It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Leonardo Da Vinci

I had to write a paper for my last class and the instructor was pretty picky about what he wanted. In flipping through the text book for the class I saw a picture of Leonardo Da Vinci's painting The Last Supper.  So I wrote a paper on the making of the painting.  I enjoyed the research, so much so that I've added Leonardo to my reading list of things I want to read about someday.

I knew that he was a very talented artist but had no idea what a genius he was.  He not only painted but he designed "war machines" and dissected dead bodies among other things.  What I thought was interesting was that very often he never finished a project.  He had different reasons for not finishing, usually because the project wasn't turning out like he wanted but often he just seemed to get distracted with another project.  Another interesting fact was that he carried notebooks around with him all the time.  He would either sketch ideas or write down thoughts.  In one case his grocery list was scribbled in the book!

I don't profess to be anywhere near his intellect but I did relate to not finishing projects.  I love to start something but have a hard time finishing unless I'm under a deadline and have to get something done.  I also have quite a few notebooks laying around and even have a small one in my purse.  And I find myself interested in many things.  So I decided that I could relate to the genius who painted The Last Supper.

Speaking of the painting, I should note that within a few years after he finished it that it had been reduced to just blobs of paint.  The surface had been prepared correctly but instead of painting on wet plaster Da Vinci choose to paint on dry plaster using a mix of oils and tempera.  The result was that the paint began to flake off in a very short time. Ever the experimenter, his idea did not work.  What we see today represents careful restoration and only about 20% of the painting is actually original work. 

And, the final note I should add is that he was probably a homosexual. All in all I enjoyed writing the paper and found his life very interesting. 

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