Leonardo da Vinci and artworks
eBook - ePub

Leonardo da Vinci and artworks

Gabriel Séailles

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eBook - ePub

Leonardo da Vinci and artworks

Gabriel Séailles

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Über dieses Buch

Leonardo's early life was spent in Florence, his maturity in Milan, and the last three years of his life in France. Leonardo's teacher was Verrocchio. First he was a goldsmith, then a painter and sculptor: as a painter, representative of the very scientific school of draughtsmanship; more famous as a sculptor, being the creator of the Colleoni statue at Venice, Leonardo was a man of striking physical attractiveness, great charm of manner and conversation, and mental accomplishment. He was well grounded in the sciences and mathematics of the day, as well as a gifted musician. His skill in draughtsmanship was extraordinary; shown by his numerous drawings as well as by his comparatively few paintings. His skill of hand is at the service of most minute observation and analytical research into the character and structure of form. Leonardo is the first in date of the great men who had the desire to create in a picture a kind of mystic unity brought about by the fusion of matter and spirit. Now that the Primitives had concluded their experiments, ceaselessly pursued during two centuries, by the conquest of the methods of painting, he was able to pronounce the words which served as a password to all later artists worthy of the name: painting is a spiritual thing, cosa mentale. He completed Florentine draughtsmanship in applying to modelling by light and shade, a sharp subtlety which his predecessors had used only to give greater precision to their contours. This marvellous draughtsmanship, this modelling and chiaroscuro he used not solely to paint the exterior appearance of the body but, as no one before him had done, to cast over it a reflection of the mystery of the inner life. In the Mona Lisa and his other masterpieces he even used landscape not merely as a more or less picturesque decoration, but as a sort of echo of that interior life and an element of a perfect harmony. Relying on the still quite novel laws of perspective this doctor of scholastic wisdom, who was at the same time an initiator of modern thought, substituted for the discursive manner of the Primitives the principle of concentration which is the basis of classical art. The picture is no longer presented to us as an almost fortuitous aggregate of details and episodes. It is an organism in which all the elements, lines and colours, shadows and lights, compose a subtle tracery converging on a spiritual, a sensuous centre. It was not with the external significance of objects, but with their inward and spiritual significance, that Leonardo was occupied.

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  1. Head of the Virgin in Three-Quarter View Facing Right, 1508-1512
  2. The Virgin and Child with Two Angels, Leonardo da Vinci and the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, probably 1470s
  3. Study of Flowers, c.1481-1483
  4. Bust of an Apostle with Right Hand Raised, c.1495
  5. Comparative Studies of Human and Horse Legs, c.1506-1508
  6. Cataclysmic Study, c.1511-1512
  7. A Study for the Costume of a Masquerader, c.1517-1518
  8. Study for the Fight with the Dragon, Undated
  9. Heads in Profile, c.1478
  10. Five Grotesque Heads, Undated
  11. Head of a Woman
  12. A Portrait of a Young Woman in Right Profile, c. 1485-1490
  13. The Head of a Youth in Right Profile, c.1510
  14. Profiles of a Young and an Old Man
  15. Study of a Hand, c.1483
  16. Study of a Nude, Undated
  17. Studies of Anatomy
  18. The Head of St James and Architectural Sketches, c.1495
  19. Three Dancing Nymphs, Undated
  20. Hercules with the Lion Nemean, c.1505-1508
  21. Drapery for a Seated Figure, Undated
  22. Drapery for a Seated Figure from the Front, Undated
  23. Study of Weapons, Undated
  24. Pharmacopoeia on the Flight of Birds, 1505-1506
  25. The Distance from the Sun to Earth and the Size of the Moon, 1506-1508
  26. Study of Geometric Transformations, Undated
  27. A Sheet of Pictograms, Drawn over an Architectural Plan, c.1490
  28. Vertical Flying Machine, 1487-1490
  29. Different Types of Chains, 1493-1497
  30. Chariot Armed with Scythe, c.1485
  31. Mechanism for Alternative to Continuous Movement, c.1485
  32. Giant Mechanical Digger, c.1503
  33. Machine Gun, c.1482
  34. Rapid Fire Trigger, Undated
  35. Mortars Firing Cannonballs, Undated
  36. The Etruscan Mausoleum
  37. Automobile, Undated