Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-1600

By Anthony Blunt | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter II LEONARDO

APART from Michelangelo, Leonardo is the only great painter of the Italian Renaissance who has left in writing any quantity of material dealing with the arts, and we should expect that the opinions and ideas of such a man would throw more light on Renaissance art-theories than all the systematic and philosophical treatises of the laymen who wrote in the sixteenth century. Many of his theories do, of course, give us information about the methods and ideas of the period which we cannot derive from other sources, but the confusion of the surviving manuscripts and the lack of plan in the notes make it impossible to deduce a really coherent theory of the arts from Leonardo's written works.

Leonardo evidently intended to write a full-dress treatise on painting, and, according to Luca Pacioli, some sections of it at least were finished by 1498. If this is so, the parts in question are lost, but many schemes for the general plan of the treatise, not all of them consistent with each other, survive in the existing material. What we actually have left of Leonardo's writing is an enormous mass of notes, mostly jotted on the margins of sketch-books. These notes are either passages which Leonardo copied down from what he read, or original ideas embodying a personal theory or observation.

The datable manuscripts cover a period from 1489 to 1518. The originals are to be found in many public and private libraries, particularly in Paris and at Windsor, and most of them have been published. 1 Even more important, however,

____________________
1
Principally by J. P. Richter in The Literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci, London, 1880-3, and 1939; by C. Ravaisson-Mollien in Les Manuscrits de Léonard de Vinci, Paris, 1881-91; in the edition of the Codex Atlanticus published by the Accademia dei Lincei, Rome, 1884- 1904; and by Beltrami in Il Codice di Leonardo da Vinci nella Biblioteca delPrincipe Trivulzio in Milano

-23-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Artistic Theory in Italy, 1450-1600
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 174

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?