December 26, 2016

[…] “compared by Baudelaire to a “deep and dark mirror”, Leonardo seduces us by his hermeticism, his strangeness.”

“This Leda no more appeals to the delirium of the senses than the Mona Lisa does; it speaks of the obscure mechanism of childbirth, of genetic aberration, of the imperious and primitive surge of life in the depths of the body and the entrails of the earth. Some critics admit to finding the contents of this work terrifying. Looking at it, one senses only too well the transcendence of science: one feels how the painter, in conceiving his picture, had studied the relentless growth of plants, whirlpools of water, and abdomens dissected by flickering candlelight: One grasps above all the fascination, unease, and irrational anguish aroused by the “hideous” idea of procreation and the “great mystery” of woman. … With its idolatrous and tormented naturalism, the painting outraged not so much virtue as Christian reason.”

“His figures are not smiling the smile of inner peace. They are smiling in order to bewitch. … Leonardo sets out to disturb and trouble the emotions. … His subject has ceased to be “a voice crying in the wilderness”. He has reached the ultimate limits of human knowledge; he smiles and points at the source of everything, which amazes him but which is unfathomable.”

~ “Leonardo. The artist and the man”, Serge Bramly.

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