Writing something about Leonardo da Vinci is always an arduous job for anyone, even the most discerning scholars, who finds himself before a great man in history of which not only many facets are now known but also because the same genius wrote in a bulimic way so as to put in awe.
L. wrote various compositions, works, fables, but the “Treatise on Painting” remains his summa work.
Our genius wrote in the vernacular, and as he himself declared he did not know Latin: “I know well that for not to be I littered, that no presumptuous person will seem reasonably able to blame me by attaching I am homeless without letters …” .
This awareness makes us well understand two important things, the first is that at any time be legitimized culturally, with an academic title for example, at the social level is fundamental, the second that those who apply, who are still intellectual and urges their thinking for knowledge, will have to give the world in a positive way in any case.
L. was left-handed, he wrote on the contrary, and yet he left many writings that have always fascinated scholars of all subsequent eras so much so that even literary criticism has traced various interpretations with many praises. His cultural gap placed him in front of a total freedom of investigation from which numerous expressions of the Tuscan vernacular arose in his writing, to be amazed and fascinated by it.
This great mind, exemplary for humanity, was completely taken from drawing, from painting, then from a direct and visual doing that placed him in front of the deepest reasons in the observation of nature.
L. considered the experiment the only way to recognize the truth from the false and painting, through vision, one of the five senses, was the true imitator of nature.
The great master also contrasted with the other great master of his time, Michelangelo, precisely because of his different conception of the arts, in fact he considered sculpture inferior to painting, seen as a mechanical work. According to L., sculpture lacked an artistic analytical process in itself because nature itself gave it light, shadows and perspective. The painter instead, with his own scientific means, was able to obtain these effects.
L. identified painting with knowledge and therefore a new conception was born between experience and reason, vision was the privileged instrument of man to bring the world back to himself.
In this intellectual tension the artist encounters his new speculative dimension with respect to the representation of reality, which also leads to a different social consideration.
Art is not subdued by technology, it is not mechanical, but liberal, noble, with L. began a process of emancipation that will continue in later centuries leading artists to have a higher social recognition.
L. was eager for knowledge, he was a man who also left many of his works unfinished because his curiosity was lacking and once he had faced the problem and found the truth, he went in search of something else.
The eclectic personality of our great artist is inherent in his passion for nature observation,
he was a scientist in the true sense of the word as we understand it today, but in his time scientific research was at the beginning after centuries of torpor, of obscurantism.
L. was a naturalist, respectful of the environment, he was a vegetarian, he was a genius of the sacredness of the universe in his most secular vision, he was very sceptical about everything that was metaphysical.
Vasari wrote of him as follows: “there were so many whims in his life that, philosophizing about natural things, he waited to understand the property of herbs, continuing and observing the motion of the sky, the course of the moon and the trends of the sun. For this reason, he made the soul such a heretical concept, which is that he did not approach any religion, valuing by adventure much more the being a philosopher than a Christian”.
Leonardo’s spirit was indomitable, but he aimed to find a place for the powerful of the time, assuring them that he was in possession of scientific, war and construction findings that could benefit them. This led him to various Italian courts, and to have patrons such as Lorenzo the Magnificent, Ludovico Sforza and Cesare Borgia.
Our genius also had peculiar characteristics, known for his beautiful appearance, leaves some doubt about his homosexuality, of which the historian Kennth Clark is convinced, and also brought a good dose of humor in fact there are many anecdotes of jokes towards his closest collaborators.
Leonardo da Vinci is an immense journey into a historical and artistic spectrum that has various frequencies to focus on, he is the Italian genius par excellence, perhaps the most famous and recognized in the world.
Today, therefore, we can say thanks for being born more than 500 years ago and for having left us so much, certainly we must better address his work, trace the most important aspects, know his intentions and the message he left us.