What is fair in men passes and does not last. (Da Vinci Notebooks 257)
In this essay I’ll convey and discuss the biography of the Italian genius Leonardo Da Vinci, basing myself on the bestselling biography Leonardo Da Vinci, The Flights of the Mind by Charles Nicholl. After briefly summarizing the genius’ biography, I’ll focus my attention on the painting Virgin with the Child and Saint Anne, from which I will take the cue for analyzing the painter’s particular relationship with the key figure of the mother and the woman in a more broad-spectrum.
Charles Nicholl’s major attempt in his book is to delineate all the passages regarding Leonardo’s life, clarifying some critical and controversial aspects belonging to it. To do so, Nicholl based his research on the work of Giorgio Vasari, the art historian who wrote the biographies of various Italian artists, and on many other literary and historical sources.
Leonardo was born on the 15th April 1452 in Vinci, a little village “slow, provincial agrarian; the countryside came right up to your windows”(Nicholl 17). The Da Vinci were respected people, a family of notaries. Leonardo was the illegitimate son of Ser Piero and Caterina, a poor countryside girl. For this reason Leonardo’s father couldn’t marry…show more content… Anne we can clearly see the representation of Leonardo’s relationship with his two mothers. The smiles on the women’s face are emblematic: they can be seen as sweet and tender, but also in a sinister way. Pater asserts that “this half sinister smile had haunted Leonardo all his life” (Gordon, Orgel 321). The word sinister is used in this case to explain a feeling belonging to almost all mothers: loving the children at the point of unconsciously undercutting their life. As we know, Leonardo had spent his first years with the mother Caterina before moving with his father, so we can assume that she covered both the roles of mother and father in a very delicate phase of the child’s