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Old 05-15-2019, 02:00 AM
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Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

Contemporary reverence for da Vinci is more about our age than his oeuvre

https://medium.economist.com/was-leo...y-b8788f7ab64c
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:06 AM
ianuk ianuk is offline
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

I recently looked at his drawings in a series of UK wide exhibitions in a nearby city gallery. I will have to go to Buckingham palace at the end of this month to see them altogether. There's something about them that is exquisite and above what would be considered a normal drawing, even the very best drawings seem pale when looking at them. One can't describe this quality without seeing them.

I like the fact that he drew people in the act of gossiping and that he hated the pastime. I wonder what he would make of all the presumptions in the articles published about him over the last centuries. Theres certainly a lot of gossip and presumptive theories about the guy which are so easily taken as gospel. Apart from a few records, most stuff is I think, made up by people who have no idea what the mind of a truly creative type like is like.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:21 AM
chaithram chaithram is offline
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

I have seen the Codex exhibition in the USA two decades back. I remember being mesmerized by his drawings and writings as mirror images. Da Vinci was a multifaceted genius. I am fascinated by his scientific inventions and drawings more than art like Mona Lisa.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:07 PM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

The "Supreme" Genius? Well, I would argue that any number of other artists... even limited to the Renaissance... produced more works of art of real genius. But let's look at what Leonardo did achieve.



Let's start with the obvious. Is it the greatest painting of all time? No. The greatest portrait of all time? Again no. But it is a damn good portrait. One of the finest of the period. It ranks alongside portraits such as these:


-Raphael Sanzio d'Urbino: Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione







So let's look closer at the "Mona Lisa". The first thing I notice is the manner in which Leonardo integrated the portrait within a landscape. You will see this in later paintings by other artists... but how much do these owe to his example? Speaking of owing to Leonardo example... look at Raphael's portrait of Baldassare Castiglione. Raphael was greatly indebted to the examples of Leonardo and Michelangelo.



Raphael made any number of studies after the "Mona Lisa" and based a good number of portraits upon the triangular composition of the "Mona Lisa". Leonardo's influenced filtered through Raphael, Titian, and Bellini forward to Rembrandt, Rubens, and Velazquez.

Looking further into the "Mona Lisa" I find myself fascinated by the shift in ground-line from the left to the right. This is surely not a clumsy mistake... not by someone who had mastered linear perspective to this degree as a much younger artist:



Some 100 years after Leonardo, Rubens painted a landscape, (Landscape with Stone Carriers) that employed a similar shifting horizon suggesting night on one side of the canvas and day on the other. Was Leonardo playing with a similar proto-Cubist idea?

Ignoring this aspect of the landscape, I cannot help but recognize the importance of the landscape setting at a time at which landscape was largely ignored in art. There is something mysterious about this landscape that is almost Asian in sensibility...



Making a connection between Leonardo and Chinese/Asian painting may seem a longshot... but consider: Marco Polo's travels and trade with China had happened over 150 years before Leonardo. Leonardo was certainly such an individual who would have likely appreciated the ideas and art of other cultures. And then look at his landscape drawings:





There are certainly elements of these drawings suggestive of Asian drawings and paintings... as there are elements in the mysterious mountains of the Mona Lisa that suggest the same.

...More to follow...
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:02 PM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

While the number of intact original paintings largely acknowledged as being by Leonardo is quite small... a small oeuvre does not disqualify an artist from being recognized as a major artistic figure (one need think only of Praxiteles, Jan van Eyck, or Vermeer)... especially when accompanied by a wealth of drawings, unfinished or damaged works, as well as copies of originals. Even so... there are a more than a few truly lovely works by Leonardo that have survived largely intact:


-La Belle Ferroni


-The Lady with an Ermine


-Madonna Litta


-Portrait of Ginevre de Benci


-Bacchus (or St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness)


-The Virgin and St. Anne with Christ Child


-The Virgin of the Rocks (Louvre version)


-The Virgin of the Rocks (National Gallery, London version)

These 8 paintings, combined with the "Mona Lisa" are certainly not the oeuvre of a minor artist. The Portrait of Ginevra de Benci... the only painting by Leonardo in the Western Hemisphere... is certainly one of the lovliest of Renaissance portraits. The Lady with an Ermine is a beautiful and enigmatic portrait, while La Belle Ferroni almost points toward Titian. The Virgin and St. Anne with the Christ Child is a delicate and poetic painting. The Louvre version of The Virgin of the Rocks continues in this poetic vein while the London version of the painting with its more polished sculptural form (suggestive of an influence from Michelangelo) points away from the High Renaissance toward Mannerism.

... more...
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:26 PM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

The notion that the admiration for Leonardo is something recent is absolute bunk. We've already looked at the influence of Leonardo upon Raphael (directly) and indirectly upon Rembrandt, Rubens, and others. For an artist that The Economist would have us believe was not truly revered until our time, he had an impact upon a hell of a lot of artists... and there were a hell of a lot of copies made of his paintings:


-Madonna of the Carnation (possibly an original... or partially an original)


-Madonnas of the Yarnwinders


-Leda and the Swan (copies)


-The Virgin and St. Anne with Child (copy)


-The Battle of Anghiari (copy by Peter Paul Rubens)

Not only was Leonardo an inspiration for artists of the Renaissance, but he continued to influence artists of the Baroque, Romanticism, and beyond. He was also an influence upon writers and poets. Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Baudelaire immediately come to mind... both intrigued by the dark, mysterious landscapes... especially in the Virgin and St. Anne and Virgin of the Rocks.

I haven't even touched upon his "lost" masterworks or his drawings. Let's save that for tomorrow.
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Old 05-16-2019, 03:16 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

I do not think Leonardo's primary genius was in his sculpture or his painting. He was accomplished at both, but there were others at least as accomplished. For me his genius lies in his skill at observation. His notebooks are full of observations of everything and anything from the world around him, as well as designs for inventions based on those observations.
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Old 05-16-2019, 06:11 PM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

Missed a couple of points. Among Leonardo's original paintings there is this:


-The Annunciation

The Annunciation is presumed to be an early work by Leonardo... possibly while still a student of Andrea del Verrocchio... or shortly after. The marble table in front of the Virgin quotes the tomb of Piero and Giovanni de' Medici in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, which Verrocchio had sculpted during this same period. It seems a grotesque element out of place... possibly a nod by Leonardo to his teacher... or an element painted by Verrocchio himself. Some immature hesitancies are usually noted, especially the Virgin's ambiguous spatial relation to the desk and the marble on which it rests.

There is a smaller variation on this painting in the collection of the Louvre which is almost certainly by Leonardo as well:



Still another painting that I forgot in the posts above is that recently sold at auction for a record $450,312,500. Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World) dates from the right period of history and employs the correct materials to have been by Leonardo... but many "experts" feel the painting was likely from the studio of Leonardo or even more likely, by a student of or follower of Leonardo. I immediately thought of Bernardino Luini, who along with Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio studied directly with Leonardo.


-Bernardino Luini: Christ among the Church Doctors


-Bernardino Luini: St. Catherine


-Bernardino Luini: Lady with a Fur


-Bernardino Luini: Madonna of the Roses

Bernardino Luini made extensive use of many of the enigmatic gestures frequently employed by Leonardo. He also used mysterious wistful facial expressions that recall those of Leonardo... as well as that of the Salvator Mundi.


-Giovanni Boltraffio: Madonna and Child


-Giovanni Boltraffio: Portrait of a Youth Crowned with Flowers


-Giovanni Boltraffio: Portrait of a Youth as St. Sebastian

Giovanni Boltraffio's paintings... such as the Madonna and Child... are suggestive of the polished stone-like form of Leonardo's later Virgin of the Rocks (London)

More often, Boltraffio makes frequent use of the sexual ambiguity that exists in many of Leonardo's figures (especially the Bacchus/John the Baptist) as well as the delicate wisps of hair as employed by Leonardo in both versions of The Virgin of the Rocks as well as the Portrait of Ginevra de Benci.

Again... it seems more than obvious that in spite of his limited oeuvre, Leonardo had a major impact on the Art of the Renaissance.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:22 AM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild

-Bernardino Luini: Lady with a Fur


Imagine ladies today wearing furs with the heads still attached. PETA would sure have a thing or two to say.

With Leonardo it is a similar situation to the one with Nikola Tesla: there is such a huge myth industry that it tends to obscure the real genius behind all the mythology. I tend to switch off when I hear either man's name, as much as I admire them both.

Anyway, you are right in that Leonardo had a great deal of influence. He would have had far more if he could get himself to complete projects, and turn his notebooks into something publishable. Of course, perhaps it is for the best that he never made a prototype of any of his flying machines, or he would have gone down in history as major Darwin Award winner.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:26 AM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

beauty standards of the past are not so impressive

our time is superior in many ways
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:24 AM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

It must have been difficult with such a mind, to focus on just one subject.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:20 PM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

Anyway, you are right in that Leonardo had a great deal of influence. He would have had far more if he could get himself to complete projects, and turn his notebooks into something publishable.

It is ironic that Leonardo never seems to have delved into the most important technological innovation of his age: the printing press. The first old master engraved prints date c. 1430 and the great period of engraving dates c. 1470-1530 exemplified by artists such as Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Dürer, and Lucas van Leiden. Gutenberg's printing press dates from the 1450s and the great Aldine Press of Aldus Pius Manutius was established in Venice in 1494. By this time, there were hundreds of printing presses across Europe... especially in Germany, France, and Italy. Many of Leonardo's anatomical drawings date c. 1510 and his earliest dated drawing is from 1473. In theory, his graphic works could have been published. The reality, however, is that Leonardo's manuscripts numbered in the thousands of pages exploring a multitude of subject matter and written in Leonardo's backward "mirror script". It was left to one of Leonardo's followers, Francesco Melzi...


-Francesca Melzi: Columbina

... to attempt to organize, compile, and "translate" these texts. Unfortunately, this process was left unfinished at Melzi's death, and his son, Orazio, who inherited the original manuscripts had no idea of their value. They laid neglected in his attic for years, and upon Orazio's death, his heirs sold the collection of Leonardo's works, and thus began their dispersal.

In many ways, an autodidactic polymath like Davinci shares much in common with William Blake. Both artists were masters of the graphic arts and their works... a combination of text and imagery... would have benefitted greatly from printing technologies that did not yet exist. Indeed, it is not surprising that as a result of the printing technologies of the last century, both Davinci and Blake became far more recognized than during their own time.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:25 PM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

If I remember correctly, Leonardo himself in fact planned to publish his anatomical work. But then, he probably also planned to read that book on how to beat procrastination. :-)
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:36 AM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

Even if he wasn't the "supreme" genius, he was more of a genius than most.
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:20 PM
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Re: Was Leonardo da Vinci the supreme genius, or just our kind of guy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianvds
If I remember correctly, Leonardo himself in fact planned to publish his anatomical work. But then, he probably also planned to read that book on how to beat procrastination. :-)

“Art is never finished, only abandoned” – Leonardo Da Vinci

I just googled da Vinci, procrastinator or perfectionist (often 2 sides of the same coin, of course)? and found this:

https://comfortpit.com/leonardo-da-v...ocrastination/

Maybe he was neither, Maybe he was a 'creative polygamist' , or needed his ideas to 'incubate' for a while, or waited for his hands to catch up with his visions, or or...
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