Cracking the da Vinci code

Archaeologist, historian, Professor, specialist in Russian and Byzantine art Oleg Ulyanov told by Maria Bachinina about Leonardo da Vinci, his quest for divine romance and the mystery of the “Mona Lisa”.

M. B.: our guest is the man who in 1996 worked in the Apostolic library of the Vatican at the invitation of the Confessor of Pope John Paul II. Hello!

O. W.: Good evening!

M. B.: I’m a little cheeky today said subject, because we have less than 60 minutes — the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci. I was even a little scary, because I have today after training to this program feeling that I was a contemporary of this genius. I immersed myself completely in this amount of information. How You got in contact with Leonardo da Vinci, while in the Vatican? You have available those things that we, mere mortals, in museums even unavailable.

O. W.: it was Not the specific purpose to study the work of Leonardo in Rome. But when you work in the Vatican archives with the Greek manuscripts and in-situ study of early Christian catacombs unexpectedly managed to get on the oldest image of the virgin Mary, which became the basis for the famous work of Leonardo’s “Madonna Litta”, which is stored in our Hermitage. In the Vatican there is only one job — “Blessed Jerome”.

M. B.: And then unfinished.

O. W.: it’s Not that unfinished, she has a very difficult fate. This is partly due to the painting technique of Leonardo is the painting began to disintegrate before he managed to save them. Yes, and contemporaries were not so inquisitive and interested in the preservation of works. We know that “Zvenigorodsky Savior” Rublev found in a woodshed, here are also found a picture of “St Jerome”.

M. B.: it’s hard for Me to understand.

O. U.: We all find it difficult to understand. Thank God that these masterpieces are preserved. And here it is in the study of early Christian catacombs, located in the far distance…

M. B.: It is not under St. Paul’s Cathedral?

O. W.: No, it’s the catacombs extra urbis, as they were called. I will remind that in the era of Leonardo humanists preferred the walk, even had such an ideology of intellectual life — extra urbis. Byzantine humanist preached that for such contemplation, for spiritual enrichment is more useful still, long walks and life outside the city. In the painting “St Jerome” by Leonardo, too, captures this idea — blessed Jerome is sitting, holding in his hand a stone thrown as a symbol of life, and the evil Jerome fixed on the far corner of the painting, where in the future we see the city. Leonardo sought to meet the fashion of the time and also preferred this kind of life, and explored all the surroundings of the Vatican. Rather, in the scope of his interests and then entered the catacombs. Now in all textbooks write that the catacombs were discovered in 1578, but experts do know that the first catacombs were discovered when Leonardo and they entered the sphere of interests of the humanists. This discovery was made by the founder of the Roman Academy of Pomponii Years, he while walking came across the catacombs of San Callisto, it was in 1475.

M. B.: You mentioned that Leonardo was in line with the fashion. But in the Renaissance was in a fashion iconic. Can a few words about it? After all, “the mystery of Leonardo” is a phrase that has already become a stamp. The signification plays the first role.

O. W.: part of it may be provoked Leonardo himself. Each of our contemporary Leonardo sees from their point of view, someone he was closer as an artist to someone as an inventor. He is considered to be the pioneer of all the technical innovations.

M. B.: I Have a couple of sheets of his inventions.

O. W.: let’s be respectful to the Leonardo and inform listeners, as he preferred to be called he. Not the first artist and engineer as he is titled in the deed, which gave him the French king Francis I. He called himself “the inventor of works, judgments, ideas,” not a painter or an engineer. We should use the vocabulary of the time. The invention is in fact the discovery of the plot and its correct development. We can say that Leonardo is your colleague, he develops the plot.

M. B.: It makes news.

O. W.: Yes, absolutely. Leonardo believed that indeed the dignity and originality of each thinker are that he independently seeks and finds his own plots and develops them. Moreover, Leonardo claimed that, if you know how to report it, then you think correctly.

M. B.: Many say that this is the genius of Leonardo — he’s not just flawlessly and wrote and invented, but tried to begin to comprehend the essence of what I do. After all, there is a legend that during the work on the painting “the last supper” he was interested in in the first place flight of the Bumble bees and I spent a lot of time on such insignificant things. Here it is possible and perfectionism drag. How do know all this? From his diaries?

O. U.: of Course, we can talk about Leonardo as the founder of the epistolary genre, because it really is his written legacy is extensive and immensely. It is approximately 7000 sheets, 120 notebooks, and not all of them really collected. Some of the codes and treatises published, of course, not the author’s intention, his followers could all imagine. Leonardo did unique sketches from everyday life because of their inquisitive nature. He believed that nature is our mother and we should learn from it, because it has innumerable forms and the likes. Leonardo believed that the way of thinking of the painter trace with the divine. In the modern sense of this matrix.

M. B.: So, he likened himself to God?

O. W.: No, not at all. On the contrary, he believed that his creations are created in the divine image and likeness. Moreover, here again there is encryption, understandable to specialists. Those same terms mean in the theology of the body and blood of Christ. The same thing happens in the work of the painter, it is no coincidence that the notebook indicates that the innermost shrines are under the precious cover. And when the veil breaks, people drop to their knees and begging myself lost health or hope for a better life, because in these paintings, according to Leonardo, the best way is embodied divine plan.

M. B.: You mentioned diaries. Many people are surprised at the nature of the statements in mirroring, but the most surprising is that in his diary of master addressed himself only to “you”: “tell it to show you”, “You need to show in your essay”, “tell it to do two travel bags”. I wonder psychiatrists have studied it? Because his works were studied even the doctors.

O. U.: From a medical point of view not the best role played by psychiatrists, starting with the work of Freud, “Consciousness and the unconscious” in 1906. Then came the first myth that is associated with the unconscious attraction of Leonardo da Vinci to the same sex. Therefore, I urge all assumed that was preferred by Leonardo da Vinci. Contemporaries described him as proportionally well-folded person with a pleasant facial features, with cascading hair…

M. B.: I can quote Vasari, “In his whole appearance there was such a radiance of beauty that it would make any sad soul brightened”. In General, about Leonardo say that he was handsome, well-built, beautifully sang, played.

Many researchers argue that a man can not even seven spans in a forehead to be a brilliant engineer, sculptor, painter, architect, designer, inventor, mechanic, chemist, linguist, visionary, singer, instrumentalist and composer. Something can be deleted from this list?

O. U.: I can Imagine how he was interested himself? He had the postulate that the one who wants to be a Creator, must lead a lonely life, in order to more clearly understand what you have called the Creator. Indeed, according to contemporaries, conformed to the Greek ideal — it was all perfect, both inwardly and outwardly.

M. B.: But where did he come from? I can not believe it, because besides that he was handsome, but also brilliant in a huge list of things. I think this may not be true.

O. U.: of Course, nature is so generously bestowed upon the one who was called to serve her immensely. I find that different aspects of his life were forced, it is not due to the fact that he gravitated really. It was something that required time, the whim of his patrons.

M. B.: Employers.

O. W.: Yes. He was not so free man. Take his notebook — we are talking about a beautiful way of thinking, but they’re all interspersed with laborious calculations of daily expenses. And the courts, which had been half-brothers? He was a bastard, the family had 12 children, and the rest of his life he led a lawsuit.

M. B.: But his father managed to legalize it before the adoption of the law against illegitimate. His mother was an ordinary peasant woman, his father is a well — known notary. At a young age, Leonardo was sent to study painting. The father then had two wives, the families were childless, and the latter gave birth to 9 children.

O. U.: a Total of 12 children was my father. Back to your question about why Leonardo turned to his “you”, I can say that it was based on Leonardo’s representation that all in the person all should be fine. You meet at the radio with different guests, you always wonder what is behind their appearance that conceals one or the other person. According to Leonardo, it was possible to tell by how a person looks externally. On these signs you can understand how the soul controls this body. And when referring to “you” was a conversation of the soul with the body.

M. B.: Oh, so it’s not a split personality?

O. W.: in Any case. This is his position in life, which helped him to be so generous and rich in every kind of work. We are also very interested in achievements of Russian literature — the psychological novel, inner dialogues of the same Raskolnikov. This all goes back to the disclosure of the identity, which we showed Leonardo.

M. B.: And he was conscious that he shows it to someone? He suspected that his diaries will be read?

O. U.: of Course, he wasn’t planning on such haphazard publishing, but led the elaborate sketches, observations and appeals to painters.

M. B.: But this is a treatise on painting.

O. W.: He did not write treatises, Maria. What is now framed as treatises, was his notebook.

M. B.: Sorry, I thought otherwise.

O. W.: In the opinion of his contemporaries, he was not an intellectual, he in their eyes was a fool. As an intellectual and elite of that time was well-versed in scholasticism, in Roman theology, one who has built his entire speech on dogma, quoting. And since Leonardo in his work, always looking for new, he couldn’t repeat back a particular item that was found in other painters. You as a person must find something different, new. In communication, Leonardo had the same thing happen to it even in his notebooks did not seek to meet the intellectual manner of his time. Although in ordinary conversation he was a great conversationalist with a rich, expressive speech.

M. B.: it is said that he was impenetrable, always in an even mood. He was never exposed to the emotional side of the human spirit.

O. W.: Yes, because he was deep inside himself.

M. B.: is it True that he was very strong with only one arm could bend a horseshoe?

O. W.: It is, of course, one of those legends that are attributed to him. But he perfectly developed both hands.

M. B.: He, by the way, the world’s first registered the man who could write with both hands exactly the same.

W. O.: Recall what the verdict is rendered, Leonardo cardinal of Pope Leo X, who visited him in France. He described the paintings, which were stored in Leonardo, among them was the “Mona Lisa”, “Woman”, written by the order of Julian of Medici, “John the Baptist in his youth”, “St. Anna”. Everything looked great, but then he notices: he suffered a stroke, his right arm was paralyzed, so he’s nothing more you can do. But he kept working because he owned equally with both hands. He wrote with his left hand, from right to left, but not because something was encrypted, as they say, but because it was an inside look — reverse perspective. The way he addressed himself to “you”, was reflected in the letter.

M. B.: It’s an interesting philosophical thought. Very curious, something to think about. We heard his image, but at a Mature age. Unless it is possible to judge that it was beautiful on the outside?

O. U.: We do not need to interpolate their own idea of beauty, insofar as such bhoopathy gray-haired old man can be beautiful.

M. B.: I’m not talking about the old man, and about man at the age, about the portrait, where he is in costume.

O. U.: We should talk more about internal, psychological beauty, although the fact that he was attractive in appearance, is a point of view of all his contemporaries.

M. B.: I can’t touch the personal life of Leonardo, about which so little is known. Know about the scandal during his life in Italy, when it brought a criminal case, to speak in modern language. The case was that he entered into illicit relationship with his disciples. This also added that his favorite pupil, Gian Giacomo, who was with him for 25 years, was his model. Many scientists see this as homosexual orientation suerheroine character. Here still a question mark perepletaetsya sketch “St. John”, on which is written the name of the Salai and depicted the male sexual organ in the excited state. However, the question is, whether it belongs to the brush of Leonardo. I am interested in your point of view about the fact that he is considered a homosexual, and generally about his personal life.

O. U.: we Know that he had a very complicated relationship with Isabella d’este.

M. B.: And what d’este was? It’s — “diva Renaissance”, the patroness of many arts in that era.

O. W.: At that time virtually all of the titans, such as Michelangelo, who competed with da Vinci, were also ladies of the heart. The humanists was made to have a Muse, which protects you and partly because of its beauty and splendor, significance in the eyes of his contemporaries. It was a tribute to the time. As for the rumors, they reach us in an exaggerated scale after the work of Freud, other psychoanalytic examinations of the same picture of the kite. As he wrote, the kite touched his wing as he lay in the cradle, and psychoanalysts have translated it into the language of sexual images. We must look to who writes about it. Freud in his work took a lot of works by Dmitry Merezhkovsky Merezhkovsky and moved on the image of Leonardo’s complicated relationship with his father. To produce it could the atmosphere of the Studio.

M. B.: Yes, freedom…

O. W.: No, men’s Studio. In the Studio Verokko adopted boys, they’re growing up, gaining experience. These were fully closed institutions, such as the ballet school for girls. This is due to the fact that it was impossible to make secrets.

M. B.: A Secret?

W. O.: Yeah, gonna tell the disciples. All who were accepted as students, were required to strictly keep the secret of the shop. We know that Leonardo, too, is postulated. An avalanche of rumors could appear due to the constant male society, starting with a workshop and ending with the Academy. I’d like to remind you that Leonardo was not a theologian, but well enriched Italian spoken language. The researchers of the Italian language admire the aphoristic nature of speech Leonardo, this speech attracted people to him in the Academy. Leonardo was very close to the famous Florentine humanist Marsilio Ficino, who of the Gentiles became a soldier of Christ. After the death of Ficino, his disciples admitted that Leonardo could be the successor to their spiritual leader. So Leonardo created their own Academy.

M. B.: And how old he was when he became an academician?

O. W.: for 47 years, quite any age. But 14 years later he made an even greater spiritual ascent, which few people knows, — he became a novice.

M. B.: In 47 years?

O. W.: No, 14 years later, in 1513.

M. B.: On the territory of which country?

O. W.: In Rome, before moving to France. It was the brotherhood of St. John the Baptist, created by the Florentines. I accidentally quoted the cardinal of Pope Leo X, who mentioned that this is the work of John the Baptist in his youth, and the clergyman who accompanied the Pope said that it was fine. Such a vicious look did not have his contemporaries. He was engaged in this work because John the Baptist was the patron of Florence, his native city.

M. B.: That there is nothing seditious was not in the fact that the student posed for the image so revered Holy?

O. U.: there are many cases when Leonardo drew certain images for his works, starting with “the last supper”, or wrote with their students images of angels. Another thing is that, of course, it was more difficult to work with models from the outside world. Work with women’s model too, required effort, for example, a well-known secret “of the Mona Lisa”.

M. B.: Let’s talk about it. I remember a phrase stating that the “Mona Lisa” so long lived that already chooses who to like, who no. First, I ask you to mention that there are several “Jocond”. Which one is older, which one is it, what beyond?

O. W.: It is among the famous work of Leonardo is not included, because, after all, a lot of efforts have been made to prove ownership of the Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa”, because it was associated with many twists and turns. She now remains an iconic image, an iconic work of Leonardo. Moreover, this work is now in the center of civilizational symbols.

M. B.: why would it prove the affiliation of the brush? Because he did not sign their works, and put some kind of icon?

O. U.: Then was not accepted to sign works the same way as we have in the iconography. For example, writing in the icon represents the sacred act of its consecration. Accordingly, if you sign your name you personalitywise her, you give this image of yourself. It was created by the order, as the same “La Gioconda”. So many problems happened. Then begin the excavation of the cemetery in order to establish anatomic correspondence…

M. B.: I Quote: “anthropologists and geneticists are about to recover and decode the DNA of Leonardo to learn more about the great artist and inventor.” For some reason, is not taken into account that during the religious wars, the grave was plundered. And they say that they want to remove skin cells with some paintings, although the fingerprints on the paintings there. Where that will take anthropologists?

O. U.: The same were made and the prototype of the “Mona Lisa” is Lisa Gherardini.

M. B.: It’s a model.

O. W.: Yes. The wife of the merchant and the customer. Excavations have recently been trying to find her face, to understand how Leonardo was able to recreate the portrait. On this information the part ends.

M. B.: So dug up or not?

O. U.: Unearthed. There was no skull. But no one understands why this is done, which recovered all generation from the same of Lisa Gherardini to the present day.

M. B.: Why?

O. W.: the Question has to do with the “Mona Lisa”, with belonging, with rights. Still unclear, why the “Mona Lisa” appeared in France. In 2006 was the football world Cup, then the Italians defeated France in the final, but they did shouted “Viva l’italia!”?

M. B.: And what were they shouting?

O. W.: “Bring Back Mona Lisa!”

M. B.: I do not understand how it got there, if, before going to France, he left it to his disciples. Or is it true?

O. W.: it is believed that this is so. Vasari confirms that it was indeed Francis. On the other hand, assume that the same Salai inherited it, and conveyed to his sisters, and they already have Francis bought it. There is a hypothesis to explain why the pattern in France. But Italy does not agree, they believe that if we can find heirs, everything will fall into place.

M. B.: Generally, around this picture of so many legends. I read that there were several hundred of fainting in front of this painting. Esoterics like to remember that it sucked power from Leonardo himself and that he started to go South after finished it. British artist cut off his nipples and put them on sale, what inspired this painting. Psychologists self-taught like to say that if the house is kept even reproduction of the “Mona Lisa”, all will be bad.

O. W.: a Barrage of negativity crumbles before the fact that Leonardo himself could not part with this until the end of life and everywhere it carried with him.

M. B.: And why?

O. U.: Leonardo was looking for the inner essence, and the divine in both male and female form. He found it in the Mona Lisa.

M. B.: That is, a mixture of men and women?

O. W.: No, it’s the essence that spoke to him in notebooks. Why I wrote that the “Mona Lisa” just as alive, her mouth open, and she looks at you. After all, the usual model does not look at the viewer, and it looks like “Madonna Litta”.

M. B.: Yes, she’s watching, I saw with my own eyes.

O. W.: it’s his inner gaze. I quote Leonardo: “I had a Chance to write something divine.” Bought one admirer, who has captivated the local and foreign beauty, but in the end conscience won voluptuous sighs”. He did not go with this picture utilitarian, the buyer realized that there really is a divine plan. I will read the poems of Leonardo da Vinci:

Love sublime, when the Union of the two

Before the height of her mind, she fascinated.

Love is low, when a tiny spirit,

And low world of the one who elected her.

Give peace and banish fear

Watch love. But you checked if

Nature wisely keeps on the scales

Love and spirit in lovely balance.

For Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa” was a spiritual companion, it is no longer he spoke to her, and she to him.

M. B.: with regard to the second of the “Mona Lisa”, you can say that she did something similar at first, but proved not the author of da Vinci. There is a legend that at first he drew the first picture, gave it to the customer, and then started to get bored so drew my own.

O. W.: In sketches by Raphael in 1504 there is a sketch of this work, but it is wider, where the edges of two columns. But in 2004, in the Louvre were the specialists who examined the painting and concluded that the picture was not cropped. Such studies do bring us a unique discovery.

Pascal Cotte with a camera took a picture of the painting in 240 megapixels its patented method and came out on the original image that was the basis, most likely.

M. B.: And what was it?

O. U.: the Religious image of women.

M. B.: a Halo was present?

O. U.: Not necessarily.

M. B.: And then what?

O. U.: Sacred image of gospel subjects.

M. B.: That is, first he drew something religious, and then rewrote?

O. W.: He did way more unusual. First, because she wasn’t looking at the viewer, like all models. By the way, no one thought how old she is in this picture.

M. B.: She’s a Mature woman.

O. U.: How much will you give?

M. B.: 40 years on average.

O. U.: He began work in 1506, and she was born June 15, 1479, that is, she was 27 years old in this picture.

M. B.: unfortunately, our program has expired. Was in the Studio Oleg Ulyanov, archaeologist, historian, Professor, specialist in Russian and Byzantine art. Thank you!

O. U.: Thank you for the invitation.

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