Leonardo da Vinci
It turned out that I just can’t get rid of the thought that Leonardo da Vinci had been painting Mona Lisa’s lips for twelve years! I can’t get this thought out of my mind for several days, so I’ve decided to refresh the memory about this genius personality.
In the Middle Ages painting and sculpture were not considered as a high art, and artists were the ordinary handicraftsmen, just like the builders or house painters. In such conditions Leonardo grew. Andrea del Verrocchio made a great contribution to the development of Leonardo’s art taste. He was the first teacher of Leonardo da Vinci and exactly in his workshop Leonardo began his formation as an artist. But let’s omit the details of his biography and remember the interesting facts of his creative work.
It gives me a great pleasure to examine the fragments of Codex Leicester. Sometimes it is known as Codex Hammer. The names were taken after the owners of the so-called notebook of Leonardo da Vinci. It was created in Milan in 1506-1510. This document consists of 18 sheets of paper, covered with writings on both sides, forming a 72-page notebook. The singularity of creation of the manuscript provides that it can be read only by using a mirror.
The Codex includes astronomical theories, technical developments, mathematical calculations, thoughts and conclusions, diagrams and drawings. After death of the last owner the Codex was exposed for sale by auction. It was bought by Bill Gates for $30,802,500 at Christie’s auction house on 11 November 1994 in New York. Today “Treatise on the water, earth and celestial bodies” is exhibited in museums all around the world and it is also considered as the most expensive book in the history of mankind.
I want to put your mind to one more Leonardo’s masterpiece. There is still a quantity of disputes about the creation of fresco The Last Supper. It was created in 1495—1498 on one of the refectory’s walls of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. The fresco depicts a scene of the last supper of Jesus with his disciples. It was Leonardo’s patron Ludovico Sforza who ordered this fresco in memory of the deceased wife. It is to be noted that Leonardo da Vinci was an atheist, but was in earnest about this work. He tried to portray the response of each of the disciples on the Master’s prophetic phrase. Leonardo walked around the city talking to ordinary people and looking for the prototypes of the main characters. It was very important for him to show Jesus and Judas as the embodiment of Good and Evil. There is an interesting version of these events.
Once Leonardo da Vinci saw a young singer in the church choir, who seemed to him so spiritualized and pure, and took him as a model for Jesus. For a long time Leonardo was looking for a model of Judas among the disadvantaged and impoverished people with faces marked by scars of avarice, hypocrisy and crime, and walked in the haunts of vice for hours. Almost three years later he found a squalid drunken man in a ditch and considered him appropriate for the required character. When the work was completed this man confessed that he had already seen this picture about three years ago. He sang in the church choir and lived a correct life at that time when an unknown artist offered to paint his face in the fresco as a face of Jesus. Thus the artist has used the same man in the different periods of life for the both main characters – Jesus and Judas. In this manner this fact shows that Good and Evil are closely related. Unfortunately this beautiful version can be called a legend because there is no evidence. At least, the author Robert Wallace who wrote “The World Of Leonardo 1452-1519” denied the existence of such a person.
The fresco has experienced the destructions of the Second World War, the flood in the church in 1500, mockeries of various people who lived in the church at different times and still remains a masterpiece of world level and millions of tourists eager to Milan for the opportunity to look at it.
Life of Leonardo da Vinci, like life of any genius, is full of rumors and speculation. Decide for yourself what to believe..