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Title: The Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci
Author: Leonardo, da Vinci
Language: English
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Literature (with thanks to ebooks@Adelaide)



DRAWINGS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI

With an introduction by Charles Lewis Hind

LONDON. GEORGE NEWNES LIMITED

SOUTHAMPTON STREET. STRAND WC

NEW YORK. CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

1907



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                         PLATE
  PROFILE OF A WARRIOR FRONTISPIECE
  PORTRAIT OF ISABELLA D'ESTE                                I
  STUDY OF AN OLD MAN                                        II
  STUDY OF DRAPERIES FOR KNEELING FIGURES                    III
  STUDY OF A BACCHUS                                         IV
  HEAD OF A MAN                                              V
  BATTLE BETWEEN HORSEMEN AND MONSTERS                       VI
  WOMAN SEATED ON GROUND AND CHILD KNEELING                  VII
  STUDIES OF HEADS                                           VIII
  YOUTH ON HORSEBACK                                         IX
  STUDIES FOR THE EQUESTRIAN STATUE OF FRANCESCO SFORZA      X
  THE VIRGIN, ST. ANNE AND INFANT                            XI
  STUDIES OF CHILDREN                                        XII
  THE COMBAT                                                 XIII
  STUDY FOR A MADONNA                                        XIV
  STUDIES FOR "THE HOLY FAMILY"                              XV
  STUDIES FOR "THE LAST SUPPER"                              XVI
  COURTYARD OF A CANNON-FOUNDRY                              XVII
  STUDY OF THE HEAD OF AN APOSTLE                            XVIII
  STUDY FOR BACKGROUND OF "THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI"        XIX
  STUDY OF LANDSCAPE                                         XX
  STUDY OF A TREE                                            XXI
  TWO HEADS CARICATURES                                      XXII
  ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST                                       XXIII
  THE HEAD OF CHRIST                                         XXIV
  CARICATURES                                                XXV
  HEAD OF AN ANGEL                                           XXVI
  STUDY OF A MAN'S HEAD                                      XXVII
  STUDIES OF HANDS                                           XXVIII
  DRAGON FIGHTING WITH A LION                                XXIX
  MAN KNEELING                                               XXX
  PORTRAIT STUDY                                             XXXI
  STUDIES OF ANIMALS                                         XXXII
  PORTRAIT OF LEONARDO, BY HIMSELF                           XXXIII
  SIX HEADS OF MEN AND A BUST OF A WOMAN                     XXXIV
  STUDY OF A HEAD                                            XXXV
  THE ST. ANNE CARTOON                                       XXXVI
  STUDIES OF HORSES                                          XXXVII
  HEADS OF A WOMAN AND A CHILD                               XXXVIII
  STUDY OF DRAPERY FOR A KNEELING FIGURE                     XXXIX
  KNIGHT IN ARMOUR                                           XL
  STUDY OF A YOUTHFUL HEAD                                   XLI
  STUDY FOR "LEDA"                                           XLII
  HEAD OF AN OLD MAN                                         XLIII
  STUDY OF A HEAD                                            XLIV
  STUDY OF THE HEAD OF ST. PHILIP FOR "THE LAST SUPPER"      XLV
  STUDY OF DRAPERY                                           XLVI
  GIRL'S HEAD                                                XLVII
  STUDIES OF A SATYR WITH A LION                             XLVIII



THE DRAWINGS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI BY C. LEWIS HIND


Leonardo da Vinci found in drawing the readiest and most stimulating
way of self-expression. The use of pen and crayon came to him as
naturally as the monologue to an eager and egoistic talker. The outline
designs in his "Treatise on Painting" aid and amplify the text with
a force that is almost unknown in modern illustrated books. Open the
pages at random. Here is a sketch showing "the greatest twist which a
man can make in turning to look at himself behind." The accompanying
text is hardly needed. The drawing supplies all that Leonardo wished to
convey.

Unlike Velasquez, whose authentic drawings are almost negligible, pen,
pencil, silver-point, or chalk were rarely absent from Leonardo’s
hand, and although, in face of the _Monna Lisa_ and _The Virgin of
the Rocks_ and the _St. Anne_, it is an exaggeration to say that he
would have been quite as highly esteemed had none of his work except
the drawings been preserved, it is in the drawings that we realise the
extent of "that continent called Leonardo." The inward-smiling women of
the pictures, that have given Leonardo as painter a place apart in the
painting hierarchy, appear again and again in the drawings. And in the
domain of sculpture, where Leonardo also triumphed, although nothing
modelled by his hand now remains, we read in Vasari of certain "heads
of women smiling."

"His spirit was never at rest," says Antonio Billi, his earliest
biographer, "his mind was ever devising new things." The restlessness
of that profound and soaring mind is nowhere so evident as in the
drawings and in the sketches that illustrate the manuscripts. Nature,
in lavishing so many gifts upon him, perhaps withheld concentration,
although it might be argued that, like the bee, he did not leave a
flower until all the honey or nourishment he needed was withdrawn. He
begins a drawing on a sheet of paper, his imagination darts and leaps,
and the paper is soon covered with various designs. Upon the margins of
his manuscripts he jotted down pictorial ideas. Between the clauses of
the "Codex Atlanticus" we find an early sketch for his lost picture of
_Leda._

The world at large to-day reverences him as a painter, but to Leonardo
painting was but a section of the full circle of life. Everything that
offered food to the vision or to the brain of man appealed to him. In
the letter that he wrote to the Duke of Milan in 1482, offering his
services, he sets forth, in detail, his qualifications in engineering
and military science, in constructing buildings, in conducting water
from one place to another, beginning with the clause, "I can construct
bridges which are very light and strong and very portable." Not until
the end of this long letter does he mention the fine arts, contenting
himself with the brief statement, "I can further execute sculpture in
marble, bronze, or clay, also in painting I can do as much as any one
else, whoever he be." Astronomy, optics, physiology, geology, botany,
he brought his mind to bear upon all. Indeed, he who undertakes to
write upon Leonardo is dazed by the range of his activities. He was
military engineer to Caesar Borgia; he occupied himself with the
construction of hydraulic works in Lombardy; he proposed to raise
the Baptistery of San Giovanni at Florence; he schemed to connect
the Loire by an immense canal with the Saone; he experimented with
flying-machines; and his early biographers testify to his skill as
a musician. Painting and modelling he regarded but as a moiety of
his genius. He spared no labour over a creation that absorbed him.
Matteo Bandello, a member of the convent of Santa Maria della Grazie,
gives the following account of his method when engaged upon _The
Last Supper._ "He was wont, as I myself have often seen, to mount
the scaffolding early in the morning and work until the approach of
night, and in the interest of painting he forgot both meat and drink.
There came two, three, or even four days when he did not stir a hand,
but spent an hour or two in contemplating his work, examining and
criticising the figures. I have seen him, too, at noon, when the sun
stood in the sign of Leo, leave the Corte Vecchia (in the centre of the
town), where he was engaged on his equestrian statue, and go straight
to Santa Maria della Grazie, mount the scaffolding, seize a brush, add
two or three touches to a single figure, and return forthwith."

Leonardo impressed his contemporaries and touched their imaginations,
even as he captivates us to-day. Benvenuto Cellini describes King
Francis as hanging upon Leonardo's words during the last years of his
life, and saying that "he did not believe that any other man had come
into the world who had attained so great a knowledge as Leonardo."
Everybody knows Pater's luminously imaginative essay on Leonardo,
and scientific criticism has said perhaps the last word upon his
achievement in Mr. McCurdy's recent volume, and in Mr. Herbert P.
Horne's edition of Vasari's "Life." As to the drawings, Mr. Bernhard
Berenson, in his costly work on "The Drawings of the Florentine
Masters," has included a _catalogue raisonné_, has scattered lovely
reproductions through the pages, and placed his favourites on the
pinnacle of his appreciation. In the manuscripts, with their wealth of
sketches in the text, one realises the tremendous sweep of Leonardo's
mental activity. Some are still unpublished, but the Italian Government
promise a complete edition of the MSS. at an early date. His "Treatise
on Painting" is easily accessible in Dr. Richter's "Literary Works of
Leonardo da Vinci"--that wonderful treatise which begins: "The young
student should, in the first place, acquire a knowledge of perspective,
to enable him to give every object its proper dimensions: after
which, it is requisite that he be under the care of an able master,
to accustom him, by degrees, to a good style of drawing the parts.
Next, he should study Nature, in order to confirm and fix in his mind
the reason of those precepts which he has learnt. He must also bestow
some time in viewing the works of various old masters, to form his
eye and judgment, in order that he may be able to put in practice all
that he has been taught." Chapter CCXXX. in the section on "Colours"
is entitled "How to paint a Picture that will Last Almost for Ever."
In view of the present condition of _The Last Supper_ at Milan, fading
from sight, Leonardo was wise to insert the word "almost." He is
constantly giving the reader surprises, and not the least of them is
the series of "Fables" from his pen, included in Dr. Richter's edition
of his literary works.

One authentic portrait of Leonardo by his own hand exists--the red
chalk drawing in the library at Turin. Dating from the last years of
his life, it shows the face of a seer, moulded by incessant thought
into firm, strongly marked lines. The eyes lurk deep beneath shaggy
brows, the hair and beard are long and straggling--it is the face of
a man who has peered into hidden things and who has pondered deeply
over what he discerned. The beard is no longer "curled and well kept,"
in the words of a contemporary document, wherein he is described as
"of a fine person, well proportioned, full of grace and of a beautiful
aspect, wearing a rose-coloured tunic, short to the knee, although long
garments were then in use."

Mr. Berenson has suggested that the youth in armour, who alone among
all the figures in Leonardo's _Adoration of the Magi_ in the Louvre
turns away from the scene and looks towards the spectator, is a
portrait of Leonardo himself. Botticelli reproduced his own features in
a figure similarly placed in his _Adoration of the Magi._

The largest collection of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings is in the Royal
Library at Windsor Castle. They are not accessible to the public in
general, but under certain conditions they may be examined. Other
collections are in the Louvre, the British Museum, the Uffizi, the
Royal Library at Turin, the Venice Academy, and in the portfolios
of private collectors such as M. Bonnat of Paris, and Dr. Mond of
London. The drawings in the Print Room of the British Museum, which
are easily available to students, include the remarkable _Head of a
Warrior_ in profile, from the Malcolm Collection, which is reproduced
in this volume. This beautiful and minutely finished head and bust
in silver-point belongs to Leonardo's early period, when he was
still under the influence of his master, Verrocchio. Indeed, there
is a resemblance between this arrogant warrior and the head of
Verrocchio's statue of Colleoni at Venice; it has been suggested by
Dr. Gronau that this profile represents an effort of the pupil to
show Verrocchio the manner in which he would have handled the task.
Be that as it may, this drawing is a striking example of how, in the
hands of a master, the most profuse and detailed decoration can be
made subservient to the main theme. The eye follows with delight the
exquisite imaginative drawing in armour and helm. Nothing is insistent;
nothing is superfluous. Every quaint and curious detail leads up to
the firm contour of the face. Leonardo saw the theme as a whole, and
the decorator's ingenuity has throughout remained subservient to the
artist's vision. It is War quiescent, as Rodin's famous group is War
militant. The British Museum also contains a sheet of those grotesque
heads, specimens of which are reproduced in this volume, horrible
faces of men and women grimacing and screeching at one another, with
protruding lips and beak-like chins, looming from the discoloured
paper. In a drawing at Milan there are two sketches of a combat, a
man on horseback fighting a grotesque animal, that are startling in
their power of arrested movement. There are also drawings of fearful
wild-fowl, dragons, and the like, snarling at one another and making
frightful onslaught. Critics have tried to explain the reason why
Leonardo gazed into these gulfs, but the explanation is probably
nothing more than the fertility and fecundity of his imagination. The
grotesque and the terrible often have an attraction for gifted minds,
forming a relief from the endless quest after beauty and the physical
strain of living continually on the heights. Rossetti composed verses
that are not included in his collected works. A distinguished living
writer has confessed that the byways of his leisure are brightened
by the study of criminology. The late Arthur Strong, commenting on
the grotesques by Leonardo da Vinci at Chatsworth, contributes this
curious and interesting theory: "His method was akin to the geometry
of projection. Just as the shadow of a circle is an ellipse, so by
projecting the lines of a human face of a certain marked type he was
enabled to detect and exhibit, as in a shadow, the secret but most real
kinship between the bête humaine and the dog, the ape, or the swine, as
the case might be. In a sheet of drawings at Windsor we see the same
process applied to the head of a lion until it quickens into a lower
canine form."

The late librarian of Chatsworth also comments upon the copies and
forgeries of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci that abound at Chatsworth,
as in other collections. The process of sifting the pictures ascribed
to Leonardo may be said to be complete. John William Brown, in the
Appendix to his life of Leonardo, published in 1828, catalogues nearly
fifty pictures from the hand of the master. Mr. McCurdy, in his study
of the records of Leonardo's life, has reduced that generous estimate
to ten. There is still considerable disagreement about some of the
drawings, but there are enough indubitably authentic, a bewildering
variety indeed, for all practical purposes of study, and to proclaim
the abounding genius of this flame-like Florentine, whose mind was a
universe and who "painted little but drew much" with "that wonderful
left hand." The fact that Leonardo was left-handed, with the result
that the shading of his drawings usually runs from left to right, and
not from right to left, should be evidence, as Morelli and others have
pointed out, of the authenticity of those drawings whose lines of
direction run from left to right. But this test is far from perfect,
as it is the first business of a forger to study mannerisms. Many of
the drawings bear comments in his handwriting, which also usually ran
from right to left, the famous letter to the Duke of Milan being an
exception. A pen-drawing in the Uffizi has, in the lower part, a note
from which the beginning has been torn away. The words that remain are:
". . . bre 1478 ichomiciai le 2 Vgine Marie," which may be interpreted,
"October 1478, I began the two of the Virgin Mary."

Most of the drawings are made with the pen, others are in chalk and
silver-point. In the well-known _Isabella d'Este_ of the Louvre there
are traces of pastel, and some of the sketches of drapery are drawn on
fine linen with a brush.

One of Leonardo's earliest drawings, if not his first attempt, is the
landscape dated 1473 in the Uffizi, done when he was twenty-one years
of age. It is signed, and these words are inscribed in the left-hand
top corner: "The day of S. Mary of the Snow, the fifth day of August,
1473."

Another drawing that can be assigned to a period is the sketch in pen
and ink of a youth hanging from a rope with his hands fastened behind
his back. This unfortunate was Bernardo Bandini, who was hanged for the
murder of Giuliano de Medici in 1479. It is supposed that Leonardo was
commissioned to paint a picture of the execution, and that he made the
drawing of Bandini as a preparatory study. Leonardo was nothing if not
conscientious. On the margin of the sketch, which is in the possession
of M. Bonnat, is this note describing Bandini's costume: "Small
tan-coloured cap, black satin doublet, lined black jerkin, blue coat
lined with fur of foxes' breasts, and the collar of the cloak covered
with velvet speckled black and red; Bernardo di Bandino Baroncelli;
black hose."

As we turn over and examine the diversified drawings by Leonardo da
Vinci, we are continually reminded of the passion that draughtsmanship
was to him. Pen and pencil bear witness that his mind was never at
rest. He drew for the love of it; his hand raced to obey the thronging
pictures that his brain conceived, and he drew, not necessarily as a
preparatory stage for the making of a picture, but because draw he
must. Despite the hundreds of drawings that remain as examples of his
industry, there are no studies extant for the _Monna Lisa_, although
it has been suggested that the hands from the Windsor Collection
reproduced in this volume were preparatory sketches for the marvellous
hands of that third wife of a Florentine official upon whose head all
"the ends of the world are come." Critics differ on this point, but
there is no difference of opinion as to the beauty of Monna Lisa's
hands. "The right hand," says Mr. McCurdy, "is perhaps the most perfect
hand that was ever painted."

Probably many of the sheets of drawings of children, women, cats, and
lambs were for Madonna pictures that have been lost or destroyed. He
was never content with the stereotyped and conventional arrangement
for a sacred picture, such as satisfied Francia. He was ever curious,
as well as a seeker after beauty, and life being his province, he
loved to intrigue the human element into a Madonna and Child motive.
The Child playing with the cat, hugging a lamb, learning his lessons
at his mother's knee, numbers of them testify to Leonardo's direct
and large-hearted humanity. With him the Child is always a child,
acting like a child. In a drawing in the British Museum he clutches
a protesting cat in his chubby arms, while the mother smiles--the
eternal, personal smile of Leonardo that haunted him, as it fascinates
us. In another drawing the Child is dipping a chubby hand into a bowl
of porridge, and again the Mother smiles--the enigmatic, persisting
smile of Leonardo. There are no fewer than twenty-seven drawings of
animals on one sheet at Windsor. The majority are cats, but in some
instance his imagination has invented a hybrid animal to which no name
can be given. In a drawing at Milan the Child is apparently receiving a
lesson in geometry--one of Leonardo's special studies. "He is entirely
wrapped up in geometry, and has no patience for painting," writes a
correspondent to Isabella d'Este in reply to a letter from her asking
what Leonardo was doing. "Since he has been in Florence," continues the
correspondent, "he has worked only on one cartoon. This represents an
infant Christ of about one year, who, freeing himself from his mother's
arms, seizes a lamb, and seems to clasp it."

There is no record that these pictures of the Child with cat or lamb,
or dropping his hand into a bowl of porridge, were ever finished; but
the drawings were seen by the young Raphael, who drew inspiration
from them. It is curious to turn from these imaginative designs to
the literal study of a tree, searched out as carefully as Leighton's
drawing of a lemon-tree, but so much bolder and so much more confident
in treatment; or to that drawing that might have been produced in an
engineer's office, showing a number of nude figures lifting a heavy
cylinder by lever-power, probably a design dating from the period when
he held the post of military engineer to Caesar Borgia. During his
residence at Pavia, when, among other activities, he constructed the
scenery for a kind of masque produced in honour of the marriage of Gian
Galeazzo with Isabella of Aragon, and on another occasion arranged
a tournament, he also designed an apparatus of pulleys and cords to
convey the relic of the Sacred Nail to a different position in the
Cathedral. The sketch is inscribed, "In the Cathedral for the pulley of
the Nail of the Cross."

Moderns who try to paint without first undergoing the drudgery of
drawing for some years in the schools should ponder over Leonardo's
studies of the nude, reading at the same time the chapters on
"Proportion" in his "Treatise on Painting." What whole-hearted
pre-occupation in his work the following extract shows! It is entitled
"Of studying in the Dark, on first waking in the Morning, and before
going to Sleep." "I have experienced no small benefit, when in the
dark and in bed, by retracing in my mind the outlines of those forms
which I had previously studied, particularly such as had appeared the
most difficult to comprehend and retain; by this method they will be
confirmed and treasured upon the memory."

Flowers, trees, and wings he studied with the same fidelity and
felicity that he gave to hands and drapery. He was for ever preparing
and experimenting, for ever storing and developing his mind, for
ever increasing the cunning of his hands, as if life were endless.
His sixty-seven years of activity were all too short for this giant,
who excelled in every worthy pursuit of mortals except commerce and
politics. A Florentine poet of the Quattrocento, who knew Leonardo in
his early manhood, described him as the man who "perhaps excels all
others, yet cannot tear himself away from a picture, and in many years
scarce brings one to completion." His mind was continually putting
forth fresh shoots. We can imagine him, before beginning to paint the
wings of the angel in his picture of _The Annunciation_ in the Louvre,
studying the ways of birds at rest and in flight, and considering the
problem of the possibility of man ever achieving the conquest of the
air. Such ideas never came to fruition, but there is a passage in
his writings, written in a moment of exaltation, when he had vision
of man floating on pinions in the ether, and himself as inventor and
originator of the triumph. In that moment of vision of a perfected
Santos-Dumont, Leonardo wrote: "He will fill the universe with wonder
and all writings with his fame, and will give deathless renown to the
nest which witnessed his birth."

Through all his dreams, through all his scientific, human, and
grotesque imaginings, he never ceased from the quest of beauty, that
obsession of the true artist, which he expressed so often in the faces
of his women, their hair and hands, in the looks of children, in the
fall and fold of draperies, and in the figures of armed knights setting
forth to tourney or to battle. One only has to recall the face of
St. Anne in the Louvre picture, the curling, plaited hair about the
head of Leda in the Windsor drawing, the strange sexless charm of the
smile of St. John the Baptist in the Louvre picture, _Monna Lisa_, the
"sceptical" angel in _The Virgin of the Rocks_, and the head of St.
Philip in the Windsor drawing, to be impressed again by the enigmatic
beauty, always new, never palling, that Leonardo gave to the world.
In the cartoon of the _Virgin and Child with St. Anne_ which hangs in
the Diploma Gallery at Burlington House, one of the nation's greatest
treasures, which so few Londoners ever visit, this country possesses
a characteristic and unapproachable Leonardo. It differs materially
from the picture in the Louvre, the heads of the Virgin and St. Anne
being nearly on a level; St. Anne is gazing at the Virgin, not at the
Child, her hand is upraised, the finger points upwards, and the Baptist
is included in the composition. But in each the face of St. Anne has
the Leonardo inward, extenuating smile, suggesting that attribute of
aloofness of which the mediaeval schoolmen write. The upward-pointing
hand of St. Anne is almost identical with the motion of St. Thomas's
hand in _The Last Supper_ at Milan, and with the hand of St. John in
the Louvre. Comparing the Diploma Gallery cartoon with the finished
picture in the Louvre, and with the sketch at the Venice Academy, we
realise the years of labour that Leonardo gave to a picture before he
would call it finished. One of the drawings of drapery reproduced in
this volume is an exquisite study for the garment that enfolds the
Virgin's limbs in the Louvre picture.

The series of heads of women reproduced in these pages show again his
love of hair, either flowing or in plaits, or confined in strange and
delicate head-dresses about the sweet, severe brows. And always the
eyes of his women are cast down, an attitude that he rarely gives to
his men, whose heads often have a touch of caricature, a hint, but
never pushed to the extreme that he allowed himself in the grotesque.

In the bust of a woman in profile at Milan we have a sketch that in
the unflattering presentment of a likeness is akin to his remarkable
drawing of Isabella d'Este, now in the Louvre. The firm contour of the
face, the thin nose and round, protruding chin, the long neck and ample
bosom, betoken that on this occasion his eye, not his imagination,
held the mastery. But the drawing of Isabella d'Este is larger in
conception, and this grave and simple presentment of a distinguished
lady of the Italian Renaissance is so informed with an assured power
that it is justly hailed as one of Leonardo's finest efforts. It
was made at Mantua, and was designed to serve as the study for the
portrait of the Marchioness which Leonardo never completed, if indeed
he ever began it. Five years later Isabella d'Este wrote to Leonardo
reproaching him for his delay: "When you were in the country and drew
our portrait in chalk you promised you would one day paint our picture
in colours." But Leonardo was not, like Mantegna, ductile in the hands
of the Marchioness. He did not succumb to her blandishments. There is
no record that he ever gratified the lady by painting a certain small
work that she made petition for--"a little picture of the Madonna full
of faith and sweetness, just as his nature would enable him to conceive
her." Leonardo had pursuits more engrossing than the making of a
picture to please the vanity even of so great a lady as the Marchioness
of Mantua.

The flame of Leonardo's imagination did not burn with the desire to
provide little pictures of the Madonna full of faith and sweetness.
He must do things in his own way, and that way would inspire him to
produce such a drawing as the head of a young Bacchus with long,
curling hair, clothed in a costume, just peeping from the sketch, of
a similar material to the dress of Isabella d'Este; or a kneeling
Leda, such a drawing as we find at Chatsworth, showing how the artist
gradually evolved the design for the final picture of _Leda_, which was
seen in the collection of King Francis at Fontainebleau, but is now
lost. Here, too, the eyes of the woman are downcast. She turns to the
children who are breaking from the eggs, while one of her arms clasps
the swan. The broken shells, and the children just scrambling into
existence, are as characteristic of Leonardo's passion for the episodes
of life as the Child playing with the cat, or dipping his fist into
the bowl of porridge. _Leda_ is the only mythological picture that he
painted. The preparatory drawings like the drawings for others of his
lost or destroyed works, such as the _Sforza Statue_, and the _Battle
of the Standard_ are numerous. There is no mistaking the drawings for
the Sforza statue, although it is not easy to decide which of the many
designs of equestrian figures were for the Statue of Francesco Sforza,
and which for the Trivulzio Monument. One of the Windsor drawings shows
no fewer than four sketches on one sheet for the group of horse and
rider, which, we are told, was twenty-six feet high. It would seem
that Leonardo's first intention was to make Francesco Sforza's charger
trampling on a fallen enemy, but that he abandoned this tremendous
conception for a quieter design. It is clear from contemporary records
that Leonardo spent sixteen years over the statue: to-day no trace
of it, except in the drawings, remains. There is some doubt as to
whether it was ever successfully cast in bronze, which explains Michael
Angelo's taunt that after Leonardo had finished the model he was unable
to cast it. Probably it was Leonardo's model that was destroyed, or at
any rate severely damaged, when the French entered Milan in 1500. Fra
Sabba da Castiglione wrote at the time: "I have to record--and I cannot
speak of it without grief and indignation--so noble and masterly a work
made a target by the Gascon bowmen."

In his writings Leonardo describes war as a "bestial frenzy," and in
this grand conception of a rearing horse trampling upon a warrior,
who is trying to protect himself with his shield, it was perhaps
his intention to pillory the horror-of-war, while at the same time
producing a heroic design. The splendid vigour of this group, and of
the maddened figures in the _Battle of Anghiari_, stimulate us even
in the slight sketches. We hear the shouts of barbaric warfare as
we draw them from their quiet resting-places in orderly portfolios.
The "bestial frenzy" of war was never depicted with greater force
than in Leonardo's studies for the last _Cartoon for the Battle of
Anghiari_, where horses gnash at each other, and soldiers, filled with
the lust of war, scream incoherent cries. The heads of two men in a
drawing in the Buda-Pest Gallery, in the very act of slaying, mouths
wide open, breathing fury, are almost painful to look upon. Leonardo
abandoned this battle picture while still in the midst of the task,
as if disgusted with continuing to portray the "bestial frenzy." But
the horses in the battle pictures probably interested him. There is
a galloping horse in a drawing of _Horsemen and Soldiers_ at Windsor
that reveals a marvellous knowledge of the action of the horse at high
speed. Indeed, the horse was one of Leonardo's favourite subjects.
Vasari states that a book of such studies was destroyed when the French
entered Milan. In the large and minute drawing that he made as a
preparatory study for the background of his picture of _The Adoration
of the Magi_, which was changed and curtailed so much in the final
composition, there are horses, curvetting and prancing, and in the
foreground a camel is seen reposing. Actuality is introduced in the
persons of the retainers of the kings, busy with their own affairs,
amusing their leisure with a mock combat. In the drawing in the Uffizi,
of which we give a reproduction, the retainers are shown below the
great double staircase engaged in a joust. One wonders if Velasquez,
who did not reach his usual standard of perfection when he drew a
prancing steed, ever saw any of Leonardo's drawings of resolute and
spirited horses.

Velasquez, when he painted the head of Christ in his _Crucifixion_
at Madrid, veiled the face with the long hair as if he shrank from
attempting to portray the sacred features, although nothing deterred
him from painting the head boldly and freely in his _Christ at the
Column._ History tells of a similar meticulous modesty on the part
of Leonardo in regard to the head of the central figure in his _Last
Supper_, which he left unfinished, on the suggestion of Zenale, that
could not surpass the majesty of certain of the Apostles' heads.

Several preliminary studies for _The Last Supper_ exist, many of which
modern criticism refuses to accept as authentic. The most prominent
in the eye of the world is the pastel of the head of Christ in the
Brera at Milan. Of the beauty of the head, feminine in its softness
and sadness, there cannot be two opinions, but it has not the sense
of virility of the head in the Milan fresco, although the pose of the
drooping face and the downcast eyes are identical. The authorities of
the Brera Gallery at Milan assign the pastel head to Leonardo, and Dr.
Richter describes it as "a genuine half-life size study in pencil for a
head of Christ, which is in a deplorable state of preservation." In Mr.
McCurdy's opinion, the Brera pastel "in its present state is none of
his, whatever its inception may have been, and of that it is impossible
to judge." But whatever vicissitudes of retouching the Brera pastel
may have undergone, it remains a beautiful thing. The full-sized heads
at Weimar, bold and inspiriting drawings, of Judas and St. Peter, St.
Thomas and St. James the Elder, St. Andrew, and St. Bartholomew are not
by Leonardo.

There is no doubt about the authenticity of the heads of the Apostles
in the Windsor Collection, or of the two preparatory sketches for the
composition of _The Last Supper_ also at Windsor, or of the drawing in
red chalk at Venice, containing Leonardo's hand-writing, in which the
figure of St. John is shown grief-stricken, his body thrown forward
upon the table, his face hidden at the mere idea of the awful words,
"One of you shall betray me."

Leonardo's will, executed on April 23, 1519, in the chateau of Cloux,
near Amboise, is extant. He commends his soul to God, orders the
celebration of four high masses and thirty low masses, and wills
his vineyard, without the walls of Milan, to Salai and Battista de
Villanis. In taking leave of this restless, richly endowed and rare
spirit, we turn again to the last lines of Pater's essay, and with
him wonder how the great Florentine "experienced the last curiosity."
Then, perhaps, for the mind is always alert when thinking of Leonardo,
we recall a note in one of his manuscripts wherein he expresses his
conviction that some day with the help of steam a boat may be set
in motion, and another passage in his handwriting, perhaps really
nearer to his real self than the order for those four high and thirty
low masses--this: "When I thought I was learning to live, I was but
learning to die."


[Illustrations]





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