Starting in 2007 this blog documents the multiple attempts to write a book about Leonardo da Vinci, with random thoughts and posts along the way. In early 2016 I finally gave up (or in?) on writing that book and decided to focus on the things I really wanted to do.
What was that? Lets find out!
The Last Supper Pre vs Post Restorations
The pre-restoration was made by merging multiple photographs of it then that image was auto-aligned with the post-restoration image. Interestingly the computer was not able to auto-align the pre and post paintings (It requires 40% of the images being a match) but I was able to manually align the post and pre and combine them with 50% transparency - and then use that image to auto-align the two originals.
That goes to show how different the painting looks even after about 20 years not to mention what it would have looked like 500 years ago. It’s like having the same connect the dots coordinates but other artists - and time - have painted over - replaced - took off - and then reinterpreted the internal images quite a bit - but also leaving the edges of the puzzle pieces mostly intact.
Getting two photographs of the Last Supper to align like this without a computer’s help would be very difficult without taking pictures of them from the exact same spot with the exact same camera - very difficult to achieve with decades between. Leonardo was aware of this problem and designed his paintings to be viewed from a specific spot to avoid distortion. Interestingly he was also the first to realize that this distortion could also be used for artistic effect and it became known as Anamorphosis. Or in other words you can draw something that can only be properly seen from a specific perspective.
The most famous of which is by Hans Holbein the Younger - The Ambassadors - where there is a skull included in the foreground.
Leonardo da Vinci was born in a town called Vinci in 1452. He left behind thousands of pages of journals and hundreds if not thousands of works of art. He was obsessed with mirrors and painted more portraits than anything else (that we know of) so it's been sort of a mystery as to what he really looked like. Why aren't there more, if any, obvious portraits of himself?
Almost every artist, especially painters, and even more so - painters who paint portraits paint themselves a lot. If you have the urge to start painting, and there is no one around - you are always there. I know personally that I have more pictures of myself than anything else. Why? Cause i'm there, all the time.
I would imagine that Leonardo painted himself, a lot. I would go so far as to say he was his own greatest subject. He was obsessed with mirrors, he painted a lot, he wasn't always around a lot of people, and getting people to stay still for long amounts of time is very difficult. When you are loo…
I've been thinking about how each animal seems to have it's "ivore" - opposite. Or a herbivore/ carnivore opposite. Almost as if each type of animal divided into two different types and with each comes almost universal characteristics not just shared between the two similar species but all of the herbivores/ carnivores and even more interestingly- omnivores.
This made me think of humanities place within this potential contrast.
For example a Panda bear exclusively eats bamboo (Herbivore) and a Polar Bear exclusively eats Meat - they can probably eat some vegetables (saw them eating carrots in a zoo) as well but their natural diet is almost all meat. A Panda could also probably eat some meat but the idea is they are definitely more one or the other. Another dividing factors isn't just "will eat meat" but will actually hunt or kill an animal to get it. There are a lot of animals that could or would eat meat if it was in front of them but wouldn't eve…
(The "Savior of the World" that I am referring to in this post was not the painting being considered to be by Leonardo. It was one of his apprentices. Click on the image above to go to the blog that is about the correct painting.
It is going to be exhibited at London's National Gallery in November and auctioned off. It has been estimated to sell for 100-200 MILLION dollars. There is still some controversy if it really is a Leonardo da Vinci painting.
Interestingly I have a picture of Salvado Mundi in my book. I had compared it to the Shroud of Turin & the vitruvian man: both of which I think were created by Leonardo himself. I think he purposely painted the Salvado Mundi as further proof that he also created the Shroud of Turin.
They say that great artists "use lies to tell the truth." I think the Salvator Mundi was painted …