Showing posts from October, 2012

Dragons and the Grotesque

"You know that you cannot invent animals without limbs, each of which , in itself, must resemble those of some other animal. Hence if you wish to make an animal, imagined by you, appear natural - let us say a Dragon - take for its head that of a mastiff or hound, with the eyes of a cat, the ears of a porcupine, the nose of a greyhound, the brow of a lion, the temples of an old cock, the neck of water tortoise."  - Leonardo da Vinci

 "Of grotesque faces I need say nothing because they are kept in mind without difficulty." - Leonardo da Vinci

Virtue vs Envy

No sooner is Virtue born than Envy comes into the world to attack it; and sooner will there be a body without a shadow than Virtue without Envy.Envy must be represented with a contemptuous motion of the hand towards heaven, because if she could she would use her strength against God; make her with her face covered by a mask of fair seeming; show her as wounded in the eye by a palm branch and by an olive-branch, and wounded in the ear by laurel and myrtle, to signify that victory and truth are odious to her. Many thunderbolts should proceed from her to signify her evil speaking. Let her be lean and haggard because she is perpetual torment. Make her heart gnawed by a swelling serpent, and make her with a quiver with tongues serving as arrows, because this creature kills the lion out of envy and by deceit. Give her too a vase in her hand full of flowers and scorpions and toads and other venomous creatures; make her ride upon death, because Envy, never dying, never tires of ruling. Make h…


"The act of procreation and anything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions."
Leonardo da Vinci

"He who does not value life does not deserve it."

@derekbair | |

Allegory of the Wolf?

Sketch by Leonardo da Vinci showing an Eagle standing on a globe wearing a crown. A wolf sits in a boat with an olive tree. Obviously some kind of metaphor and symbolism, which isn't stated. It’s thought that the Eagle represents the King of France and the wolf - the Pope. Possibly alluding to their alliance in 1515, the olive tree is a symbol of peace. 

This is a great example of how an image can contain symbolism that isn't always clear hundreds of years later.