Art and Scientific Thought: Historical Studies Towards a Modern Revision of Their Antagonism

By Martin Johnson | Go to book overview

Chapter 18
Sources of Fantasy in a Scientific Mind

The Contrast with Greek Art

At the end of an earlier chapter a fundamental problem arose from contrasts between the strict naturalism and the fantastic in Leonardo's drawings. By using the material subsequently recorded it may now become possible to approach this problem with some hope of a first tentative solution. Why did a lifetime of pilgrimage in pursuit of scientific method entail such a startling outrage upon nature as his grotesque monstrosities, and why did his mind finally dwell upon catastrophe in spite of having experienced its vision of serenity?

Since I have associated his final outlook with that of Greek science, attained initially through Moslem and Italian teachers and later by first-hand acquaintance, the possibility cannot be omitted that the most puzzling of his drawings are due to some influence of Greek art. But quite a brief consideration is sufficient to prove this inadequate. The serene and the bestial and the tempestuous in his drawings are all foreign to Greek aesthethic principles. The Greeks did not etherialise their women, and even the decadence of post-classical sculpture never permitted the intrusion of anything like his intensity of strained effort and maniac horror, while cosmic subjects are relatively unknown in Greek art. It is true that gracefulness can be characteristically Greek, but in human form and not in the animal shapes so common with Leonardo. Serenity can also be Greek, but is pre-Alexandrian and belongs to an era with which Leonardo was not so acquainted. Hellenic, not Hellenistic, serenity was unselfconscious and did not carry such disturbing suggestion of mystery when it characterised the age of Pericles. In fact the serenity of Greek art is essentially reposeful, at the opposite extreme from the intense spirituality of Leonardo's expressions which sometimes even suggest the ecstasy of martyrdom.

Even where Greek artistic affinities are discoverable they must be ascribed to the natural evolution in him of similar character. rather than considered as learnt from any classical model. He was only rarely acquainted with the art of the Greeks, in spite of so

-172-

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Art and Scientific Thought: Historical Studies Towards a Modern Revision of Their Antagonism
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen
/ 202

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    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.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.