Friday, December 22, 2006

Painting surpasses all human works...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Painting surpasses all human works by the subtle considerations belonging to it. The eye, which is called the window of the soul, is the principle means by which the central sense can most completely and abundantly appreciate the infinite works of nature and the ear is the second, which acquires dignity by hearing of the things the eye has seen. If you, historians or poets or mathematicians had not seen things with your eyes you could not report of them in writing. And if you, O poet, tell a story with your pen, the painter with his brush can tell it more easily, with simpler completeness and less tedious to be understood. And if you call painting dumb poetry, the painter may call poetry blind painting. Now which is the worse defect? To be blind or dumb? Though the poet is as free as the painter in the invention of his fictions they are not so satisfactory to men as painting; for, though poetry is able to describe forms, actions and places in words, the painter deals with the actual similitude of the forms, in order to represent them. Now tell me which is nearer to the actual man; the name of man or the image of man. The name of man differs in different countries, but his form is never changed but by death....though you may be able to tell or write the exact description of forms, the painter can so depict them that they will appear alive, with the shadow and light which show the expression of a face; which you cannot accomplish with the pen though it can be achieved by the brush. -Leonardo da Vinci "from his notebooks".

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