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your brush will ever succeed in depicting such a person by the help of a book? How thoroughly the precept of the old Latin author, "si vis me flere," applies in such a case! You may say that Leonardo wrote for second-rate artists; to which I answer that, from the artistic standpoint, such people do not exist, and that it was unworthy of Leonardo's genius to trouble itself about them.

Like the other works of Leonardo, the Trattato della Pittura awaits the editor. It has not yet undergone the remodelling and co-ordination required to make it a real didactic treatise. The want of sequence in the arrangement of its chapters, and the innumerable

repetitions show that it

[graphic]

SKETCH IN THE TKATTATO DELLA liTTURA.
(Vatican Library.)

never received the master's last touches. Let us add that, imperfect as it is, it has never ceased, since it was first made public, to excite the keen interest of the artist and the amateur. Between 1651, when it was first sent to the press, and 1898, nearly thirty editions and translations have been published.

The treatise has come down to us in two different forms. In the first place, we have the autographic fragments, illustrated by numerous drawings of the master, which Dr. Richter was the first to publish; secondly, we have several old copies, more complete in some respects than the fragments; in these we can recognise an effort at re-arrangement due, no doubt, to one or another of his disciples, if not to Leonardo himself.

Of these the two most important copies are in the Barberini Palace and the Vatican. Upon the former were based the early printed editions, especially that of 1651, which contained illustrations by Nicholas Poussin.1 The Vatican manuscript was published by Manzi

1 It is now asserted that some of the figures hitherto ascribed to Poussin are copies by the French master of drawings by Leonardo himself. As to this, a comparison between them and the copies made by Rubens, or one of his pupils, from the same originals ought to be decisive. (Pawlowski, in Pierre-Paul Rubens, p. 227-233, Librairie de 1'Art; De Geymiiller, Les derniers Travaux sur Leonard de Vinci, p. 34, 36). But—" pace" these

[graphic]

in 1817. It is much more complete than the Barberini codex, for it contains books i., v., vi., vii. and viii,, all wanting in the latter. As the name of Melzi occurs in three separate passages, it has been supposed that he had something to do with the production or arrangement of the Vatican codex. But that of course is only a more or less probable hypothesis.

We must add that beyond the diagrams of perspective and the drawings of trees, the Vatican MS. contains but a small number of sketches: the series of noses, a few anatomical sketches and studies of movement, a horse walking, &c. The nude figure, front and back (plate ix., no. 16, in the Manzi edition) is a reproduction from two of the Windsor drawings.

Manzi allowed himself various libertie swith Leonardo. Not content with much arbitrary modification of his author's orthography, he left out paragraphs and even whole chapters, and so it became necessary to prepare a definitive edition, a task brought to a happy conclusion by the late Heinrich Ludwig (died 1898), a German painter, settled in Rome. The German translation facing the text in Ludwig's edition shows a scrupulous fidelity, also evident in the commentaries, of which the third volume is made up. Ludwig followed up his edition of the Trattato with a special volume (1885), in which the differences and analogies between the original manuscripts of Leonardo, and the

respectable authorities—could there be anything more out of harmony with Leonardo's manner than heavy, common figures like these?

After taking, by his drawings, an active part in the publication of the Trattato, Poussin renounced his convictions, and finally wrote the following letter to Abraham Bosse: "As for Leonardo's book, it is true that I drew the human figures in the copy which belongs to M. le Chevalier du Puis (del Pozzo); but the rest of the drawings, geometrical or otherwise, are by a certain degli Alberti, the same who did the "plantes" (plates or plans ?) in the book of subterranean Rome. As for the landscapes (" gaufes paisages ") which are behind the figures in the copy printed by M. de Chambray, they were added by one Errard [Charles Errard, first director of the French Academy in Rome], without my knowledge. All that is good in this book might be written on a single sheet of paper, and that in large letters, and those who think I approve of all that is in it do not know me, me who profess never to give free course to things relating to my calling which are ill-said or ill-done." (De Chennevieres-Pointcl, Recherches sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de quelqucs Pcintres provinciaux, vol. iii., p. 166.)

SKETCH IN THE

"TRATTATO DELLA

I'ITTURA."

(Vatican Library.)

Vatican codex, are carefully set out. Unfortunately this volume is disfigured by a great deal of coarse and unfair abuse of Dr. Richter.

As a result of Ludwig's researches we find that the fragments of the Trattato printed by Dr. Richter form 662 paragraphs, while the Vatican MS. runs to 944. The text of 225 paragraphs is identical both in the collected manuscripts and the Vatican copy.

This great encylopaedia of painting contains eight books: i., On

Poetry and Painting; ii-, On Precepts for the Painter; iii., On Anatomy, Proportions, &c.; iv., On Drapery; v., On Light and Shadow; vi., On Trees and Verdure; vii., On Clouds; viii., On the Horizon.

The major part of Book i is devoted to a comparison of painting with poetry ..." Sicut pictura poesis"... "Painting is poetry which one can see, but cannot hear; poetry is painting which one can hear, but cannot see." "A picture is a mute poem, and a poem a blind picture" (c. 20, 21).'2 But Leonardo pushes his comparison too far

1 There is, unhappily, no French translation in which artists and amateurs might note the numerous and important additions to the Trattato contained in the autographs and in the Vatican codex. In France we have still perforce to content ourselves with Gault de Saint-Germain's very incomplete version. This reproach, is, I am glad to hear, in the way of being shortly removed by M. Rouveyre, who has done so much for students of Leonardo.

- In Lodovico Dolce's Aretino, Pietro Aretino reminds us that certain men of talent have called the painter a mute poet, and the poet a talking painter.

[graphic]

ENGRAVING OF INTERLACED ORNAMENT, INSCRIBED ACADEMIA LE 'NAkDl VINCI."

(The Ambroaiana, Milan.)

when he declares that poetry is supremely suitable for the deaf! (cap. 28).

The arguments used by Leonardo in favour of painting offer a certain analogy with those set forth about the same time by Baldassare Castiglione, in the Corlegiano. I mean that occasionally they have a somewhat prosaic quality, rather than one of high philosophical speculation. Hear what he says on the question of visual illusion. "I have seen a portrait so like that the favourite dog of the original took it for his master and displayed every sign of delight; I have also seen dogs bark at painted dogs and try to bite them; and a monkey make all sorts of faces at portraits of his own kind; I have seen swallows on the wing attempt to settle on iron bars painted across the painted windows of painted houses" (cap. 14).

In another section (13) Leonardo brings out the omnipotence of the painter. When he wants to see such beauties as excite his love, he can create them for himself; if he should wish to see monstrous and terrific things, or absurd and laughable things, or things which excite compassion, again he is sovereign and divine ('n' e signore e dio "); he can create countries teeming with population, or deserts, places dark and shady with trees, or blazing with the sun, &c.

H H

[graphic]

HEAD OF AN OLD MAN CROWNED WITH LAUREL.

(Windsor Library.)

[graphic]

SKETCH IN THE TRATTATO DELLA IMTTURA."

(Vatican Library.)

These transcendental considerations are followed up by comparisons between painting and music, painting and sculpture.

The more or less idle question, whether painting was superior to sculpture, or "vice versa," was passionately discussed all through the Renaissance. Half a century, at least, before Leonardo, Leone Battista Alberti had pronounced in favour of painting.1

Leonardo accords the palm to the same art. "Sculpture," he says, "is not a science, but a mechanical art, if there is one, for it makes the sculptor sweat, and gives him bodily fatigue. The only difference I find between painting and sculpture is this: the sculptor carries out his works with more bodily fatigue than the painter, the painter with more mental fatigue than the sculptor " (cap. 35, 36).

About the same time, perhaps, as Leonardo, Baldassare Castiglione arrived at a similar conclusion in his Cortegiano.

A decade or two later, in 1549, a distinguished Florentine man of letters, Benedetto Varchi, published a Lezione, in which the question Quale sia piii nobile arte, la Scultura 0 la Pittura, was discussed. Michelangelo wrote him a letter in which he makes a determined stand for his favourite art:" I say that the nearer painting approaches to the round, the better it seems to me, and the nearer the round approaches to painting the worse it seems. To me, sculpture appears the lamp of painting; between the one and the

[graphic]

SKETCH IN THE " TRATTATO DELLA PITTURA."

(Vatican Library).

1 "And truly," he cries, " is she not the queen and chief ornament of the arts. If I am not in error, it was from the painter that the architect took his architraves, his capitals, his bases, his columns, his pinnacles, and other adornments of his buildings. It is evidently on the principles of the painter's art that the lapidary, the sculptor, the jeweller, and other manual artists regulate their practice ; in short, there is no art, however humble, which has not some connection with painting." {Delia Pittura.)—Other points of sympathy between the treatises of Leonardo and Alberti have been established by Seibt., Hell-Dunkel (pp. 37, 38, 53). Both Alberti and Leonardo declare that black and white are not colours, that vigour of relief is preferable to beauty of colour, etc. See also C. Brun's paper in the Rcpertorium fur Kiinstwissenschaft, 1892, p. 267.

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