Today’s Tease: Da Vinci Surprises

I always love looking at Donatello’s David but I find I’m ready to spend some time anew gazing upon this because in Toby Lester’s Da Vinci’s Ghost he notes that some scholars believe that Donatello’s model for the statue may have been a young Da Vinci himself. This means means we have to go look at the statue again and wonder if that long hair was Leo’s life-long trade mark. Well, and if we have a chance to see the young Da Vinci body. The timing seems to work out: Da Vinci arrives in Florence when he is fourteen and is apprenticed to Verrocchio who, the thinking goes, may have had the 14 year old Da Vinci pose for Donatello.

I’m assuming nothing can be definitively proven because if so Lester’s statement would be made with more certainty. And, perhaps those of us who love this possibility are desperate 21st century folk hoping to find Da Vinci where we can to anchor our vague perceptions of him on something more tangible. Still, I love the fact that there’s an idea that’s making me see this statue with new eyes (even if ones easily seduced by only a Da Vinci theory).

Here’s a web site that lets you see Donatello’s David front and back.

Lester also cites Vasari’s work (which as we know might be equal parts truth and equal parts Vasari’s deification of his subjects) which notes that Da Vinci was a vegetarian “who would buy caged birds just for the joy of setting them free.”


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