Arts Everyday Living: Leonardo da Vinci & the Power of the Eye

Click on the works of art to enlarge and enhance them.



Approximately 600 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) have survived, many of them compelling works of art, found today in art museums and libraries such as the British Museum, the Uffizi Gallery, the Louvre, and the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle.  The artist was also a prolific writer, filling hundreds of pages with his thoughts and observations.

In the following blog, I’ve utilized several of Leonardo’s drawings  to illustrate a passage he titled The Painter is Lord of All Types of People and Things.


If the painter wishes to see beauties that charm him it lies in his power to create them,


Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and St. John the Baptist, detail

Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and St. John the Baptist, detail,  c. 1499-1500, charcoal, black and white chalk on paper, National Gallery, London


and if he wishes to see monstrosities that are frightful, buffonish, or ridiculous, or pitiable, he can be lord and God thereof:



Leonardo da Vinci, Study of a Dragon Costume, c. 1517?, medium not identified, Royal Collection. UK




Leonardo da Vinci, A Grotesque Head, c. 1502, chalk on paper, Christ Church, Oxford, UK


and if he wishes to produce inhabited regions or deserts, or dark and shady retreats from the heat, or warm places for cold weather, he can do so.



Leonardo da Vinci, Landscape, c. 1473, pen on paper, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy


 If he wants valleys likewise, if he wants from high mountain tops to unfold a great plain extending down to the seas’s horizon, he is lord to do so;



Leonardo da Vinci,Bird’s Eye View of the Coast, c. 1515, pen, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, UK


and likewise from low plains he wishes to see high mountains……..*



Leonardo da Vinci, Storm Over a Landscape,  c. 1500, red chalk on paper, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, UK


*Excerpt from Inventing Leonardo by A. Richard Turner, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1992/93.


The above images are used solely for educational purposes.







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