LEONARDO DA VINCI 1452-1519 Italian School of Florence
ALBRECHT DÜRER 1471-1528 German School of Nuremberg
HOW instantly these two masterpieces, Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks and Dürer's Adoration of the Magi, seize our attention; yet how differently each claims our interest! In a general way, the difference consists in this, that the one is full of mystery, the other of clear statement. Leonardo has imagined a scene which appeals to our own imagination; Dürer has invented one that delights our understanding. The former's is a dream-picture, the latter's a wonderfully natural representation of an actual incident. In a word, while Dürer has tried to make everything plain to our eyes and understanding, Leonardo has used all his effort to make us forget the facts and realize the spirit that is embodied in them.
This contrast would alone make it worth while to compare the two pictures; but there are other reasons. These two men were contemporaries: Dürer, the greatest of German artists, most representative of the Teutonic mind; Leonardo, the most remarkable example of the intellect and imagination of the Italian Renaissance. It has been said of him that "he is the most thoughtful