Sunday, 27 April 2008
What a shame Leonardo wasted so much of his artistic genius, leaving behind a mere handful of works, some because of ill-judged scientific pioneering, ruined, like The Last Supper. There is a divinity to Leonardo's work that is of an order perhaps beyond all others, an aristocratic spiritual essence which makes his concern with producing fighting machines and the like somewhat puzzling. Which reminds me of Tarkovsky's final film, The Sacrifice, where another of Leonardo's unfinished masterworks plays a prominent supporting role- The Adoration of the Magi below, and a lead character, a strange mystic postman, says he has always been terrified of Leonardo. Perhaps there is something at times bordering on the repulsive, the fallen angel in his most mysterious creations, though certainly not in the bottom image. The occasional hint or sense of beauty threatening to spill over into decadence, such as his John the Baptist below- not a work I'm particularly gone on. Like Michelangelo, Leonardo's beings are also not of this world, archetypes who aspire to embody the mystery of being in its elusive fullness, but unlike Michelangelo's 'larger than life' creations who are in truth less than life, Leonardo's are 'alive', autonomous beings set free from their origin as mere two-dimensional illusions. Incidentally if I was to have one Leonardo image, it would probably be the uppermost image, the Saint Anne, Virgin and child and Saint John , unfinished as it typically is.