June 19, 2016

“The Mona Lisa has been irreverently described as ‘the cat that’s eaten the canary: which expresses well enough the smile of one who has attained complete possession of what she loved, and is enjoying the process of absorption. […] Attributes of grace, the smile and the turning movement, become extremely sinister, because they are now indistinguishable from attributes of continuous energy; and these, being beyond human reason, are felt as hostile to human security. Yet just as Leonardo, in his intellectual pursuit of natural forces, hung on with a kind of inspired tenacity, so in the St. John we feel him pressing closer round the form, penetrating further and further into the mystery, till at last he seems to become a part of it, so that, like his contemporaries, we no longer think of him as a scientist, a seeker for measurable truths, but as a magician, a man who, from his close familiarity with the processes of nature, has learnt a disturbing secret of creation. […] It has a quality of inexaustible suggestion only possible in the work of a man to whom the subtlety of natural appearances was perfectly familiar.” ~ K. Clark

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