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would make use of it in order to commit murder at the bottom of the sea, by destroying vessels and causing them to sink, together with those on board." l
Although he would have nothing to do with esoteric principles, the head of the Milanese Academy had no idea of stripping himself for the benefit of the first comer. We cannot doubt that his curious system of writing, adopted as early as 1473, was intended to protect the invaluable discoveries set down in his note-books against the common herd. He took no less care to prevent unauthorised intrusions into his laboratory. This we know from a letter in which he speaks of one Giovanni, a German, and maker of mirrors, who worked near him in the Vatican; he declares that the said Giovanni continually strolls into his atelier, spying upon him in order to criticise him. A suspicion of this sort was a pardonable weakness in the days when Leonardo lived. No journals then existed in which discoveries could be announced and their paternity proclaimed, no patents and patent offices in which the inventor could be secured against the plagiarist.
Self-centred as he was, Leonardo (to quote Madame Raffalovitch) "was a sower of ideas, but a sower who was not to see the harvest. His writings are like those grains of wheat which, though lying for ages inert in tombs, germinate as soon as they are restored to the conditions required for development. They only came out into the light long after his death. He stored up the fruit of his hard work and study without making any effort to bring them to the knowledge of his contemporaries. Did he think of posterity at all? Did he count upon an appendix, as it were, to an existence so full that it had something of immortality about it? How invaluable for us his manuscripts would have been had he revised, arranged, and annotated them himself! He did not choose to do it! Why? Was it through indifference to glory, through an over lofty ambition, through carelessness, through contempt, through modesty, or simply because he had no time? Whichever it was, fatality or deliberate intention, we cannot tell, and have only to bow resignedly before his tomb. For us the secret of Leonardo is in his works, and there we must seek it. The grave and majestic figure of the master greets us on the threshold of the enchanted world he has created, a world in which grace, more potent than beauty, reigns supreme. In Leonardo's soul the genius of art and the genius of science are fused into an ideal which shares the nature of both." A profound savant and an incomparable creator, he is the only man in the history of our race who has at once penetrated into the most secret hiding-places of truth and evoked visions of the most radiant beauty, who has united the science of Aristotle with the art of Phidias.
1 The works of Leonardo were better known than he thought, as we may gather from the following quotation from Cardan's De Subtilitate (p. 317, edition of 1550). After proclaiming that a painter is at once a philosopher, an architect, and a "dissectionis artifex," Cardan goes on to say: "Argumento est prseclara illa totius humani corporis imitatio, quam jam pluribus ante annis inchoatam a Leonardo Vincio Florentino, et pene absolutam (scimus ?), sed deerat operi tantas artifex ac rerum naturae indagator, quantus est Vessalius." Biondo, whose Eulogy of Painting appeared in 1549, also mentions Leonardo's treatise on anatomy. We know, moreover, that Cellini acquired the treatise on sculpture, painting, and architecture, and that Serlio borrowed it from him and made use of it in his own book on perspective.
The Downfall Of Lodovico Il Woro—Louis Xii. At Milan—Leonardo's Journeys To Mantua And Venice—His Relations With The Marchesa Isabella D'este—He Enters The Service Of C.esar Borgia—He Returns To Florence—The "Saint Anne."
'HO does not know the story of II Moro's miserable end—punishment richly deserved indeed, but merciless in its severity?
On August 31, 1499, on the approach of Louis XII., Lodovico sent his two sons into Germany, together with their tutors, and the Cardinals Ascanio Sforza and Federigo San Severino; at the same time despatching his treasure,—amounting at that moment, without reckoning 150,000 ducats left in the Castle at Milan, to some 240,000 ducats and a huge quantity of pearls—to the realm of his nephew, the Emperor Maximilian.1 He himself left Milan on September 21, to pursue the same road. In the extremity of his despair, and the depth of his degradation, he was inspired, for the second time, with one of those ideas which have earned his name the loathing of every Italian heart. On a former occasion he had called Charles VIII. to his aid against the threatened onslaught of the King of Naples. This time, he attempted to incite the Sultan, the bitterest enemy of Christendom, against Louis XII. and the Venetians. His friend and contemporary, the chronicler Corio, bears witness to the fact.2 Recalled, within a few months, to Milanese territory, owing to
1 Corio, Historia di Milano, p. 978—984. "Ibid,, p. 977—981.
VOL. II V
the dissatisfaction caused there by alien rule,1 Lodovico re-entered his capital in triumph, on February 4, i5oo.2 But before long a fresh invasion by the French imperilled his evanescent power. Betrayed near Novara by the Swiss, the Duke was by them handed over to a pitiless conqueror (April to).3
Up to the present day, every historian has refused, once the curtain has dropped on the closing act of this drama, to cast even a hasty glance upon the former ruler of the Milanese, the patron of Leonardo and Bramante. In their sight he was dead, in the civil sense. The men of his own time, and those who have come later, have been equally inexorable. True it is, that when Lodovico opened a road into his fatherland for a foreign foe, he committed a crime of which no just person can possibly acquit him. But, speaking for myself, I have not found it in my heart to turn thus from a man who rendered such brilliant service to the cause of the beautiful, and called so many masterpieces into existence; I have felt impelled to learn how this understanding, marked by so profound a worship for art, and peopled by such brilliant fancies, was finally laid low.
Information concerning Lodovico's private life during those eight years of slow agony is, alas, but scanty. We only know that the former ruler of Milan was conducted first to Susa, and then to Lyons, escorted by 200 archers of the guard, and several gentlemen. At Lyons "grand nombre de gentilshommes de cheux le Roy luy furent au devant. Le prevost de l'ostel le conduisit tout le long de la grant rue, jucques au chasteau de Pierre Encize, et la fut loge et mys en garde seure. Ce sejour fut illecques quinze jours, durant quel temps, par les seigneurs du grand conseil du roy de plusieurs choses fut interrogue, lequel suppose qu'il leur faict que foue toutesfoys moult sagement parloit." ["A great number of the King's gentlemen came to meet him. The provost conducted him all along the main street to the castle of Pierre Encize, and there he was lodged and put in safe ward. His sojourn there lasted fifteen days, during which time he was questioned on many matters by the lords of the grand council, and though he may have acted right foolishly, he nevertheless spoke right wisely."] From Lyons he was transferred to the Chateau du Lys Sainct George, in Berry, and made over to the charge of a gentleman named Gilbert Bertrand. Four or five years later, Louis XII., with that cruelty characteristic of weak natures, immured his prisoner in the donjon of Loches without even allowing him (this fact was given to Paolo Giovio by an eye-witness) the use of pens and ink—" erepto scribendi solatio."1 There the unhappy man died on May 27, 1508. He was only fifty-seven years of age.
1 The part played at this juncture by Leonardo's friend, Jacopo Andrea (see vol. i., p. 101) is clearly evident. These are the words of the chronicler, Jean d'Auton (Dec. 1499): '' And as it is a hard matter to satisfy the combined appetites of a multitude, the King had no sooner accepted the general will than many considered themselves hardly used; and among others one Messire Jacome Andre'e, varlet de chambre of the Duke Lodovico (whose property the King had confiscated, giving it to his own physician, Maistre The'odore), and another, named Nicholas, barber-surgeon of Milan. These sought out Lodovico in Germany, and made him many fair promises; and Jacome Andre'e affirmed that before fifteen days had passed his hand should be dipped in the blood of his lordship, Jehan Jaques, and he would have compassed his death; and Nicholas, the surgeon, boasted that he would raise the commune of Milan against the French who were lodged there, and go from house to house, persuading and inducing every Milanese to slay his guest, and to kill all they might find at their mercy, giving quarter to none.—(May, 1500.) All the conspirators and authors of this rebellion who could be taken and handed over to justice, suffered the capital sentence, and were publicly executed in the square before the Castle at Milan, among them Jacome Andre'e, Nicholas the surgeon, Messire Louys de Pors, and the Captain de Trectz. Their indictment was made by Messire Michel Riz, doctor, and by the captain of the' city, and their sentence was carried out by the King's lieutenant, the Sire de la Trimoille." (De Maulde's edition, vol. i., pp. 139, 277, 278).
2 The very curious letter in which he describes this ceremony to his sister-in-law, Isabella d'Este, is reproduced by Luzio and Renier (p. 155 —158).
3 It was an Italian resident at the French Court, one Fausto Andrelini, who celebrated the capture of his fellow-countryman in Latin hexameters, De Captivitate Ludovici Splwrcue. (ist edition undated, 2nd edition, Paris, 1505.) See also Carranti's Ludovici Sfor tife Captirilatis, Bologna, 1507.
Spurred by a feeling of compassion, very easily explained with regard to so great a benefactor of the arts, I undertook, some years ago, a journey—I had almost said a pilgrimage—to the keep wherein
1 Monsieur de Maulde la Claviere treats Louis XII.'s supposed severity to his captive as an idle tale. (Chroniques de Louis XII. par Jean cTAuton, vol. i., p. 279, etc.) The learned historian brings forward a series of testimonies tending to prove the conqueror's innocence. Saint-Gelais states that "as regards his person, he was always as well treated as he could have been in his greatest freedom and power." "Humanely treated," says Seyssel. "In a strong castle, where he is still detained, in spacious and honourable captivity," says the Ystore Anthonine. The Milanese historians make no reference to any ill-treatment. (Castellus, Compendium, 6,172, fol. 41 v*.) Prato relates, on the other hand, that at Loches, where Ludovico enjoyed a certain amount of liberty, he corrupted his keeper and escaped in a cart laden with straw, but he lost his way in th e woods and was hunted out and recaptured the next day (1508). Then it was that his captivity was made more severe. He died a natural death on May 27 in that same year. A gentleman in waiting, who had obtained permission to remain with him, P. F. Pontremulo, then returned to Italy, and told his own story concerning the trials endured at Loches.