Good ol’ Leonardo lived in the little Italian village of Vinci. That’s why well-read artists never refer to him as “da Vinci”, because it’s like saying “from Vinci painted the Mona Lisa”.
Leo was the most famous “renaissance man”, and to earn that title he had to study all sorts of cutting-edge stuff like human anatomy and aerodynamics. Art was an observation tool, for both the physical and the divine. His work may not have always been scientifically accurate, but hey, he tried. I mean, Leo’s only about twenty years older than Nicolaus Copernicus, that guy who first proposed that Earth wasn’t the center of the universe.
But the guy did pretty well for himself, he got plenty of commissions from the Vatican, and he pretty much revolutionized art and science. His sketches are recognizable around the world. He has conspiracy theories about his body of work (Let me just debunk something now. American Sign Language wasn’t used in 15th century Italy, and that’s not an L anyway, and the hand sign is only in the Louvre version (on the left). Why do they even teach that shit as canon in Art History classes?). But I digress. Leonardo was a true master.
I like Leonardo. I think I first referenced his work in this “Fly Machine” painting I did in my 2D Design class Freshman year (spring 2008, ancient history). Our teacher Leslie wanted us to incorporate biology into a design. We looked at microorganisms and plants under microscopes, and saw dead insects. I was intrigued by the textures of the insects, how there was a whole new level to them when we looked really closely. The process of observation reminded me of Leo’s work, and suddenly I thought of re-engineering a fly’s wings as a sort of pun. I wanted the background to be a kind of parchment-y yellow, and purple complimented it nicely. I was trying to achieve some sort of background effect with the hatch marks – to questionable effect. I was just a young’n.
I wish I hadn’t been so reluctant in High School to learn about Art History. Taking the courses out of order in Community College might not have been effective at first, but it allowed me to sail smoothly through similar courses I took later. I think I impressed my Renaissance Art History professor with my interest and vague knowledge when I studied in Italy, and I eventually, finally “got” modern art (developing a sort of loathing for Art Theoreticians in the process). Now I fangirl over Bernini.
I’ve learned to appreciate the Masters of the Renaissance, and appreciate the way they looked to the “Classics” – Greek and Roman cultures – for inspiration. They learned by copying the highest form of art and improving upon what they saw. It was a sort of historical-cultural anthropology through art. Art movements tend to be a “reaction” to the previous movement, and the Renaissance was a reaction to the Dark Ages.
Boy, the Renaissance was a long movement. Things sure did take a while to happen back then. Much faster now, it’s all just evolution. I’ve been trying to figure out what the current art movement is. It seems to be there was Pop Surrealism, which gave way to Stuckism – neither of which I like very much. I’ve been trying to come up with my own genre, since I don’t fit into either of those. I’ve been calling myself a Punk Surrealist, for multiple reasons, but the other day I came up with a new name for the movement I’ve been creating art in: Meta-Renaissance.
It’s the Renaissance of the Renaissance, get it? The Rebirth of the Rebirth. I get a decent amount of source material from Renaissance art, Romanticism, Surrealism and Dada. I think society needs an overhaul in how they see the world. That yes, there is a duality, but each side coexists with the other. That’s what Connected Bodies are about. It’s taken me a while to articulate this. I still don’t know where I’m going with Meta-Renaissance, but I want it to gain ground over Punk Surrealism, because I think I can work that angle better.