Kazuru As he grows up out of step with everyone around him, Leonardo must follow his instincts if he is ever to fulfil the vow he makes, to rescue those around him from their ignorance and fear. It is not merely a collection of facts, but provides a deeper understanding of what made that particular person tick. It helps you see how his mind was way ahead of his time and how difficult he found it he rein in his ideas. How could it not be, when the stakes were so high and the interested parties so numerous?

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He likes the Maestro; Andrea understands that his charge finds some things boring, and his manner of instruction is relaxed, far from the days of the teaching stick and the pages of arithmetic. Meanwhile, he works on other things: his notes, and a painting of his own that he has not yet shown to anyone.

Andrea has not made him paint terracotta; has not in fact asked him to paint at all — until now. The great man is working on the altarpiece commission for the church of San Salvi. The background is unfinished. The figures of John the Baptist and Jesus have progressed to painting stage, and Leonardo watches as Andrea and two senior students mix the tempera base together from the usual blend of egg yolk, water and vinegar.

He dislikes painting with tempera. The mix dries too soon, leaving no time for depth, light or shadow; colour comes out flat. Andrea has his back to him, but must have eyes in his head.

He thinks of another landscape, far back in time, distant blue like faroff hills. The water is wrong. He says nothing. Andrea swings round. Come here, closer. He looks at him with approval. He likes the fine features and pensive face. He calculates his age. Goldsmith work, apprenticeship almost done, ready for his first commission and guild. Ten years older than him? Not quite. Steady hand.


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