual implications) should be interpreted as one of the infinite proofs of his interest for antiquity,

an interest that became more ardent after his

Roman

trip in the first

years of the sixteenth century.

This painting appeared in the inventory of the Galleria Borghese

beginning in 1693 with an attribution to Leonardo. surviving copies (a dozen in

now

all)

this

Of

the

many

and the former Spiridon version,

in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence,

were those which had

longest maintained the attribution to Leonardo.

"The Leda's powerful

anatomy, the master}' of the expressive means of the layout of the

background, with the tiny black outlines that populate the urban center following a pure Florentine tradition, lead to a attribution of the

work

to an artist in the

Tuscan

more

area,

likely

who was

strongly influenced by Flemish realism" (Bartoli, in Leonardo e 11

152

Mitodi Leda, 2001).


153


.;&


Chronological Table

Life of

1452

Leonardo

and

Historical

Leonardo was born

in

Vinci

son of notary, Piero

di

Antonio.

on

April

1

5,

the natural

In

Artistic

Arezzo, Piero della Francesca begins the cycle

of frescoes with the

The Peace

1454

Events

Legend of the

True Cross.

of Lodi initiates a period of political

stability in Italy.

1469

In

this year,

he was already

in

Verrocchio's

workshop.

1472

He

is

a

member

of the painter's guild, the

Compagnia di San Luca. His first works date from

this time: sets for feasts

and tournaments, a cartoon

for a tapestry

(destroyed) and paintings of uncertain dating.

1473

Dates (August Val

1476

the drawing Landscape of the

5)

d'Arno (Florence,

He and

Uffizi).

others are accused of sodomy.

He

is

acquitted.

In

Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza

in

a plot. His

the city

1478

He

is

commissioned

to paint the altarpiece for the

Chapel of San Bernardo In

the

same

year,

1480

According to the for

Palazzo della Signona.

he says he completed two

paintings of the Virgin, identified as the

in

one

of

which

is

now

The fails;

is

"

Anonimo Gaddiano, " he works

Lorenzo de' Medici.

Contract for the Adoration of the Magi.

1482

He moves

governed by Simonetta.

Pazzi Conspiracy, instigated by

his brother,

156

IV,

Lorenzo the Magnificent,

is

strengthened.

Ludovico Sforza

nephew and

kills

Simonetta, imprisons his

illegitimately

to Milan leaving the Adoration

Milan, he signs the contract for the Virgin of the Rocks together with Evangelists and Ambrogio

de' Predis.

Pope Sixtus

Giuliano de' Medici dies, but the authority of

of the Magi unfinished.

In

assassinated

Benois Madonna.

1481

1483

is

son Giangaleazzo succeeds him;

Raphael

is

born

in

Urbino.

becomes duke

of Milan.


Leonardo

Life of

1487

Payment

and

Historical

Artistic

Events

for projects for the tiburio of Milan's

Duomo 1488

Verrocchio dies

in

on the equestrian

Bramante

is in

Venice,

where he was working

monument

Pavia,

of Colleoni.

where he

is

consulted for

the Cathedral's design.

1489

He designs temporary

sets to celebrate the

marriage between Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella In this

d'Aragona

same

year,

he begins preparations

for the colossal equestrian statue in

of

1491

honor

Francesco Sforza.

Gian Giacomo Caprotti from Oreno, Salai,

known

as

eleven years old at this time, enters into

Leonardo's service. His nickname

means

"devil,"

comes from

Salai,

which

the boy's unruly

character

1492

He designs

the costumes for the procession of

Scythians and Tartars for the marriage between

Ludovico

1494

il

Moro and

Lorenzo de' Medici dies

in

Florence.

formed by the Peace

of alliances

The system

of Lodi starts

to break up.

Beatrice d'Este.

Reclamation works on one of the duke's estates

Charles

near Vigevano. Begins the Last Supper.

il

VIII,

king of France, allied with Ludovico

Moro, comes to

Italy

to reclaim his rights over

the Kingdom of Naples.

1495

He begins decoration Sforzesco Castle. The

of the

rooms

artist is

in

the

mentioned as

a

Ducal Engineer.

1497

The duke of Milan urges the artist to complete the Last Supper which was probably finished at the end of the year

1498

Completes the decoration in

the Sforzesco Castle.

of the Sala delle

Asse

Pollaiolo dies in Rome, where he had made the tombs of Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII. Michelangelo is commissioned to sculpt the Pieta in St. Peter's.

Savonarola

is

burned

at

the stake

in

Florence.

157


Leonardo

Life of

1499

Leaves Milan stops

in

the

Historical

company

Vaprio to

first at

visit

of Luca Pacioli.

He

Francesco Melzi, and

then continues to Venice passing through Mantua,

where he

1500

He

paints

arrives

at

1502

at

Artistic

Events

Luca Signorelli begins the frescoes of is

San

Brizio

in

in

the chapel

the Cathedral of Orvieto. Milan

occupied by the king of France, Louis

XII.

portraits of Isabella d'Este.

In

March. Returns to Florence

the monastery of the Servite Brothers

di Cosimo paints the Stones of Primitive Humanity in Florence.

Piero

Santissima Annunziata.

Rome, Bramante begins the temple

Enters into Cesare Borgia's service as architect

In

and general engineer, following him

Pietro

campaigns 1503

Venice

in

and stays

two

and

in

in

his military

in

of

San

Montorio and the Belvedere Courtyard.

Romagna.

Returns to Florence where, according to Vasari,

he paints

Mona

Lisa and Leda.

to deviate the course of the of Pisa.

He draws up

plans

Arno during the siege

The Signona commissions him

to paint

the Battle of Anghiari.

1504

Continues to work on the Battle of Anghiari.

Michelangelo completes the David commissioned

He

three years earlier by the Republic of Florence.

is

asked to be part of the committee to decide

where

to place Michelangelo's David.

Raphael paints the Marriage of the

moves

to Florence

where he

is

Virgin.

He then

profoundly

influenced by Leonardo's works.

1506

He leaves Florence

for Milan,

within three months.

The stay

committing to return in

Milan lasts longer

than planned.

1508

He

lives in

Florence and then returns to Milan.

In

Rome, Michelangelo

starts to fresco the vault

of the Sistine Chapel. In Venice, Giorgione Titian

1509

Geological studies of the Lombardian valleys.

and

fresco the Fondaco dei Tedeschi.

Raphael

is in

Rome, where he

starts to decorate

the Vatican Stanze.

1510

Anatomy

studies with Marcantonio Torre at the

University of Pavia.

1512

Michelangelo completes the frescoes on the vault of the Sistine Chapel.

158


Life of

1513

Leonardo

Leaves Milan

for

Historical

Rome, where he stays

at

Pope

the

for three years,

He remains

in

the

II

Events

dies. Giovanni de'

Medici succeeds

X. In Florence,

Andrea

del

Sarto begins the fresco cycle with Stories of the

city

working on mathematical and

Cesare da Sesto achieves a

Virgin. In Milan,

synthesis of Leonardo and Raphael's styles with

scientific studies.

his

1514

Julius

Artistic

him with the name Leo

Vatican, in the Belvedere, under the protection of Giuliano de' Medici.

and

Projects for draining Pontine

swamps and

for the

Baptism of

Bramante dies

Christ.

in

Rome. Raphael succeeds him

as architect of the Fabric of

port of Civitavecchia.

1515

Francois

I

becomes

St.

Peter

king of France.

He reconquers

Milan with the victory of Mangnano. Raphael

works on the cartoons

for the tapestries in

the

Sistme Chapel.

1516

He moves

to

Amboise.

to the court of Francois

I

becomes

Charles of Hapsburg

king of Spam.

of France.

1517

In

Rome, Raphael and

Logge in

1518

Participates

in

the

in

his

workshop

paint the

the Vatican and the Loggia of Psyche

Villa

Farnesina.

the festivities for the baptism of the

Dauphin and Lorenzo de' Medici's marriage to the king's niece.

1519

On

April 23,

he revises

his will. His friend, the

painter Francesco Melzi,

He

dies on

May

2.

is

the

will's

executor

Charles

V

of

Hapsburg

is

named Holy Roman

Emperor. Direct conflict begins between France

and the Empire.

In

Parma. Correggio paints the

Badessa's Chamber

in

the Convent of San Paolo

159


Geographical Locations of the Paintings

Italy

The Annunciation Oil

Baptism of Christ by

and tempera on panel

Verrocchio

(detail of

98x217 cm

and landscape)

Florence, Gallena degh Uffizi

Oil

c.

1472-1475

angel

and tempera on panel,

177

x 151

cm

Florence, Gallena degh Uffizi c.

Adoration of the Magi Oil

on panel,

1475-1478

Portrait of a

Musician

(Franchino Gaffuno?)

246 x 243 cm

Oil

Florence, Gallena degh Uffizi

43 x 31 cm

1481-1482

on panel,

Milan, Pinacoteca

Ambrosiana c.

1485

The Last Supper Tempera and oil on gesso preparation, 460 x 880 cm

Roots and Rocks

Milan, refectory of Santa

fragments

Maria delle Grazie

Milan, Castello Sforzesco,

1494-1497

Sala delle

Tree Trunks with Branches,

Pen drawing on

plaster,

Asse

1498

Female Head (La scapigliata) Earth shadow, green amber and ceruse on panel, 24.7 x 21

cm

Parma, Gallena Nazionale, Palazzo Pilotta c.

Vatican City

1508

Saint Jerome Tempera and oil on 1

03 x 75

cm

Vatican City,

Pinacoteca Vaticana c 1480

160

panel,

Leda (after Leonardo) Tempera grassa on panel, 112 x 86 cm Rome, Gallena Borghese c. 1515-1520


France

The

Virgin with the Infant

Portrait of a

Lady

Saint John Adoring the Infant

(La Belle Ferronniere)

Christ Accompanied

Oil

Angel Oil

(Virgin

by an

of the Rocks)

on panel, 199 x 122

Pans,

cm

Musee du Louvre

on panel,

63 x 45 Paris, c.

cm

Musee du Louvre

1490-1495

1483-1486

Mona

Portrait of Isabella d'Este

Portrait of

Black chalk, sanguine

Giocondo (La Gioconda) Oil on panel,

and yellow pastel on paper. x 46 cm

63

77 x 53

Musee du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessms

Paris,

Paris,

Lisa del

cm

Musee du Louvre

1503-1 504 and 1510-1515

1500

John the Baptist

Saint Oil

on panel,

69

x

57

Pans, c.

The

cm

the

Musee du Louvre

1508-1513

Oil

Little

oil

and

Child

Anne and

Lamb

on panel,

Paris, c.

Bacchus Tempera and

Virgin

with Saint

1

68

x

130

cm

Musee du Louvre

1510-1513

on panel

transferred to canvas,

177x 115cm Musee du Louvre

Paris,

1510-1515(7)

Germany

Madonna and

Child

(Madonna of the Carnation) Oil

on panel,

62 x47 5

cm

Munich, Alte Pmakothek c.

1470

161


Great Britain

Virgin of the

Rocks

Burlington

Oil

Poland

stump on

on panel,

cm

189.5 x 120

House Cartoon

Black chalk, ceruse and

(second version)

paper,

141,5 x 104

cm

London, National Gallery

London, National Gallery

1495-1508

1501 (?)-c. 1505

Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani

(Lady with an Ermine) Oil

on panel,

54.8 x 40.3

cm

Krakow, Czartoryski

Museum

1488-1490

Russia

Madonna

with Child

IBenois Madonna) Oil

on panel transferred

48 x 31 cm

to canvas, St.

Petersburg, The State

Hermitage c.

USA

Museum

1478-1482

Madonna

Gmevra de' Benci Tempera and oil on

of the

Pomegranate (Dreyfus Madonna) Oil

cm

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art

Gallery of Art, Kress Collection

C.

1469

panel,

cm

Washington, D.C., National

c.

162

on panel, 15.7 x 12.8

38.8 x 36.7

1474-1476


Writings


w

F

tracts from the

notebooks of Leonardo da

Vinci.

against the surrounding atmosphere. But this

cannot be said to add to the

difficulties

of the

sculptor, considering that he, as well as the painter,

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAINTING

has an accurate knowledge of

AND SCULPTURE

objects from every aspect

do not find any other difference between painting and sculpture than that the sculptor's

edge

I

work

painter's greater

mental

can be proved; for the

The truth of this sculptor, caning in his

effort.

statue out of marble or other stone wherein

it is

always

at

The

much he cannot add on, we reply that if he were his

ures,

fluous and excessive pans with the strength of

His taking away

arms and the strokes of the hammer

much

mechanical exercise causing which, mingling with the

His face

marble powder, making him look is

covered with minute chips

a snowstorm, and

all

mud.

over with

like a baker,

as if

his dwelling

a very

he

emerging from

and

dirty

is

filled

with dust and chips of stone.

How the painter

sits in

front of his

r

fancies,

and

his

home

is

work

clean

in the

to

at perfect ease.

and

hammering and other

draw many

round so

whether

in

pitiful,

filled

with

noises.

completing his

deserts,

if

he wishes

If

terrifying, or ludi-

produce towns or

for

with great pleasure without the

Moreover, the sculptor

work has

than he should.

read to him from various beautiful works to

interference of

less

wishes to see enchanting beauties,

to see monstrosities,

he has the power If

he wishes to

in the

hot season he

wants cool and shady places, he can make them. If

he wants

valleys,

if

from high mountaintops he

wants to survey vast stretches of country,

he wants to see the horizon on the

valleys

listen

he

which makes

to ignorance,

he has the power to produce them.

power

which he can

more or

If the painter

and he often enjoys the accom-

who

this

THE PAINTER HAS THE UNIVERSE IN HIS MIND AND HANDS

paniment of music or the company of men of letters,

delightful pictures,

off

due

and authority to create them.

He is well dressed and handles a light brush dipped in delightful color. He is arrayed in the garments he

him take

is

e are

and sculptors

first-rate painters

To

proficient in his art

knowledge of the required meas-

crous and laughable, or

different the painter's lot

speaking of

he takes off too

perspiration,

turns into

grit,

pasted and smeared

is

if

like the painter.

have taken off just enough and not too much.

potentially contained, has to take off the super-

his

[...].

sculptor says that

would, with

the outlines of

that this knowl-

the disposal of both the painter

and the sculptor

and the

entails greater physical effort

is

all

and

to create

all this;

and

sea,

likewise,

if

if

beyond

he has the from deep

he wants to see high mountains or from

high mountains deep valleys and beaches. Indeed,

whatever

exists in the universe,

whether

in essence,

in act, or in the imagination, the painter has first in his

mind and then

in his

hands. His hands are

outlines for each figure

of such excellence that they can present to our

that the figure should look well

view simultaneously whatever well-proportioned

from every aspect.

And

these contours are

r

harmonies

real things exhibit piecemeal.

composed of protrusions and depressions flowing into

one another, and can only be correcdy drawn

when viewed from ities

a distance

whence the concav-

and projections can be seen silhouetted

HOW TO STUDY First study science,

and then follow with practice

based on science. 165


The painter who draws by practice and judgment of the eye without the use of reason the mirror that reproduces within

which are

objects

set

opposite to

it

their

nudes wooden and without grace, so

is

like

seems rather

itself all

the

nuts than a

without knowl-

as

if

you were looking

human form

at a

that

it

sack of

or at a bundle of radishes

rather than the muscles of nudes.

edge of the same.

The youth ought

first

to learn perspective,

then the proportions of everything, then he should learn

from the hand of a good master

order to

in

PROPORTIONS OF THE HUMAN FIGURE

From

order to confirm for himself the reasons for

what he has learned; then

for a time

it

a habit to practice

and work

make

a tenth

From

the chin to the top of the head

is

an

eighth part.

And from

he should

study the works of different masters; then

is

part of the figure.

accustom himself to good limbs; then from nature in

the chin to the starting of the hair

the chin to the nostrils

is

a third

part of the face.

And

at his art.

the same from the nostrils to the

eyebrows, and from the eyebrows to the starting

THE REQUISITES OF PAINTING The first requisite of painting which

it

of the is

that the bodies

represents should appear in

that the scenes

relief,

which surround them with

and

effects

of distance should seem to enter into the plane in

which the picture

is

produced by means of the

hair.

If

you

set

your legs so

far apart as to take a

fourteenth part from your height, and you open

and

raise

your arms

until

you touch the line of the

crown of the head with your middle must know that the center of the

fingers,

circle

you

formed by

three parts of perspective, namely, the diminu-

the extremities of the outstretched limbs will be

form of bodies, the

the navel, and the space between the legs will

tion in the distinctness of the

diminution

in their size,

and the diminution

in

form an

The second

requisite of painting

actions should be appropriate in the figures, so that the

is

and have

men may

that the

a necessary thing for the painter, in

order to

to fashion the limbs correctly in the posi-

know the anatomy

parts

yourself,

the various

when you

take a walk for recreation, by

actions of men as they walk and dispute, or laugh

come

actions

166

all

of the sinews, bones,

or

in

memory

watching and taking note of the attitudes and

movements and impulses, which sinew or muscle is the cause of each movement, and to make only these prominent and thickened,

who,

your

in the

various different

all

in

and forms of things, you should often amuse

muscles, and tendons in order to know, in the

and not the others

you have thoroughly learned perspective

and have fixed

and actions which they can represent

nude, to

is

HOW TO COMPOSE GROUPS OF FIGURES When

tions

man's outstretched arms

IN HISTORICAL PICTURES

THE PAINTER MUST KNOW ANATOMY be able

a

equal to his height.

a variety

not look as

though they were brothers.

It is

equilateral triangle.

The span of

their color [...].

over the limb, as do

order to appear great draftsmen,

many make

to

blows one with another

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;both

and those of the bystanders who

their

either

intervene or stand looking on at these things;

noting them in a little

down

with rapid strokes in this way,

pocket book, which you ought always

to earn- with vou.


â&#x20AC;&#x201D; who are praised more than yourself,

HOW" TO REPRESENT AN ANGRY FIGURE

among

An

for praise will spur you; a third reason

angry figure should be represented seizing

someone by the

hair

to the ground, with

the right

arm and

and twisting

one knee on

fist

his ribs,

and with

raised high up; let

him have

eyebrows knit together,

his hair disheveled, his his teeth clenched, the

as

from the methods of such

will learn

than you, and will profit

swollen and

is all

he bends over the foe)

full

of furrows.

or to the up, or

them sideways

even though they

left,

down, or

their faults,

yourself praised will increase your

you

and hearing

skill.

HOW TO MAKE AN IMAGINARY ANIMAL APPEAR NATURAL without

of your figures straight

the shoulders, but turn

that

you are abler than the others you

by eschewing

You know MOTIONS OF FIGURES Never set the heads

if

is

as are abler

two corners of the mouth

arched, and the neck (which

extended

head down

his

those

to the right

may be

straight forward.

above

looking

Because

it

is

it

you cannot make any animal

that

having

its

some resemblance other animals.

If,

limbs such that each bears

to that of

therefore,

some one of the to make

you wish

one of your imaginary animals appear natural let

us suppose

it

to

be

a

dragon

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;take

for

its

necessary so to design their attitudes that they

head

appear sprightly and awake, and not torpid and

of a cat, for

sleepy.

nose that of a greyhound, with eyebrows of

that of a mastiff or setter, for

lion, the

CHOICE OF BEAUTIFUL FACES Methinks

it is

its

its

eyes those

ears those of a porcupine, for

its

a

temples of an old cock, and the neck

of a water tortoise.

no small grace in a painter to be able

to give a pleasing air to his figures,

and whoever

is

not naturally possessed of this grace

it

by

may

acquire

study, as opportunity offers, in the following

HOW TO PORTRAY FACES GIVING THEM CHARM OF LIGHT AND SHADE Very great charm of light and shade

who

is

to

be found

manner. Be on the watch to take the best parts of

in the faces

many beautiful

dark houses. The eyes of the observer see the

lished rather

faces, of which the

beauty

is

estab-

by general repute than by your own

judgment, for you

may

by selecting such faces your own, since

it

of those

sit

in the

doors of

shaded part of such faces darkened by the shade

readily deceive yourself

of the house, and the illuminated part of them

resemblance to

brightened by the luminosity of the atmosphere.

as bear a

would often seem

that such

From

this intensification of light

ad shadow the

faces gain relief, for the illuminated part has

similarities please us.

almost imperceptible shadows and the shaded

WHETHER IT OR ALONE I

IS

BETTER TO DRAW IN COMPANY

say and confirm that

part has almost imperceptible lights. This

manner of it is

far better to

draw

in

company than alone for many reasons: the first is that you will be ashamed to be seen among the draftsmen if you are unskillful, and this shame will

cause you to study well. In the second place,

a feeling of emulation will

goad you

to try to rank

treating

shadow adds much 7

and intensifying

light

and

to the beauty of faces.

COLORS

The

color of the object illuminated partakes of the

color of that which illuminated

The medium

that

is

it

[...].

between the eye and the object 167


seen transforms the object into

its

own

So

color.

the blueness of the atmosphere causes the distant

mountains to seem blue; red

surface of every

n excerpt from Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the

LIFE

OF LEONARDO DA VINCI

Artists.

glass causes every-

thing that the eye sees through

The

A

it

to

seem

red.

opaque body shares

in

the color of the surrounding objects.

FLORENTINE PAINTER AND SCULPTOR, 1452-1519 In the normal course of events

women SHADOWS

ties

Since white

is

not

a

color but

is

capable of

becoming the

recipient of every color,

white object

is

seen in the open air

shadows are blue to blue,

all

a

its

of verdure always approxi-

and so

it is

with every shadow of

entirely

when

they are farther distant from

the eye, and less in proportion as they are nearer.

The shadow

of flesh should be of burnt

terra verde.

in

human

Everyone acknowledged

Leonardo da ical

who

beauty

it

reflects the actual thing,

and then compare

the reflection with your picture and consider carefully

whether the subject of the two images

is

in

was true of

that this

Vinci, an artist of outstanding phys-

displayed infinite grace in every-

thing he did and

He

who

cultivated his genius so

problems he studied he solved

possessed great strength and

he was a

man of regal spirit and tremenhis name became so

dous breadth of mind; and

was he esteemed during

lifetime but his reputation

that

far

art.

famous

so

talent

men

God rather

than from

presented by nature, take a mirror and

it

and

everything he does clearly comes from

his actions

of your picture corresponds with that of the object set

marvellously

beauty, grace,

seem

that

and indeed

dexterity; effect

is

way

inspired,

all

with ease.

you wish to see whether the general

in a

such abundance that he leaves other

brilliantly that all

THE MIRROR IS THE MASTER OF PAINTERS

When

but occasionally,

talents;

endowed by heaven with

every other thing, and they tend to this color

more

and

transcends nature, a single person

behind,

[...].

The shadows mate

when

many men and

are born with various remarkable quali-

that not only

even greater

his

endured and became

after his death.

This marvellous and divinely inspired Leonardo was the son of Piero da Vinci. He

conformity with both, studying especially the

would have been very

mirror.

lessons for he

if

proficient at his early

he had not been so

was always

volatile

and unstable;

setting himself to learn

many

OF THE LIFE OF THE PAINTER IN HIS STUDIO The painter or draftsman ought to be solitary, in order that the well-being of the body may not sap

things only to

the vigor of the mind.

used to baffle his master with the questions and

Thus he began

gain this

renown

renown of 168

riches.

is

so

much

that he raised.

For

and

after a

few

progress that he

a little

while he

attended to music, and then he very soon resolved

O painter, take care lest the greed for gain prove a stronger incentive than

to learn arithmetic,

months he had made problems

ADVICE TO THE PAINTER

abandon them almost immediately.

renown

in art, for to

a far greater thing

than

is

the

to play the lyre, for he

and refined

was

disposition;

he accompanied

his

naturally of an elevated

and with

this

instrument

own charming and impro-

vised singing. All the same, for

all

his other enter-


Leonardo never ceased drawing and

prises

working

in relief, pursuits

which best suited

his

temperament.

inspired by the grace of God, his powers of expression

were so powerfully fed by a willing memory and

and

intellect,

Realizing this, and considering the quality

conveyed

his writing

his ideas so

arguments and reasonings

that his

precisely,

of his son's intelligence, Piero one day took some

confounded the most formidable

of Leonardo's drawings to Andrea del Verrocchio

he used to make models and plans showing

critics.

In addition,

how to

and earnestly would be profstudy design. Andrea was

excavate and tunnel through mountains without

amazed to see what extraordinary beginnings Leonardo had made and he urged Piero to make him study the subject. So Piero arranged for Leonardo to enter Andrea's workshop. The boy was delighted with this decision, and he began

weights by means of levers, hoists, and winches,

(who was

a close friend of his)

begged him

to say

itable for the

boy

one branch of the

arts

be

gifted,

works

in clay several

as if

some

as well as

by

a

mature

being

still

children's heads, executed

artist.

He

tectural drawings both of

also did

many

archi-

ground plans and of

lift

and draw great

up water from

great depths. His brain

was

always busy on such devices, and one can find drawings of his ideas

and experiments scattered among

making

[...].

He

also spent a great

a pattern of a series of knots,

so arranged that the connecting thread can be traced

from one end to the other and the complete design fills

heads of women, with

smiling faces, of which plaster casts are

made,

to suck

deal of time in

as a

to

and ways of cleansing harbours and using pumps

our craftsmen today

sculptor and architect. In his youth Leonardo

made

so as to pass from one level to another;

and he demonstrated how

He

and he proved himself

a first-class geometrician in his

difficulty,

but

the branches in which design plays a part.

was marvellously to

it

1

to

to practise not only all

whether

round space

a

[...].

Leonardo's disposition was so lovable that

He owned,

he commanded everyone's affection.

one might yet

say,

nothing and he worked very

he always kept servants

little,

as well as horses.

These gave him great pleasure

as

indeed did

all

young, he was

the animal creation which he treated with

Arno

to a navi-

wonderful love and patience. For example, often

gable canal between Pisa and Florence.

He made

when he was walking past were sold he would pay

other elevations, and, while the

first

still

to propose reducing the

designs for mills, fulling machines, and engines that could

be driven by water-power; and

intended to be fully

a painter

by profession he

studied drawing from

made

life.

as

he

care-

Sometimes he

clay models, draping the figures with rags

and then drawing them painstakingly on fine Rheims cloth or prepared dipped linen.

in

plaster

These drawings were done

in black

and

them from the

air,

their cages,

giving

the places

the price asked, take

and

them back

where birds

let

them

fly off into

their lost freedom. In

return he was so favoured by nature that to what-

ever he turned his

mind

or thoughts the results

were always inspired and and

delightful

and

realistic.

perfect;

and

his lively

works were incomparably graceful

white with the point of the brush, and the results

were marvellous beautiful

[...].

Besides

this,

Leonardo did

and detailed drawings on paper which

are unrivaled for the perfection of their finish [...].

Altogether, his genius

was so wonderfully

'

Andrea

del Verrocchio (see above), painter

and gold-

smith, and the chief sculptor in Florence after Donatello's death.

169


A

n excerpt from A. Richard Turner's Inventing

flanked by the rivers

Water was

Leonardo.

tion

DUCAL SERVANT IN MILAN would have it that Leonardo brought to Ludovico Sforza, the de facto ruler and later Duke

Vasari

of Milan, a

gift

had fashioned

a silver lyre that the artist himself

in the

may be some truth for Leonardo's it

had

to

form of a

to the story, but

permanent

monument

There

hardly accounts

it

desire to erect a bronze

to the glory of his father, the

condottiere Francesco Sforza. Both father and son

were usurpers of legitimate authority any

art suggestive

and

of their dynastic continuity and

would have been

stability

in Milan,

all

to the point. Equestrian

monuments had the authority of antiquity as with the imperial Marcus Aurelius in Rome and the destroyed Regisole at Pavia); and in Francesco's own time, Donatello had made a monument for the outside of the Church of the Santo in Padua, to memorialize the Venetian condottiere Erasmo da

sanitation of the

commercial transportacity,

and hydraulic

engi-

neering to provide the needed canals was a constant

preoccupation from the

later

The waterworks supported

Middle Ages onward.

a considerable base of

manufacturing, including armaments production. In short, the city was highly attractive to anyone

problems of technology.

interested in

While Milan had indigenous

of residence. Possibly

shift

do with Ludovico's

equestrian

horse's head.

and

Adda and Ticino to either side.

essential to the

ness could not

compare

must have been Milan's than

its

a scat-

illustrious-

to those in Florence.

So

it

practical challenges rather

high culture that led Leonardo there. That

he saw things Ludovico letter is

and

artists

number and

tering of humanists, their

in

way

this

which the

is

revealed in a letter to

artist offers his services.

The

not in Leonardo's hand, had numerous

(

might have been more obvious to Ludovico

through

his Florentine

correspondents than

us that Leonardo was just the

man

major

in,

Verrocchio

More

competed

little

doubt about the identity of the

most scholars believe

in

to

partici-

on the basis of

largely

to the letter

that the letter

substantively reflects his thought.

The that

letter

opens with Leonardo's assurance

he has reviewed the available technology for

instruments of war. and implies that he can do better.

San Lorenzo, the

He goes on to list the accomplishments in his port-

projects

to the point, Verrocchio

for the equestrian

seem related

that

The

planning for the Doubting Thomas group, the bronze

David.

Lord" leaves

intended recipient. Despite these uncertainties,

by

metalworking

—the Medici tomb

it is

for the job.

had surely observed, and probably

artist

pated

not dated, and

is

records of later projects undertaken by Leonardo

Narni, called Gattamelata. It

corrections suggestive of a draft,

has no addressee, though the salutation "Illustrious

had even

monument

to the

from plans for siege bridges

folio,

artillery. It is a

closest

to

mines and

shameless piece of bravura, for the

Leonardo probably had come to such accom-

Venetian condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni, and in

plishments was familiarity with them in books and

wooden model was

manuscripts by others, notably the De re military of

1481 a

full-scale, leather-coated

taking shape in his studio. fits

Equipped with the bene-

of Verrocchio's example, and probably well

recommended on the highest authority, may have seized the opportunity

Leonardo

Florence

(it

with 65,000).

It

lay in a plain

the north and the river

170

Po

About halfway

into the letter,

Leonardo

unconsciously reveals his hand by slipping into the future and conditional tenses, and closes by saving

Milan in 1481 was considerably larger than

had a population of 200,000

1472 by Roberto Valturio, secretary to Sigismondo Malatesta.

compared

between the Alps

to the south,

to

and was

he can demonstrate the in the

Ducal Park. Only

he claim

feasibility at

of his suggestions

the end of the letter does

his expertise in the three

suggesting that "the bronze horse

major

may be

arts,

taken in


hand, which

honor of the

to the immortal glory

is

prince, your

and

eternal

happy father of memory."

Given Leonardo's announced agenda, and the participation of Milan in the defense of Ferrara against the Venetians,

it is

ironic that the

tant record of Leonardo's activity in

a technologist but as a painter.

sion (dated April 25, 1483

)

first

Milan

impor-

is

not as

He shared a commis-

for an altarpiece for the

Chapel of the Confraternity of the Conception

in

San

Francesco Grande (since destroyed), with two local artists,

the brothers Evangelista and

Predis. Leonardo was responsible

Ambrogio

it is

air

a vision,

it is

grounded

in

recorded in a drawing from the same years. Scholars

have exhaustively searched the Bible and ical literature to

rocky wilderness, and have

come up with some plau-

But the

sible interpretations.

real significance of

Leonardo's visionary topography may lie far deeper.

de'

Soon, painting ceased to be Leonardo's chief concern. There are about a half dozen additional

most surely by his hand similar surviving versions in the

latter picture

is

Louvre

picture in Paris.

picture 1483-86) chapel, but as

the

London

late as

king or

this

it

and

itself,

yet

was made later than the

dilemma suggest the

was the original

some

picture

later point (

Paris

altarpiece for the

was replaced with

1490s, but perhaps finished as

1508) after the

Ludovico

in Paris

London. The

The common working hypotheses

put forth to resolve (

in

traceable to the chapel

most scholars believe that

first

version was given

German emperor, depending on

by

Ermine (probably

stay in Milan, including several

most elegant

—and

—being the Woman with an

a portrait of Ludovico's mistress

Cecilia Gallerani), the Paris version of the Virgin

the Rocks, It is

of

and of course The Last Supper. not

known when Leonardo began

keep an extensive written and of his works, nor what

amount of

the Florentine years has been

to

illustrated record

material from

lost.

evidence yet to be discovered,

it

But barring likely that

is

Leonardo began keeping notebooks

in

earnest

only in the mid- 1480s. His early interest centered

on architecture and

military technology.

A

series

the version

competition with Bramante and other local architects for the

In the Paris picture, the four figures are

ground

first

of drawings from around 1487-90 involve a

of the hypotheses one accepts.

just

pictures from his

French

as a diplomatic gift, either to the

disposed in a triangle

exeget-

the juxtaposition of these particular figures with a

John, and an angel.

—one

its

discover passages that might explain

portraits attributed to him, the

another in the National Gallery

if

experience of the sort

commonly known as the Virgin of the Rocks, which featured the Madonna and Child, young Saint

of the composition

stalagmite,

hanging over flowing waters. But

for the central

panel,

There are two very

and

a visionary landscape of stalactite

with heavy

beyond a chasm in the fore-

a device used to separate the sacred world

of the holy figures from the

mundane space

viewer. Mar}' extends her

of the

tambour of the Milanese

cathedral.

In June 1490 he was in Pavia to consult on

work

for the cathedral with Sienese architect Francesco di Giorgio, whose Leonardo annotated.

treatise

on architecture

know one

hand over the blessing

In Pavia he

Child, while a kneeling angel draws the viewer's

libraries in Italy.

attention to the adorning infant Saint John. Despite

how much he learned by word of mouth is an open question. A 1489 memorandum reads, "Get Messer

left

the red of the angels garment, this painting, like the

Ginevra de' Bend, in color.

is

Compared

more

a study in tonality than

to the Ginevra,

deepened, to the degree that

light

of shadow rather than vice versa.

use of sfumato, fully developed.

shadows have

seems It is

The

a function

Leonardo's

setting

seems

came

to

How much

of the better

Leonardo read and

Fazio to show you about proportionality." "Get the

master of arithmetic to show you circle."

how

"Try to get Vitelone, which

is

to square a

in the library

of Pavia, and treats of mathematics." Leonardo was eagerly in search of knowledge, whatever source.

.71


Concise Bibliography

Alberti,

Leon

Battista.

Trans. Cecil Grayson.

On

Painting.

New

York:

Bambach, Carmen C, Alessandro

Kemp,

the

XIV to

the

XX Century. New

York: Pantheon Books, 1945.

Penguin Books, 1991.

Cecchi, Martin

Treves, eds. Artists on Art from

Claire

Kemp,

Martin. The Science of Art:

Optical

Themes

Western Art

in

New

Farago, Varena Forcione, Carlo

from Brunelleschi

Pedretti, Carlo Vecce, Francoise

Haven: Yale University Press,

Viatte,

and Linda Wolk-Simon.

Leonardo da Draftsman.

Vinci:

to Seurat.

1992.

Master

New Haven:

Yale

University Press, 2003.

Kemp,

Martin, and Margaret

Walker. Leonardo:

New Haven: Berenson, Bernard. Italian

On

Painting.

Yale University Press,

2001.

Painters of the Renaissance. 2 vols.

London: Phaidon, 1968.

Nicholl, Charles. Leonardo da

Bramly, Serge. Leonardo: The

York: Viking Books, 2004.

Vinci: Flights

Artist

of the Mind.

New

and the Man. London:

Penguin Books Ltd., 1994.

Turner, A. Richard. Inventing

Leonardo. Berkeley: University

Brown, David Alan, Giulio Bora, Maria

T

Ficino,

of California Press, 1994.

and Pietro C.

Marani. The Legacy of Leonardo:

Vasari, Giorgio. Lives of the Artists

George

Painters in Lombardy, 1480-1530.

(Volume

Milan: Skira, 1999.

London: Penguin Books

I).

Trans.

Bull.

Ltd.,

1987. Clark, Kenneth. Leonardo

da

Vinci.

New

York: Oxford

University Press, 2004.

Vinci,

Leonardo

da.

The

Notebooks of Leonardo da

Vinci.

Ed. and trans. Jean Paul Richter.

Goldwater, Robert, and Marco

2

vols.

New York:

Dover, 1970.

173


BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

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II

113 No

1

1

II

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II

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9999 05363 568 4

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longer the property of tht

Boston Public Library. 9a*e of this material benefited the Library


<9J

Mario Pomilio (1921-1990) was an intellectual

who

A member

of the

wrote for

and

European Parliament, he also the newspaper II Mattino.

Lucia Aquino

where she earned She works with the Uffizi

lives in Florence,

a degree in art history. Gallery,

Italian writer

taught at the University of Naples.

and conducts documentary and

art-historical

research for the Palazzo Vecchio.

Other Art Classics available from

Rizzoli:

Botticelli

ISBN: 0-8478-2676-7 Michelangelo

ISBN: 0-8478-2678-3

Raphael ISBN: 0-8478-2679-1 Verrneer

ISBN: 0-8478-2680-5

Published by Rizzoli International Publications,

300 Park Avenue South

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www.rizzoliusa.com

Printed in China

Inc.


â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

eonardo da

Vinci's

name

evokes the concept of genius

in the public imagination.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;*

of the universe'), in

means and

lived in

an era

(despite

the invention of printing, the discovery of the 'new

world,' the 'Rebirth' of arts,

the

He

and the concept of 'man

which the contrast between

tools available to

him

reveal

his aspirations

of his

all

at the center

and

humanity and

uniqueness to us today. Cesare Luporini (La Mente di Leonardo, 1953) describes the

split:

'The issues that [Leonardo] explored and on which he worked

nature, science for the

and

good of

all

its

.

method, the experiment, the machine, work,

.

relationship between art to his times.

modern

the cognitive and realistic character of

and science

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; were laden with the future

Leonardo was ahead of

the

in relation

his time." (Lucia Aquino)

in this series features a preface

by a renowned art historian,

a thoroughly researched essay, and a description of the

The appendix

art,

These would be some of the decisive issues that shaped the

world.'

Each book

.

utility

includes a chronology of the

artist's life

artist's

masterpieces.

and important

historical

events of his time; a compilation of writings by well-known art historians,

which add cultural perspective and insight into each development; a table

listing the location of

each painting in the book; and

a concise bibliography with suggested further readings.

knowledge of art

art history, this series will

beyond the canvas.

painter's stylistic

compel you

No matter what your to explore a world of

Leonardo da vinci rizzoli art classics  
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