Translated from Annephine van Uchelen in the Netherlands today:
Astonishment, joy and blind anger: it can all be seen on the dozens of sketches of faces made by Leonardo da Vinci. He drew the faces as ‘mirrors of the soul’. And sometimes he also took ‘revenge with the pen’ on those who mocked him because he was ‘different’.
The works can be seen from this Friday on in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, which takes an advance with this exhibition on the international Da Vinci year 2019. It is striking that the Netherlands kicks off and not Italy. While Da Vinci still counts as one of the best export products in the cultural field in his native country.
When Italian merchants of death corporation Finmeccanica, linked to convicted criminal racist mafia crony politician Silvio Berlusconi, was entangled in its umpteenth corruption scandal, these war profiteers whitewashed themselves by changing the corporation name to ‘Leonardo’. The real Leonardo hated money-grabbers.
This exhibition is unique and will not be seen again soon in the Netherlands for the next forty years. …
Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 in Anchiano, near Florence. He is seen as all-rounder: he was, among other things, a visual artist, inventor, architect, philosopher, physicist and chemist.
Someone who has seen Da Vinci’s most famous painting, the lovely Mona Lisa, may have to get used to the sketches. The deformed faces and tronies would not be out of place as illustrations in a horror story: toothless men with sunken mouths and hook noses, curious headgear, beaked mouths and faces expressing blind fury.
“You would like to call Da Vinci the inventor of the caricature, but unfortunately we have never been able to link his work to famous names and people”, says guest curator Michael Kwakkelstein.
“Unique for that time was that he also incorporated emotions, sometimes he went to the city gate to study the faces of tramps and travelers in preparation for his sketches.” …
“He was an illegitimate child“, says Kwakkelstein. “And he was not taken seriously by other scientists, because he did not do university studies and did not know Latin, and he was almost certainly homosexual.”
According to Kwakkelstein, some sketches seem to be a reckoning with his critical fellow men and impatient clients. “He has mocked them by deforming their features.”
The museum did not get Da Vinci’s works without a struggle. Kwakkelstein: “Teylers Museum does not have any Da Vinci sketches in its collection, which is not an easy basis to ask for the already fragile works on loan, let alone from the Royal Collections of Windsor Castle, where most of the sketches come from.”
The fact that the British Queen Elizabeth gave permission has to do with earlier exhibitions by Teylers about the two other Renaissance figures Michelangelo (2005) and Raphael (2012). The Haarlem museum does have a large collection of their work, which is world-famous.
The exhibition can be seen from October 5 in Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Due to the expected crowds, a ticket must be booked online in advance.
An eye disorder may have given Leonardo da Vinci an artistic edge. A neuroscientist offers evidence that the artist had exotropia, in which one eye turns outward. By Amanda B. Keener, 6:00am, October 22, 2018.