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repulsive order. M. Taine has expressed this admirably in one of his penetrating pieces of analysis, in which he teaches us more about the genius of a master in a few lines than we learn from whole volumes by others; we will set it down as it stands, for it would be impossible to put it better. "It happens now and then," writes the author of the Voyage en Italic, "that among
these young athletes haughty as Greek gods, we light upon some beautiful ambiguous youth, of feminine mould, his slender form contorted into an attitude of languorous coquetry, akin to the androgynes of the Imperial epoch, and like them, giving evidence of a more advanced but less healthy, an almost morbid art, so eager after perfection, so insatiable of delight, that, not content to accord strength to man and delicacy to woman, it must needs confound and multiply the beauty of the two sexes by a strange fusion,
and lose itself in the dreams and researches of the ages of decadence and immorality. There is no saying to what the protracted striving after exquisite and profound sensations may not finally lead." Leonardo was not one of those limited spirits for whom nature is nothing but a convenient source of picturesque themes; he embraced it in all its infinite variety, and it was perhaps because he studied its deformed and hideous aspects that he was enabled to show us its purest, most ideal beauty.