Last night we attended the film of the Leonardo show that just closed at the National Gallery in London. I had really looked forward to it, not realizing that it would focus exclusively on his painting… he only did fifteen, of which they had gathered nine… applause, applause! After fifteen minutes of watching pedestrians walk back and forth in front of the gallery, accompanied by really loud ersatz renaissance music and multiple choice (grade six project?) questions about Leonardo, we finally got inside the gallery itself. I was less than thrilled!
As most trailers do, this one shows the highlights. All these self-consciously erudite people congratulating themselves and each other and making fatuous comments in 2 minute sound bites! I wanted to learn more about the paintings, the painting process, the context in which they were painted, their history and cultural importance. I wanted more, much more. I even wanted Sister Wendy… at least her gee-whiz gosh-golly enthusiasm was as informative as it was amusing. Seeing the pictures on the large screen was a good idea, but there were too many long shots of small pictures on black walls, and way too few detail shots. And the people were so boring! If I had been watching this on the television at home, I would quite happily have been sewing with the sound muted.
However, the opportunity to see the show, if only on film, prompted me to do some research, which I enjoyed immensely. And among the thing I found on-line are the following sites worth savouring. Tomorrow I will write about the ways modern experts on creativity have built on Leonardo’s ideas, and about one book in particular that I journalled intensively and really cherish.
This newspaper article with its images and explanations of The Lady of the Ermine
And this site will lead you to images of six other very important pictures.