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here and there. Thus we know that there was a certain ruggedness about his pen-drawing about 1473, when the young artist was twenty years old.
There is, on the other hand, a series of drawings in black chalk or charcoal which are marked by a breadth, a suavity, and at the same time, by a freedom, wanting in the drawings of the first Florentine period. Among these are the Young Man with a Lance, the Young Woman, the so-called Beatrice, the Convict, the Neptune, etc., in the Windsor collection (nos. 60, 63, 65, 68 in the series published by the Grosvenor Gallery). Shall we be accused of temerity if we assign these drawings to the Milanese rather than to the Florentine period?
Although Leonardo's drawings escape chronological analysis, they are by no means all equal in quality. His sketches, for instance, are full of violent transitions and dissimilarities. Even in drawings the authenticity of which cannot be questioned—those, for instance, in his own manuscripts—the inequalities of technique are remarkable. The manuscripts preserved in Paris contain a series of absolutely coarse and archaic—or perhaps I should rather say Verrocchiesque—drawings. I may instance the man standing, with a child sitting (MS. B. fol. 4), and the David standing, holding a sword (MS. 2037, in the Bibliotheque Nationale, fol. 7, v.). No one would suppose them to be by Leonardo, if they were not in the midst of his own writings. His sketches for the Virgin and Child with a cat—the mother's figure singularly thick-set and ungraceful—are no less rough and uncouth. And yet the master had drawn the free and confident portrait of the conspirator Baroncelli as early as 1478. Thus, at every turn we are confronted by anomalies ; at every moment, his pen becomes as clumsy as that of an inexperienced scholar.
Leonardo looked at drawing from three points of view. Firstly, as an art in itself,—an end, and not merely a means. The elaboration of some of his portraits sufficiently proves this. His disinterestedness on this point was greater than that of Raphael, whose drawings are almost without exception sketches and cartoons for his pictures. Secondly, drawing was in Leonardo's eyes a preliminary to the execution of pictures and statues; and thirdly, a kind of graphic commentary on, or necessary illustration of, his works. In the last case,