Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Botticelli and Leonardo: different ways of seeing landscapes

St. John on Patmos. 1490. By Sandro Botticelli. Google images
Sandro Botticelli. Agony in the garden. 1500. Google images

Botticelli didn´t paint landscapes but if so, they were as a background where the main frame was acquired by the addition of arches, architecture in general. Even rocks seem to be built by humans. From Au-dela de la peinture, 1936; first published in Cahiers d´Art, Special Issue, 1937, the words by Max Ernst:

Sandro Botticelli. Virgin and the Child enthroned. Google images.
Landscape detail. Sandro Botticelli.

¨Botticelli did not like landscape painting, regarding it as a ¨limited and mediocre kind of investigation.¨He said contemptuously that ¨by throwing a sponge soaked with different colours at a wall one can make a spot in which a beautiful landscape can be seen.¨ This earned him a severe admonition from his colleague Leonardo da Vinci:
¨He (Botticelli) is right: one is bound to see bizarre inventions in such a smudge; I mean that he who will gaze attentively at that spot will see in it human heads, various animals, a battle, rocks, the sea, clouds, thickets, and still more: it is like the tinkling of a bell which makes one hear what one imagines. Although that stain may suggest ideas, it will not teach you to complete any art, and the above mentioned painter (Botticelli) paints very bad landscapes.¨
Reproduced in Surrealism. By Patrick Waldberg.

Arno´s landscape. By Leonardo da Vinci. Google images
A storm over a hilly landscape. Leonardo da Vinci. Google images
Landscape near Pisa. Leonardo da Vinci. Google images

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