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This portrait, later by a dozen years than that in the Windsor Library, is, like it, in red chalk. It is distinguished by the utmost boldness and freedom of execution. Age, during these intervening years, has produced its effect, we might almost say, has wrought its havoc. The hair has worn away from the broad high forehead, on which deep lines are furrowed, the brows are contracted, the eyelids wrinkled, the admirably modelled nose seems to have grown more aquiline, the mouth has put on a bitter and sarcastic expression, the hair and beard, longer even than in the profile portrait, hang in disorder, almost unkempt. The artist, we clearly see, has long since left personal vanity behind him.
In such a form as this we can best conjure up this enigmatic figure, this mighty sceptic, who has lost so many illlusions, and who goes his way mocking at the ignorance of other men.
The interest of this
Turin portrait is considerably enhanced by the fact that it was evidently executed in France. I have said that a comparison with the Windsor portrait convinces us that an interval of at least twelve years separates the two pictures. If, then, Leonardo was fifty, at the youngest, when he executed the first, the second must have
studies," it adds, "are very remarkable." According to a manuscript note on a copy of this catalogue, these two drawings seem to have been purchased by Mr. Woodburn. I do not know what has become of them. Arsene Houssaye tells us (p. 439) that the portrait formerly belonging to the King of the Netherlands was a black chalk copy of the Turin portrait.
SUPPOSED PORTRAIT UF LEONARDO.
been produced when he was at least sixty-two, and possibly sixty-four.
At that period of his life he was settled in France. I may therefore assert, without any fear of contradiction, that the wonderful red chalk drawing in the Turin Library came into existence at Amboise. The old man's hand—his left hand, for the right was paralysed—had lost nothing of its power. With an absolute sureness of touch and inexorable precision, it has traced the lineaments of the Faust of Italy. There can be no possible doubt that the picture in the Uffizi, which bears every sign of being a fancy portrait, is derived from this source.
If I am not mistaken, Leonardo's features are also recognisable in a drawing of an aged man, with a kind of helmet on his head, in the Windsor Library. There is the same aquiline nose, the same wavy hair falling on the shoulders, the same sarcastic expression. The beard, indeed seems thicker than in the Turin portrait.1
The likeness between the portrait in the Turin Library and that in the Windsor Library, representing an old man seated and looking at the waves (p. 229), is less striking.2
Another portrait in the Windsor Library, that of an old man in profile, looking to the right, offers a certain resemblance to the portrait of Leonardo in the same collection. Yet the nose is much longer and more regular, and the expression still more sarcastic; the beard is long and wavy, and the hair in plaits (p. 225).
Monsieur Charles Ravaisson-Mollien considers an exceedingly hasty sketch on the reverse side of sheet 136, MS. I. to be a portrait of the artist. It is the head of an aged man, with a hooked nose and long beard (the upper part of the face is missing), which seems to have been scrawled, as it were, across the written text. In any case, it bears a strong resemblance to the authenticated portraits of Leonardo.
1 According to Herr Miiller-Walde, this is a picture of King Christian of Denmark, who was at Florence in 1474. On what grounds does Hcrr Miiller-Walde make this assertion? He does not inform us. I imagine it to be on the fact that the person represented wears a beard, and that no fifteenth-century Italian ever appeared with that appendage. Nobody but an inhabitant of the north would have dared to wear one. But if the portrait may be dated 1515, instead of 1475, tn's argument falls to the ground.
2 Richtcr, vol. i., pl. xxv., p. 200.—Dc Gcyniiillcr, Les derniers Traraux sur Leonard de Vinci, p. 23.
Following on Leonardo's portraits of himself come those drawn or painted by his contemporaries.
The most famous of these is the oil picture in the Uffizi Gallery; this is Leonardo arranged, conventionalised, emasculated. The canvas is not only by some other hand; it does not seem to have been painted during his lifetime. It is now supposed to be the work of Schidone, of Sisto Baldalocchio, or possibly of some imitator of Correggio (p. 233).
The figure of an old man, introduced by the most sympathetic of all the master's imitators, Bernardino Luini, in his Marriage of the Virgin, a fresco painted in the church of Saronno, is also believed to be a portrait of Leonardo.1
This represents a man with long white hair and beard with a sort of biretta on his head. He appears once in the foreground, and once again standing against a door, in the background of the composition. In any case the portrait, if such it be, is a fancy picture, without any of the exactness of a study from nature.2
Let us endeavour to point the moral of this study. A mere consideration of dates, and appeal to merciless chronology, forces a most distressing conviction upon our minds: the splendid specimen of manhood, the inspired poet, the radiant Apollo of his generation, whose gifts cast dazzling rays across the darkest shadows of the profoundest sciences, aged before his time! The golden beard, and the curling rings of hair, which were the admiration of his century, were silvered over before he had attained his fiftieth year! He had worked so hard! He had grappled with every problem of physical and moral existence He had spent night after night resolving questions, wrestling with doubts. And, further, being both artist and savant, with an imagination,—I had almost said a fancy —which equalled his powers of methodical reflection, he had encountered endless disappointments. His patrons left him, born "grand seigneur " as he was, without the common necessaries of life! One of his friends, Lodovico il Moro, was condemned to languish in the hideous dungeon at Loches ; another, Caesar Borgia, whilom dictator of all Italy, was immured in another prison; his fellow-citizen, the Gonfaloniere of Florence, Soderini, dunned him to carry out his work, and would have paid him in small coin, like any artisan; Pope Leo X. stormed at him because he produced so slowly; the warmest of all his patrons, Giuliano de' Medici, the Pope's brother, died in the flower of his age, but a few months after his marriage! The reasons why Leonardo da Vinci looked old before his time are only too evident.
1 This theory was first put forward, if I mistake not, by M. Sifailles in his recent work Leonard' de Vinci, I'Artiste et le Savant. For the portrait of Leonardo, which appears in the Adoration of the Magi, lately hung in the Uffizi Gallery, and described as a Botticelli, see Signor Ridolfi in Le Galerie nationals italiane, vol. iii., and the Gazette des Beaux Arts, 1898, vol. ii., p. 184.
2 Amoretti asserts that a Treatise on Music, the MS. of which is preserved in the Trivulzio Library, bears on its frontispiece a miniature of Leonardo, holding a cither (Afemorie, p. 25, cf. Vasari, Milanesi's ed., vol. iv., p. 28). But in Conte Porro's catalogue of this collection, he affirms that the figure referred to bears no resemblance to the artist (Catalogo del Codirimanoscritti della Trivulziana, p. 158, Turin, 1884). If Viardot is to be believed, the Esterhazy Gallery, now located at Pesth, contains an absolutely authentic portrait of Leonardo (Les Musees d'Allemagne, p. 241). But this portrait (no. 357), a half-length figure, which, in former days, was believed to be a portrait of Leonardo by his own hand, is considered by Herr Frimmel to be the work of some French or Brabantine painter (Kleine Galerie Studien, vol. ii., p. 150-151).
On the whole, the patron who, though perhaps he only partly understood him, loved him best, who showed him most kindness, and showered most favours on him, was, and I say it with pride, our own Francis I., a man who was great in heart, and great in his generous desires, at all events, if he failed in political judgment and consistency. The red chalk drawing in the Turin Library is a most invaluable document, showing how great an amount of intellectual vigour still stirred in the old man's brain at the period when such liberal and truly royal hospitality was extended to him, in our native country.
Michelet, who has written such delightful pages on the subject of Leonardo, tells us that he formed no pupils. Nothing could be more misleading than this statement. No master, whether in close contact or at a distance, ever exercised a more energetic influence. His theoretical works were certainly prepared for the use of his disciples, and not for his own; for what need had he to formulate the results of his lengthened experience?
In the case of such an initiator as Leonardo, who began so much and completed so little, the study of his pupils' work presents features of peculiar interest; for at every turn we come upon a development of some one of the master's ideas, the reflection, the echo of something which had been to him no more than an intention, the blossoming of some germ of his procreation.
The pupils directly formed by Leonardo were numerous ]: Salai, Melzi, Boltraffio, Marco d'Oggiono, Giampietrino,—perhaps, too, Francesco Napoletano. Still more numerous are those who drew their
inspiration from him, more or less consistently and continuously:
1 See ante, p. 225.—Cf. Passavant, Kunstblatt, 1838, pp. 277, 279, 282, 283, 290, 291, 294-296, 30r, 302, 307, $o%.—L'ffistoire de I'Art pendant la Renaissance, vol. iii. In the Archivio storico deJP Arti of 1897, fasc. i. I published a study, tracing the influence of Leonardo on the Florentine school, on Raphael, on Diirer, on Holbein, and on the Flemish school. I must refer my readers to this study, which want of space prevents me from reproducing here.
VOL. II. H II