promising exterior. Bianca Maria was, in fact, thoroughly emptyheaded, and more occupied with the distractions of court life than with intellectual matters; her husband soon tired of her. Before her departure for Germany she does not seem to have distinguished herself by any evidences of artistic taste.1

The activity of Lodovico was too restless and too devouring to permit of any other Maecenas at his side. Assuredly, neither his unfortunate nephew, Gian Galeazzo, feeble in mind as in body, nor Gian Galeazzo's wife, Isabella of Aragon (born 1470, married 1489) could dream of entering the lists against him from their gilded prison in Pavia.2

An exquisite medal by Caradosso, and medallions in marble in the Certosa at Pavia and the Lyons Museum have preserved the lineaments of the fragile Gian Galeazzo, and a medallion by Gian Cristoforo Romano, the moody countenance of Isabella of Aragon. This most unhappy princess left Milan in January, 1500, to return to her native country, where fresh trials awaited her. She died in 1524.3

The ranks of the Milanese aristocracy included many brilliant members—the Borromei, the Belgiojosi, the Pallavicini—but their artistic activities were confined to the occasional building of a palace or a mausoleum, or to the ordering of some votive picture.

The San Severini were more intimately connected with the life of our hero. One of them, Galeazzo, had married a daughter of II Moro in 1489. Four years previously his father had been declared a rebel by that very prince, and Galeazzo, in his turn, betrayed Lodo

1 The portrait of this princess has been bequeathed to us by Ambrogio de Predis (Visconti-Arconati Collection, Paris), and possibly also by Leonardo da Vinci (see Dr. Bode's article in the Jahrbuch der kg. Pr. Kunstsammlungen, 1889.)

2 An unpublished document in the Archives of Milan proves, however, that Isabella was surrounded even in 1493 by a complete court. This document gives a list of the costumes made in 1493 for the ladies (" le zitelle ") of the Duchess' suite. Here we learn that for Ippolita Stindarda a gown (" una camorra ") of blue satin (" raxo ") was ordered, for Cornelia Columba a straw-coloured satin, for Lucrezia Barilla one of white satin, for Laura Macedonia a satin gown "lionata chiaro," for Fiora di Spina one of "birettino" satin. Then come the gowns for four other ladies (making a total of thirteen gowns, with silk sleeves), and six gowns of cloth ("panno "), making a total of fifteen ladies in waiting. We must not lose sight of the fact that the government was carried on and justice administered in the name of Gian Galeazzo (Pot. sovrane; Carteggio ducalc; Mobili).

3 See Luzio and Renier, Delle Relazioni, p. 151.


vico to Louis XII. He maintained his relations with Leonardo, however, and in 1496 built himself a fine palace, "Roma Nuova," near Vigevano.1

The son of Cardinal d'Estouteville, Guglielmo Tuttavilla, Count of Sarno (died 1498), was distinguished for his taste and culture.2 His name frequently recurs in the poems of Bramante and his circle.

Marshal Gian Giacomo Trivulzio (1447—1518) had both a passion for enterprises on a grand scale, and the means for putting his projects into execution;3 but, being exiled from Milan during Lodovico's government, he was unable to give free course to his tastes till after his enemy had fallen. He commissioned Leonardo to make designs for his tomb, but we have no evidence to show that the project went any further than a few preparatory studies and sketches. (On the statuette of a horseman in the Thiers collection, see next chapter.) Leonardo, however, did paint his portrait, according to the already quoted testimony of Lomazzo.

One word, too, as to the Melzi. They were rather Leonardo's friends than his patrons. One of them, the youthful Francesco, placed himself under the tutelage of his distinguished companion, and followed him to Amboise, remaining with him till his death.

The atmosphere of Lodovico's brilliant and sceptical court must have been singularly congenial to a temperament like that of Leonardo.

In what light did the Maecenas and the artist regard each other? How did these two emancipated spirits react on one another, and what effect did their reciprocal penetration exercise upon the art, the science, the philosophy, the many lofty and pregnant qualities embodied in Leonardo? Their minds were not without striking analogies. At once subtle and vacillating, Lodovico did his utmost to impose his own

1 Paravicini, L Architecture de la Renaissance en Lombardie, p. 4.—According to Miiller-Walde (Jahrbuchder kg. Pr. Kunstsammlungen, 1897, pp. 109-110), the portrait in the Ambrosiana represents Galeazzo.

2 See the Raccolta Milanese of 1756 (last page).—Burchard, Diarium, ed. Thuasne, vol. ii. p. 499.

3 See Richter, vol. ii. pp. 6, 15, 17. Lomazzo has left us a very exact portrait of Trivulzio :—" Giacomo magno Triulzi Milanese fu piccolo di corpo, ma ben fatto; era di fronte spatiosa, di naso rilevato, con alquanto di zazzara, andava raso, come si vede in una medaglia di mano di Caradosso Foppa et in suo ritratto dipinto da Leonardo, et fu nell' armi di singolar valore." (Trattato della Pittura, p. 635.) See also Brantome, (Euvres, ed. Lalanne, vol. ii. p. 221-226.

idiosyncrasy on his interpreters. Let us hear what Paolo Giovio, the priestly chronicler, says of him: "Lodovico had caused Italy to be represented in a hall of his palace as a queen, accompanied by a Moorish squire (in allusion to his complexion or his device), bearing a musket. He sought to show by this allegory that he was arbiter of the national destinies, and that it was his mission to defend his country against all attack." An illuminated copy of the lstoria di Francesco Sforza, by J. Simonetta (printed at Milan in 1490), bears upon its frontispiece a series of allegories or emblems scarcely less bizarre. In order to understand them we must remember that Lodovico always made art subservient to his political aims. In the foreground, on the shore of a lake, are Gian Galeazzo and Lodovico, both kneeling, each with his right hand lifted towards heaven, as if mutually exhorting one another; on the waters a woman stands on a dolphin, holding a sail, beside a barque with a negro (in allusion to Lodovico) at the helm, and a youth against the mast; in the air, S. Louis (Lodovico) appears to the two. In the vertical border is a mulberry tree, another allusion to the surname "II Moro," with a trunk of human form, round which twines a branch, terminating in a human body and face. The inscription: "Dum vivis, tutus et la;tus vivo, gaude fili, protector tuus ero semper," proclaims II Moro's beneficent guardianship of his hapless nephew.1

Another enigmatic allegory on the bust of Beatrice d'Este, now in the Louvre—two hands hold a napkin, through which a fertilising dust falls on the calyx of a flower—has led one of the most learned warders of our national museum to ascribe the work to Leonardo, who alone at that time, it would seem, was acquainted with the mystery of flower fertilisation. Although we know now that this striking bust was the work of Gian Cristoforo Romano, one of the court sculptors of Milan, and that the emblem of fertilisation had already been adopted by Borso d'Este, the uncle of Beatrice, it is a fact that Lodovico affected such extravagant logogriphs, as if to challenge our powers of penetration.

Everything leads us to suppose that the Milanese prince exhibited this taste for subtlety in his attitude towards science also. If our

1 This miniature is reproduced in M. F. Delaborde's Expedition de Charles VIII. en Italic.

premises are well-founded he should have encouraged astrology, 1 alchemy, chiromancy, in short, every science tinged with mystery, or laying claim to some special secret or discovery of its own.

When, in 1483, Leonardo came to seek his fortune at Lodovico's court, that prince had been governing Milan for four years. His subjects had therefore had time to gain some idea of his character and tastes. Leonardo, who is sure to have gathered such information as he could concerning his new master, seems to have been quite aware

[graphic][merged small]

of the duke's weakness for the occult sciences. This, at any rate,

was the string he played upon in Lodovico by the aid of a programme

bewildering in its varictv.

He proceeded to celebrate the virtues of his new patron in a series

of allegories, more than usually abstruse, in which he represented him

now wearing spectacles and standing between Envy and Justice, the

1 He never formed any important resolution without consulting his favourite astrologer, Amlrogio da Rosate. He had also in his service the Jewish astrologer, Leone Giudeo, and the astrologer, Calccrando. (Uzielli, Leonardo da Vinci e tre Gentildonne milanesi, pp. 6, 41. See also the Archivio storico lombardo, 1874, p. 486.)

« 上一頁繼續 »