The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci

The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci

The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci

The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci

Excerpt

Among unforgettable memories is that of a vista which once met my eyes while walking among the foothills of the Piedmontese Alps. We had struck westward from Gressoney St. Jean towards Chatillon, and the path beyond Brusson lay through woods until we reached the summit of the Col de Joux and there found ourselves confronted with a spectacle of extraordinary magnificence. It was about six o'clock. The air had the peculiar clearness which precedes sundown. Four thousand feet below lay Chatillon; beyond it, amid the flanking hills, the wide valley which takes its name from the city of Aosta led straight as an arrow to where some forty miles away, dwarfing the surrounding peaks, the mighty mass of Mont Blanc towered in lonely sovereignty, the eternal snows of its summit flushing crimson in the rays of the sun.

I remember how we lingered there reluctant to descend and leave a scene of such grandeur, conscious that although we had spent weeks at its base we had never before seen the mountain in a tithe of its majesty.

Would that it were possible to attain to some eyrie spot of vision, some Pisgah where should stand revealed the alp- like statue of the man whose measure of universality in mental gifts has no equal. Add the world of Shakespeare, called by Coleridge myriad-minded, to that of Bacon and the dualism of endeavour which was Leonardo's would have its parallel.

'But O I talk of things impossible
And cast beyond the moon.'

There are no Pisgah sights! If you would see the vision you must follow him in the infinite toil which preceded achievement. 'Thou O God,' he says, 'dost sell unto us all good things at the price of labour.' Even then the vision is and must be circumscribed, for as genius approaches the universal the more difficult it is for it to be seen except in . . .

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