man of the stars and moon: different strokes

What makes Leonardo da Vinci so special?

He had all the characteristics that could not match a prospective employment or job description. Vasari called him “variable and unstable”; a man who took interest in learning many things, and then after a promising beginning suddenly abandoned the activity such as arithmetic and playing the lyre. He would frustrate patrons by being lost in contemplation for hours at a time particularly those who regarded painting as a trade like brick laying or hoeing a garden. To those who questioned his methods he would reason around the subject of art. That is, he asserted that men of lofty genius often accomplished the most when they worked the least and it was not laziness they were perceiving, but a process of seeking out inventions in complicity with the mind, the forming of exceptional ideas which the hands could later express and reproduce what the brain had conceived. Probably partly true and part great B.S.

---Leonardo's 'The Madonna Litta' © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg--- Read More:

Vasari:And he was continually making models and designs to show men how to remove mountains with ease, and how to bore them in order to pass from one level to another; and by means of levers, windlasses, and screws, he showed the way to raise and draw great weights, together with methods for emptying harbours, and pumps for removing water from low places, things which his brain never ceased from devising.

It is clear that Leonardo, through his comprehension of art, began many things and never finished one of them, since it seemed to him that the hand was not able to attain to the perfection of art in carrying out the things which he imagined; for the reason that he conceived in idea difficulties so subtle and so marvellous, that they could never be expressed by the hands, be they ever so excellent. And so many were his caprices, that, philosophizing of natural things, he set himself to seek out the properties of herbs, going on even to observe the motions of the heavens, the path of the moon, and the courses of the sun. Read More:

---Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (circa 1467-1516) still recently attributed to Ambrogio de Predis (circa 1455-1510) Portrait of a Young Man, 1490/91 Oil on panel - 38.9 x 37.4 cm Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera Photo : Pinacoteca di Brera--- Read More:

It was “strongly inspired by Leonardo’s Musician”, the National Gallery’s catalogue tells us.

Telegraph: So let’s take a look at the original: an unfinished work by Leonardo, dated about 1486. It was the staggering contrast between the two paintings above, at a preview of the exhibition yesterday, that helped me get to grips with Leonardo da Vinci’s genius.

Not to be rude, but compared to the original Musician, Boltraffio’s subject looked like a fish-eyed cadaver in an orange wig. The experts are always going on about Leonardo’s “psychological depth” – and suddenly it had me rooted to the gallery floor….

---Although doubts have been expressed regarding the attribution of this work to Leonardo due to the rigid pose, it is now generally accepted that Leonardo executed the face and neck in light of the skilful modelling and the expressive quality of eyes. Antonio Boltraffio, who was a pupil and assistant of Leonardo’s in Milan, is credited with the entire upper body. Some areas of the painting have been left unfinished, including the red cap and parts of the clothing, while other parts have been retouched at some later point in time. The work has been executed on a walnut panel, a wood not commonly used by Lombard artists but used by Leonardo for other works such as the Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, and recommended by him to painters in his treatise on painting. --- Read More:

…Boltraffio’s Madonna of the Rose is another example. Beautiful in its way, and no doubt ground-breaking at the time, but none of the st

t’s tricks come close to those of Leonardo in his later work, the Madonna Litta.Read More:


Vasari:He even went so far as to waste his time in drawing knots of cords, made according to an order, that from one end all the rest might follow till the other, so as to fill a round; and one of these is to be seen in stamp, most difficult and beautiful, and in the middle of it are these words, “Leonardus Vinci Accademia.” And among these models and designs, there was one by which he often demonstrated to many ingenious citizens, who were then governing Florence, how he proposed to raise the Temple of S. Giovanni in Florence, and place steps under it, without damaging the building; and with such strong reasons did he urge this, that it appeared possible, although each man, after he had departed, would recognize for himself the impossibility of so vast an undertaking.

He was so pleasing in conversation, that he attracted to himself the hearts of men. And although he possessed, one might say, nothing, and worked little, he always kept servants and horses, in which latter he took much delight, and particularly in all other animals, which he managed with the greatest love and patience; and this he showed when often passing by the places where birds were sold, for, taking them with his own hand out of their cages, and having paid to those who sold them the price that was asked, he let them fly away into the air, restoring to them their lost liberty. For which reason nature was pleased so to favor him, that, wherever he turned his thought, brain, and mind, he displayed such divine power in his works, that, in giving them their perfection, no one was ever his peer in readiness, vivacity, excellence, beauty, and grace. Read More:

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