Da Vinci – Il Genio, PART I


Portrait of Leonardo by Melzi

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci. Ladies get excited.Correct me if I’m wrong but I’ve heard that Italian men are the best lovers. The Italian Renaissance man was born April 15, 1452. His birthplace lies outside the small town of Vinci in the Italian region of Tuscany, Italy. I guess it is true then that all good things do come from Tuscany: friends, food, wine, beauty, Leonardo…

We all know Leonardo because of his beloved painting The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but what some of you may not know is that he also created the first ever conception of the flying machines (i.e. parachute and air balloon). See Leonardo believed that people could learn how to fly like birds. Sounds pazzo (crazy)right?! Talking about all things looney Da Vinci reminds me a bit about the Spanish romantic painter Goya {short for, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes} who lived through the 17 and 1800s. After Goya suffered through a physical and mental breakdown his paintings undertook a darker, more sinister subject matter. Everyone thought Goya had lost his marbles especially after he painted Yard with Lunatics (c.1794). He later made the painting Saturn devouring his sons (c.1819-1823) which is a rendition of a Greek myth about the Titan god Kronos of whom fearing the prophecy that he would be overthrown by one of his children, ate each one upon their birth. If you don’t know even the slightest bit about the myth go check out the movie Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013). The painting is not a painting for the fainthearted; it exhibits a sense of cannibalistic savagery and raises questions as to what was going through Goya’s mind when he painted the artwork. Paintings such as this remind me of the stories we used to tell each other when we were young about things that go bump bump in the night.

Anyway back to Da Vinci. He was, and is, famously known primarily as a painter but actually the Italian was a mastermind in diverse fields of the arts and sciences. He was a polymath, a painter, a sculptor, an engineer, an inventor, a writer, an anatomist, a botanist and a mathematician. Hmmm I believe the man ought to be dubbed Lord of the Arts or something after all he has contributed to society. Don’t you think?!

I had the privilege of attending the once in a life time Da Vinci – After Dark exhibition at the Chavonnes Battery Museum,  Clock Tower Square | V&A Waterfront. And oh what a wonder it was! The thing with me is that I am in a committed relationship with wine, cheese, food and the arts—in that particular order. The After dark exhibit was more of a special exhibition (hosted in the evening) where one could relish in a range of grade A wines from Groot Constantia, indulge in some very palatable cheeses and pairings, and learn about the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci as one leisurely walks around exhibition. Da Vinci – After Dark is an adults-only evening which is an ideal option for you and your partner to have a date night or to gather up some friends for an unforgettable night out. The evening charge was R200 per person rate, which includes entry to the exhibition, an audio guide, as well as the wine and cheese. Understand now why I didn’t mind popping out the R200 without even thinking twice about it. As I walked into the exhibition I was greeted by the portrait of Leonardo da Vinci made by Francesco Melzi (c.1510) and I had my moment to pay homage to the Italian artist.

Trust me when I say I got so emotional at the end of the evening that I just had to take a cab home. I don’t know if it was the wine or the artworks or an amalgam of both. And just like the other guests I found myself asking on my way home, how one man could possibly have fathomed and created such an array of remarkable Renaissance artworks as well as brought to life some of the unthinkable scientific inventions that we see today as normal items.

P.S. Be sure to check out part 2 and 3, to find out more about Da Vinci- The Genius.

The Vitruvian Man (c.1940) by Leonardo Da Vinci.  Pen and ink with wash over metalpoint on paper.  34.4 cm × 25.5 cm (13.5 in × 10.0)
The Vitruvian Man (c.1940) by Leonardo Da Vinci. Pen and ink with wash over metalpoint on paper. 34.4 cm × 25.5 cm
La Dama con l'Ermellino Lady with an Ermine (c.1489–90) by Leonardo da Vinci. Oil on wood panel. 54 cm × 39 cm.
La Dama con l’Ermellino
Lady with an Ermine (c. 1489–90) by Leonardo da Vinci.
Oil on wood panel.
54 cm × 39 cm.

Author: The Grubby Eater

just a basic girl who loves food..

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