Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago. He left only 20 paintings and to remember a little part of his work, I want to share his look on feminity.
The Italian genius, Leonardo da Vinci, spent his days studying human anatomy, astrology, the nature of water, architecture, and every aspect of life that made him part of the “all-rounded” Renaissance characters.
In painting, he had a specific vision of how women should be portrayed. Despite the common style of capturing female images at the time, da Vinci focused on personality and psychological characteristics rather than shallow appearance.
He used to apply his anatomical knowledge into painting and also added symbols to express values based on his research. For instance, ‘Lady with an Ermine’ portraits a young humble lady with an animal that represents purity. According to Leonardo, “an ermine eats only once a day and prefers to be hunted than be hiding in a dirty burrow”.
The depiction of clothes is also very interesting. It is believed that Cecilia Gallerani is the woman presented in ‘Lady with an Ermine’, where she’s wearing the typical blue ‘gamurra’ or ‘robone’, she is holding it by one shoulder. Underneath, the puff parts of the white shirt come out, and delicate cords tie the red sleeves as ornamental ribbons.
This period was also the jewelry century, not only for people but also for clothing. Golden nets with precious stones used to hold hairstyles as fashionable accessories that are soberly shown in this specific da Vinci’s painting.
He made a ‘Treatise on Painting’ where he stated that:
To fully grasp the beauty of their face (women), you must not mark any muscles with a hardness of line, but let the soft light glide upon them, and terminate imperceptibly in delightful shadows: from this will arise grace and beauty to the face. Leave off affected curls and hairstyles or you will end up like those who have always as their adviser the mirror and the comb, while the wind, as it tosses and tangles their smartly dressed hair, is their greatest enemy. Depict hair which an imaginary wind causes to play about youthful faces, and adorn heads you paint with curling locks of various kinds.
What’s your da Vinci’s favorite painting or works inspired by him? Share the love with your friends.