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the wood which nourishes a fire, but is itself consumed ; or again, to symbolise Ingratitude by a pair of bellows consumed by flames. 1
One of the drawings at Christ Church, Oxford, shows a woman astride of a skeleton on all fours ; she has pendulous breasts,
, one hand raised in the air, the other supporting a vase. We should have found this an enigma very difficult to solve had the master not provided it with a long explanation. Here he meant to figure Envy. Envy, he explains, is represented making a contemptuous gesture towards heaven with one hand, because, if she could, she would direct her strength against the Deity ; her face is a benevolent mask ; her eyes are wounded by palm and olive branches, her ears by the myrtle and the laurel, which means that victory and truth offend her. Lightnings flash from her body, typifying her calumnies; she must be dry and thin, because she continually torments herself. A swelling serpent feeds on her heart. Her quiver is filled with tongues instead of arrows, because they are her favourite weapon. She must have a leopard skin, because that animal kills the lion with jealousy by giving him food for it. Her hand must hold a filled with flowers, scorpions, toads, and other venomous animals; and she must ride upon Death, because Envy, being deathless, is never tired of commanding. The bridle she holds should be charged with various weapons, instruments of death. A second design on the same sheet represents the Combat between Envy and Virtue. The latter, figured as a fine, naked young man, thrusts a branch of palm into the eyes and one of olive into the ears of his enemy. Envy, who grasps him so closely that their two bodies seem to form but one, brandishes a torch behind her antagonist's back and lays one hand upon his quiver. Leonardo provides the following comment : “As soon as Virtue is born, she begets Envy; and one may see a body without a shadow more easily than Virtue without Envy.4
Ravaisson, vol. v.; MS. M., fol.
5. 2 This legend of the leopard is evidently taken from the Bestiarius of the middle ages, which Leonardo copied. See below, chap. iii. 3 Richter, vol. i., P. 353–354.
4 Richter, vol, i., p. 354.
After all this I may discuss in detail the question of Leonardo's imitations of the antique. They are vastly more numerous than is generally supposed, and in many definite points they corroborate the general view here forward.
To take the question of sculpture. It is not proved that Leonardo made any use of the colossal horses of the Quirinal, at Rome—the drawing of one of them, in the Resta collection at the Ambrosiana, is certainly not by him—but, on the other hand, I am certainly inclined to maintain that he studied the famous antique equestrian group in bronze, at Pavia : “ Di quel di Pavia si lauda più il movimento che nessun altra cosa." 1 Dr. Richter here believes in a slip of the pen, and for Pavia would read Padua, the passage referring, in his opinion, to the Gattamelata of Donatello. But, in fact, no doubt is possible; the antique group at Pavia is meant and no other. Immediately after the phrase quoted above, Leonardo goes on to say that it is much more advisable to imitate ancient than modern productions. Where did Leonardo get the idea of his rearing horses ? From the antique, undoubtedly. We may easily convince ourselves of this by examining gems representing such things as the fall of Phaëton, the death of Hector, the death of Hippolytus, those, for instance, in plate xix. of D’Arneth's work on the Vienna cabinet of antiques.
Turning now to painting. We may point out, beside the more or less veiled reminiscences already alluded to, a certain number of textual imitations. In his studies for the Adoration of the Magithe unfinished sketch in the Uffizi-attitudes continually recur which recall certain famous antiques, such as the Faun of Praxiteles, and the bronze Narcissus, at Naples. The same series of drawings contains a bearded individual obviously founded on the antique type of Silenus (see vol. i., p. 75-77).
1 Richter, vol. ii., p. 434.
2 Rearing horses are found on the medals of Hadrian, of Antoninus, of Septimius Severus, etc. (Froehner, Les Médaillons de l'Empire Romain, pp. 34, 72, 157, etc.) In many of his sketches Leonardo has represented a horse rearing over a conquered enemy, a motive which frequently occurs on ancient coins, on the medals of Lucius Verus, for instance, and Probus (Froehner, pp. 93, 242). A coin of Patræos (340-315) shows us a horseman fighting a man on foot (Duruy, Histoire des Grecs, vol. ii., p. 76).
In his studies for the Last Supper, the apostle seen in profile recalls in the most striking manner the Roman medallions of the time of the Antonines, notably those of Lucius Verus.
Even for facial types Leonardo deigned, now and then, though rarely, to consult the ancients. His John the Baptist, in the Louvre, is clearly based on certain antique types, half masculine and half
feminine, such as the “ Apollino," the Bacchus, and the Hermaphroditus, and yet the combination is thoroughly Leonardesque.
If there be one page in this work of Leonardo which betrays study from nature, and especially study of the horse's anatomy, more
than another, it is assu34
redly that Battle of Anghiari, of which one episode has been preserved in a drawing by Rubens, and in a few
or less partial copies. The episode is that known the Fight for the Standard.
It had never occurred to me to investigate in that direction, when accident, the great explorer, brought under my eyes a cameo presenting remarkable analogies, not to say more, with one of the motives employed by Leonardo. This cameo (see p. 16) represents the Fall of Phaëton.
STUDY OF A HEAD FOR
THE LAST SUPPER."
INSPIRED BY THE
I See Médaillons de l'Empire Romain, p. 93, et passim. As to Leonardo's imitation of the Apollo Sauroctonos, of Praxiteles, see vol. i., p. 204.
In spite of its beauty of workmanship, my first impulse was to look upon it as an imitation dating from the period of the Renaissance, in which case it would be a copy from the Battle of Anghiari, and not its prototype. But how was I to persevere in my doubt of its antiquity when I found it engraved in the Trésor de Numismatique et de Glyptique (mythological section), and unreservedly accepted by an archæologist of Froehner's perspicacity ?
The motive of this cameo was very popular with the ancients, although it can scarcely be traced beyond the Empire. Examples mostly date from the third century of era. 1
The horse on the left, which stretches himself upwards, is textually repeated on four sarcophagi reproduced by Wieseler. 2 That which offers the most striking analogies with the Battle of Anghiari came to the Uffizi in the seven
(Windsor Library.) teenth century, having
1 According to Galien, L. B. Alberti mentions a ring on which was engraved Phaëton dragged down by four horses, “of which one could distinguish perfectly the reins, the feet, the chest” (De la Statue et de la Peinture ; translation by Claudius Popelin ; Paris, 1869, p. 180).
A sarcophagus with a Death of Phaëton, in which this characteristic group again occurs, was drawn about the end of the fifteenth century by the anonymous author of the collection of Roman views and buildings which is now in the library of the Escurial.
2 Phaëton, Göttingen, 1857.
STUDY OF A HEAD FOR
INSPIRED BY THE
THE LAST SUPPER.
previously been in the Colonna gardens at Rome. 1 But let go
back to the cameo. Leonardo must certainly have seen it in Florence, where it is still. We are confirmed in this belief by the presence, among the jewels deposited with Agostino Chigi by Piero de' Medici in 1496, of a cameo representing Phaëton : “Una tavola d'argiento, con cinque cammei, cioè uno con Fetonte in mezzo et le teste de imperatori da canto.' The cameo was certainly already popularised in Florence by means of casts.
But there is more in the Battle of Anghiari than this conveyance of a particular motive. Leonardo borrowed the types of his horses from the Phaëton of the ancient graver or sculptor. Compare the horses in his drawings for the Sforza monument with those in the Battle of Anghiari. The difference is striking. In the former the silhouette is well-marked and full of nobility ; in the latter, the forms are thick and fleshy, just as them in the Roman
Leonardo's horse has this peculiarity, that if we examine him in the drawing of Rubens, which is clearly turned the same way as the original, he exactly reproduces the horse on the right in the cameo, while if we turn to Edelinck's engraving, which is reversed, he agrees exactly with the horse on the left.
on this occasion that Leonardo was unluckily inspired to demand the secret of encaustic painting from Pliny. He could make nothing of it. He attempted to carry out the Battle of Anghiari in the method, but met with so many difficulties and disappointments, that he gave up the whole matter in disgust and abandoned Pliny, and encaustic painting, and, alas! the Battle of Anghiari, which might otherwise have survived to our own times.
Compared to the grand total of Leonardo's drawings, a total to be reckoned in thousands, the number of his copies from the antique does not at first sight seem very great. Dr. Richter,
1 Dütschke, Antike Bildwerke in Oberitalien, vol, iii., p. 84. 2 Les Collections des Médicis, p. 105.
3 “Di Plinio cavò quello stuccho con il quale coloriva, ma non l'intense bene.” (Anonymous biography published by Milanesi.)