The “Treaty of Painting”, by Leonardo Da Vinci- Selected Fragments- Precepts for Creatives, Artists, Painters, Photografers, Illustrators and Designers- notes by Marcel Arellano

Quotations in parentheses and notes by Marcel Arellano.

From the “Preliminary Study”

Leonardo Da Vinci has a curiosity for everything that surrounds him and for his own interior.

For Leonardo, thinking is a creative relationship with objects.

His expertise is this, being able to establish a focused, articulated and relational place from which images and instruments are shed that allow him to continue thinking and increasing his creative and curious authority. Curiosity, from the Latin “cura”, care, presents above all an activity of privileged reader of the footprints in which the world, by that same curiosity now displayed before us as a great spectacle, develops creatively.

In a careful development and concerned about the totality of the forms, forces and images of the world and man in their respect, the forms of expression must be, almost by obligation, multiple. Polimatheia, or multiple disposition for arts and knowledge, technicians and human beings without distinction, appears in Leonardo as the only way in which his works can be developed, since it is not only a limited area of ​​reality that seeks to reflect , but the organized totality of its development.

Our century is based on a different idea, forcing us to modify this point of view, which is similarly appreciated in the Aristotelian assessment: it is not the results that prevail, but the processes that lead to them.

Lying towards humanism, the processes and forms of action that coordinate the totality of human knowledge moved by a thirst for wisdom (curiosity, again and always). The value of a brief sketch, of a careless note, is to describe something that the images do not accommodate.

In his hands, proof of the opposite: his words are inseparable from his work, as much as they are from man, even against the opinion of the reader himself.

We can turn the Leonardo axiom here between the word / image relationship with ease. He says “the painter will do an infinite number of things that words can not even name, because the appropriate words do not exist for them”. The property of words will be, since we use them and since Leonardo uses them at the edges of privileged, clear and clarifying activities, that of illuminating spaces where the image says little or says too much. The word broadens the meaning or reduces the ambiguity.

Let’s put it another way, annotations, sketches, scratches and the so-called minor works or parallel to the main are curiosities, in the strong way that we use the word so far. Media and searches in expansion throughout the territory, jumps out of disciplines, anguish before the limits, loaded with enormous energy, on many occasions, key spaces in these notebooks, essential if we want to see where the author points, to the totality of its vital development. (Marcel: eye identification of the annotations)

Leonardo is one of the greatest examples, to become prophecies, in its literal sense, predictions, things said in advance. From the vision, Leonardo is a visionary, because he not only sees the present naively but also the possibilities it contains. (Marcel: vision)

For the philosopher, production is in turn the process and the result of an activity: our time privileges in part, punctuated by commodification, results and immediacy.

We have already said that part of the idea of ​​a curious inquiry into everything that exists in the world, in its Borgiana or multiple variety, subject to the logic of the presentation of that same variety: “nature is infinitely variable”, such as Leonardo tells us. The unfinished principle from which one starts is that of one’s own experience, in pre-Cartesian form, as a place of certainty that can be found through perceptual experiments. Man reacts to the variety of nature with an equally infinite cumulus of answers, infinite points of view, perspectives that begin to be relativized according to the number of men, the first step of human greatness: “the same action is manifested with a number Infinity of variations, because it can be seen from infinity of different places (…). Therefore, all human action manifests itself in an infinite variety of situations. ”

The experience

Excellent principle: experience as a word leads us to the Greek root peira, test, attempt, risk. More exactly, experience is that which is extracted from the evidence, and, as such, institutes a new tribunal before which the certainties and truths are to be verified by comparison. The experimental practices are opposed to habits, customs and any tradition that does not introduce a critical character in our approach to the data. Hence his evident danger (perî-culum, what is around the experience). The man must be expert, expert, even, related to the same root, pirate, who attacks the truths based on a transmission without judgments before nature and perception; of what we can believe. Possess a paradigm of vision, a set of forms that are significant and from there visible. Leonardo discovers the world through the test of perception, he orders it, through a moral valuation of the free man and willing to change and build it, through an architectural form that starts from the foundations. Experiment: “Thus, in the last chapter on the hand we will do forty demonstrations and we would have to do the same with each member”.

The perception and proportion

The geometric basis that determines Leonardo’s human approach to the image of man is twofold. On the one hand, the determination and categorization of the perspective of space; on the other, the measure of the world applied to one’s body.

Selected fragments

The young person must, before all things, learn the perspective for the correct measure of things. Then he will study copying good drawings, to get used to a correct outline. Then he will learn to draw to the natural one, to see the reason of the things that he learned before; and finally he must see and examine the works of several masters, to acquire ease in practicing what has been learned. (Marcel: 1st perspective, 2nd modeling, 3rd nature and 4th examining (benchmarking))

Take advantage in the imitating sciences of all the figures of the things created by nature. (Marcel: going to nature)

It is evident that the view is the fastest sense of all there is, because only at one point perceives infinite forms, but in understanding it is necessary to take charge of one thing, and then another.

If you want to have an exact news of the forms of all things, you will start with each of the parts that compose them, without going to the second, until you have firmly in memory and in practice the first. Otherwise, either the time will be lost uselessly, or the study will be prolonged. And above all things it is to be noticed that first the diligence on promptness has to be learned.

Precept to the painter

In no way deserves praise the painter who only knows how to do a thing, like a nude, a head, the folds, animals, landscapes or other particular things of this tenor; for there will be no ingenuity so clumsy, that applied to a single thing, practicing it continuously, will not succeed in executing it well. (Marcel: integrity – integral)

In each of them you must stop to study them, and form the rules that you consider, considering the place, the circumstances, the shadows and the lights. (Marcel: consider all the factors).

Study science first, and then the practice that follows from it. (Marcel: first theory and then practice)

The painter must be universal, and lover of loneliness, he must consider what he looks at, and reason with himself, choosing the most excellent parts of all the things he sees. (Marcel: universality and loneliness)

The universal painter’s precept

He who does not like all the things that are contained in the Painting will not be universal; because if you only like landscapes, it is a sign that you only want to be a simple researcher.

How the Painter must be universal

The Painter who wishes to be universal, and to please diverse opinions, will make that in a single composition there are very dark masses, and a lot of sweetness in the shadows; But be careful that the reason and cause of them is well noticed.

Precept to the Painter.

The Painter who in no doubt, will make little progress in art. When the work surpasses the judgment of the executor, it will not advance more this one; but when the trial exceeds the work, it will always improve, unless greed does not prevent it. (Marcel: Power of doubt)

Another precept

First, the painter must exercise good copy drawings, and after this, with the opinion of his teacher, will be engaged in drawing the relief, following exactly the rules that will then be given in the section that deals with this. (Marcel: first the model and then the relief)

Of the correction of the errors that you discover yourself.

The Painter must take care to immediately correct all those errors that he notices. (Marcel: correct in time)

Of the own opinion. (Marcel: Self-deception)

There is nothing that deceives so much as our own opinion when judging our work; and in this case more they take advantage of the critics of the enemies, that the praises of the friends; because these, as they are the same as us, can hallucinate us as much as our own opinion.

Way to stoke the ingenuity to invent.

To warn the invention and similarity of some countries, battles, quick attitudes of figures, strange physiognomies, particular clothes and other infinite things.

Of the continuous study that must be done even at the time of waking up and shortly before going to sleep.

I have experienced that it is very useful, being one in bed in the dark, repairing and considering with the imagination the contours of the forms that were studied during the day, or other remarkable things of delicate speculation, in whose way they are affirmed in the memory the things that have already been understood. (Marcel: nocturnal self-evaluation)

First you have to learn the accuracy that promptness in the execution.

When you want to make a good and useful study, you will draw it slowly first, and then you will see how many and which parts are enjoying the main degrees of light: and in the same way those that are darker than the others; as well as the way they observe the mixing of lights and shadows, and their quality. You will also compare each other, and you will consider to which part the lines are directed, and in them which part is concave and convex, where it is more or less marked, more or less subtle, and finally you will take care that the shadows are joined and undone, as seen in the smoke, and when you have become well accustomed to this exactitude, you will find yourself with practice and ease without noticing it.

(Marcel: 1st design, 2nd study of the material, 3rd study, 4th comparison and care, 5th accuracy)

The Painter must try to hear the opinion of each one.

The painter must never disdain to listen to the opinion of anyone, while drawing or painting; because it is evident that man, although he is not a painter, is aware of man’s forms, and knows when he is hunchbacked, if his leg is too thick, or his hand is very large, if he is lame, or has any other personal defect. And since man can judge the works of nature by himself, how much more will he be able to judge of our errors! (Marcel: market research)

You should always consult the natural one.

He who believes that in his imagination retains all the effects of nature, is deceived; because our memory does not have as much capacity.

Of the variety in the figures

The painter must always be universal, because if some things are good and others wrong, he will still lack much dignity, like some who only study the nude, according to the perfect proportion and symmetry, and do not notice its variety: because it can well a man to be proportionate, and to be at the same time thick, tall, somewhat low, thin or of medium flesh; and so he who does not care in this variety, will always make his figures of stamp, and deserve great rebuke.

(Marcel: in the variety is the taste)

All terrestrial animals have similarity to each other.

Of those who use only the practice without accuracy and without science.

The practice must be based on a good theoretical, to which the Perspective serves as a guide.

No one should imitate another.

A painter must never imitate another man’s way, because then he will be called grandson of nature, not son; since nature being so abundant and varied, it is more proper to go to it directly, than to the Masters who learned from it. (Marcel: do not imitate, be authentic)

From the drawing of the natural.

When you get to draw by the natural, you will place at the distance of three states of the object that you are going to copy; and whenever you start doing some line, you will look at the whole body to notice the direction it keeps with respect to the main line. (Marcel: peripheral vision)

(Marcel: see the unrepeatable)

Observe the painter with great care when drawing, how within the main mass of the shadow there are other shadows almost imperceptible in their darkness and shape, which proves that proposition that says, that the convex surfaces fill so much variety of light and dark, how much is the diversity of light and dark degrees they receive.

(Marcel: external lighting)

What light should be chosen to draw a figure.

Every figure must be placed so that it only receives that light that it must have in the composition that has been invented.

All this, then, must the Painter represent when it supposes the same cause of light and shadow, otherwise the operation would be false.

(Marcel: quality of light)

Quality of light to draw from the natural and the model.

The light cut by the shadow must never be decisively made; and so to avoid this inconvenience, the figures in the field will be faked, but not illuminated by the sun, but assuming some transparent clouds, or celajes interposed between the sun and the object; and thus, not being directly attacked by the solar rays of the figure, their shadows will remain sweet and undone with the clearings.

Of drawing the nude

When you offer to draw a nude, it will always be made whole, and then the members and parts that seem best will be concluded, and they will be agreed with the whole; otherwise the habit of not joining together all the parts of a body will be formed.

(Marcel: first the whole and then the parts)

From the drawing by the model or natural

The one who starts to draw by the model or by the natural one, will be placed so that the eyes of the figure and those of the artist are in a horizontal line, observing well the rules of the Aerial Perspective.

Site where the painter should be in respect to the light and the original that he copies.

Let A be the window; M the point of light: I say, then, that the painter will be well, provided that he puts himself so that his sight is between the illuminated part and the shadow of the body that is going to be copied; and this position will be found between M and the division of shadows and lights that is noticed in said body.

Need to know the inner structure of man. (Marcel: knowledge of the parties)

The painter who is instructed in the nature of the nerves, muscles and bones, will know very well what nerves and what muscles cause or help the movement of a limb: he will also know which muscle is which with its swelling or compression shortens the nerve , and which strings are those that become very subtle cartilages wrap and surround such muscle, and never will happen to many, who always draw in the same way, even in different attitudes and postures, the arms, legs, chest, backs, etc.

Painter’s Defect

One of the painter’s faults will be to repeat in the same painting the same movements and folds of one figure in another, and to make the faces look similar.

(Marcel: repetition of work)

Warning so that the Painter does not deceive himself when drawing a dressed figure. (Marcel: beauty and proportion)

In this case the Painter must draw the figure by the rule of the true and beautiful proportion. In addition to this you must measure yourself. […] From here it is born that there is no woman, however ugly, that does not find a lover, unless it is monstrous: and thus the care in this must be great.

Defect of the Painter who makes at home the study of a figure with certain light, and then places it in the field under open light.

Great is undoubtedly the error of those painters, who having made the study of a figure by a model with particular light, paint it then placing it in the field, where there is the universal light of the air, which embraces and illuminates all the they look the same way: and in this way they make dark shadows where there can be no shadow; because if there is one, it is so clear that it is barely noticeable; and they also make reflections where there can not be any. (Marcel: congruence with the place and the situation)

From Painting and its division

Divide the painting into two main parts: the first is the figure, that is, the lineaments that determine the figure of the bodies and their parts; and the second is the coloring that is within those terms. (Marcel: first figure, and second is the color)

(Marcel: proportion of parts and movement)

Of the figure and its division

The figure is also divided into two parts, which are the proportion of the parts to each other, which must correspond to the whole equally; and the movement appropriate to the mental accident of the living thing that moves.

Proportion of members

The proportion of the members is divided into two other parts, which are equality and movement. Equality is understood, in addition to the symmetry that must have respective to the whole, not to mix in the same individual members of old with those of young, or thick with thin, or light and gallant with clumsy and heavy […]. Likewise, the attitudes or movements of an old man should not be represented with the same vividness and promptness as those of a young man, nor those of a woman like those of a man.

(Marcel: proportion between equality and movement)

Everything trimmed and decided should be avoided.

The outline of the figure should not be of a different color than the field where it is placed; I mean, that you should not perceive a dark profile between the figure and the field.

(Marcel: congruence)

Cause of not looking like painted things as relieved as natural ones.

Painters often despair of their ability to imitate nature, seeing that their paintings do not have that relief and vividness that have the things that are seen in a mirror.

It is impossible for a painted thing to appear to the eye with so much bulk and relief, that it is the same as if you look in a mirror like this one does not look with just one eye. The reason is, because as the two eyes see one object after another, like A B, they see M N; the object M can never occupy all the space of N, because the base of the visual lines is so long, that it sees the body second after the first. But in closing one eye, as in S, the body F occupied the space of R; because the visual then is born from a single point, and makes its base in the first body; therefore being the second of equal magnitude and can not be seen.

What is most useful and ingenious, the chiaroscuro or the outline?

The exact contour of the figure requires much greater discourse and ingenuity than chiaroscuro; because the lineamentos of the members that do not bend, never alter their form, and always appear in the same way; but the site, quality and quantity of the shadows are infinite.

(Marcel: infinite possibilities)

Notes that must be taken from a good author.

It is necessary to have targeted the muscles and nerves that the human figure discovers or hides in such and such movements, as well as those that never manifest, and keep in mind that it is what must be observed with great attention when studying several works of many painters and sculptors who made a particular profession of Anatomy in them. The same point will be made in a child, continuing through all the grades of his age until decrepitude; and in all of them the mutations that the members and joints receive, which fatten and which get thinner will be noted.

(Marcel: take notes of everything)

Precept of Painting

The Painter must always look for promptness in those natural actions that man suddenly takes, originating from the first impulse of the affections that then agitate him: of these he will make a brief point, and then he will study them slowly, always having the natural in front of him. posture, to see the quality and forms of the members that have more part in it.

(Marcel: studying human essence)

How children should be drawn.

Children should draw with attitudes that are quick and alive, but careless when seated; and when they are standing they must be represented with some shyness in the action.

How the elders should be painted.

The old ones will appear with slow and lazy movements, bent the knees when they are stopped, the right feet, and something distant between them: the body will become also inclined, and much more the head, and the arms not very extended.

How the old ones should be painted.

The old ones will represent themselves daring and prompt, with impetuous movements (almost like those of the infernal furies); but with more vividness in the arms than in the legs.

How women will be drawn.

Women will always represent themselves with shameful attitudes, together with their legs, arms raised, head down, and turned to the side.

How should one night be shown?

Everything that is entirely without light is completely dark.

How a sea storm should be painted. (Marcel: effects that are caused)

To vividly represent a storm, one must first consider the effects it causes, when the wind blows violently over the surface of the sea or the earth, it moves and carries with it everything that is not firmly united with the universal mass. To figure, then, the storm will become the broken clouds, directed all towards the part of the wind, with dust from the sandy shores of the sea; leaves and branches lifted by the air, and in this way many other light things that equally snatches them. The branches of the trees inclined and twisted violently following the course of the wind, rotting and disturbed the leaves, and the grass almost lying on the ground with the same direction; some people will be painted fallen on earth wrapped in their own clothes, disfigured with dust; others embraced to the trees to be able to resist the fury of the wind, and others inclined to the earth, put the hand in the eyes to defend them of the dust; and the hair and dress taking the wind. The restless and stormy sea will become full of foams between the high waves, and above it will be seen as a mist of foamy particles that snatches the air. The ships will be some with the sails broken, waving the pieces; others broken the sticks, and others open entirely to the fury of the waves, with the broken rigging, and the sailors embraced with some boards, as if they were screaming. Impelled clouds will also be made of the force of the wind against the top of some rock, which make the same eddies as when the waves crash in the rocks. Finally, the light of the air will be represented dark and frightful with the thick clouds of the storm and those that form the dust that the wind raises.

The large and elevated objects that are represented in very distant terms, will make their lower part somewhat confused, because they are looked at by a line that has to cross through thicker air; but the upper part, although it is seen by another line, which also crosses in the vicinity of the view by the thick air, as the rest walks by subtle and transparent air, will appear with greater distinction. […] When painting mountains, care must be taken that as their tips and boulders rise, they become more clear and distinct than their skirts; and the same gradation of light will be observed when several of them are painted distant from each other, whose peaks the higher they are, the more variety they will have in form and color.

Way to make the figures stand out a lot.

The figures will look much more relieved and highlighted from their respective field, as long as it has a certain chiaroscuro, with as much variety as possible towards the contours of the figure, as will be demonstrated in its place: always observing the degradation of light in the of course, and that of the shadows in the dark

Of things concluded and confused

Completed and defined objects must be close; and the confused and undone very far.

Of the reverberations

The reverberations are produced by bodies that are very clear, and whose surface is flat and semi-dense, in which, by hurting the sun’s rays, it sends them off again, in the same way that the shovel throws the ball that it gives into it.

(Marcel: contrast)

Contrasting things that have different degrees of shadow, the less dark makes the other look dark; and among the enlightened things the lighter one makes the other look dark.

Way of learning to compose the figures of a story. (Marcel: human behavior)

Observing in all occasions and places with retentive the casual placement and movement of men, when they speak, when they dispute, when they quarrel or when they laugh; will notice the attitudes they take at that moment, those of those who are at their side, or those who are going to separate them, and those who are looking at them.

(Marcel: keep distance and proportion)

The first figure that has to be placed in a historiated picture must be so many times smaller than the natural one in the number of fathoms of distance that are assumed from the point in which it is on the first line of the painting; and then continue with the others under this same rule maintaining the proportion of their distance.

(Marcel: avoid gaps and errors)

When a single figure is to be painted; One should try to avoid foreshortening, both in parts of it and in the whole, by not exposing oneself to the snub of those who do not understand the beauty of art. But in the stories of many figures will be made whenever it occurs, especially in battles, where there must be foreshortening and extraordinary attitudes among the subjects represented.

In a picture of many figures are men of different complexions, statures, colors and attitudes, some thick, others thin, agile, big, small, fierce, nice face, old, young, nervous, muscular, weak and fleshy , cheerful, melancholy, with short, curly hair, straight and long; some with quick movements, others slow and languid; finally the variety must reign in everything, even in the costumes, their colors, etc .; but always arranged everything to the circumstances of the story.

(Marcel: human variety)

(Marcel: human movement)

From the knowledge of the movements of man

It is necessary to know exactly all the movements of man, starting with the knowledge of the members and the whole, and its various articulations, which will be achieved by briefly pointing out in a few lines the natural attitudes of men in any accidents or circumstances, without let them notice it, for then, distracting themselves from their subject, they will direct the thought towards you and lose the liveliness and intention of the act in which they were.

(Marcel: see different perspectives)

It is to be noticed that the good painter must always observe two very important things, which are man, and his thought in the matter that is going to be represented; which is very important.

(Marcel: variety and multiplicity)

The painter will always try carefully that there is a lot of variety in the historian paintings, avoiding any repetition, so that the diversity and multitude of objects delight the view of those who look at it. It is also necessary for this that in the stories there are figures of different ages with a variety of costumes, mixed with women, children, dogs, horses, buildings, terraces or mountains. Nor should those who are crying with those who laugh be put together; for it is natural that the happy are with the happy, and the sad with the sad.

(Marcel: diversity)

From the diversity that must exist in the semblants

It is a very common defect among the Italian Painters to see in a repeated picture the air and physiognomy of the main subject’s face in some of the many figures that surround it. It is necessary to carefully try not to repeat, either in the whole or in the parts, the figures already painted, and that the faces do not resemble one another. And the more careful you put in placing a picture next to a beautiful an ugly, an old to a young, and a strong and courageous to a weak and faint-hearted, the more pleasant, and so much more beautiful respectively the figures.

(Marcel: contrast and highlight)

If you want a color to contrast nicely with the one next to it, you need to use the same rule observed by the sun’s rays, when they make up the rainbow in the air, whose colors are generated in the movement of the rain, because each drop at the time of falling appears of its respective color.

You will notice that to represent a great darkness, you will place it next to another equal clarity, and the one will appear as gloomy as the other luminous: and so the pale and yellow will make the incarnate look much more lit than if it were next to the purple one. There is also another rule, whose object is not so that the contrasted colors stand out more, but so that they make each other more agreeable, as does the green with the pink color, and on the contrary with the blue.

(Marcel: Transmutation principle)

Many different colors obscured by the same shadow can apparently transmute into the color of the same shadow. The darkness is no more than the deprivation of the incident light and it reflects that it makes us see and distinguish the colors of all the bodies, it follows that, if this light is removed, the knowledge of the colors will be absent and its shadow will be equal.

From the mixture of colors

I call simple colors those that are not composed, nor can they be composed with the mixture of black and white, although these are not counted in the number of colors; because one is darkness and the other light, that is, the one deprivation of light, and the other generation of it. However, I always count on them, because they are the main ones for Painting, which is composed of shadows and lights, which is what is called light and dark. After black and white follows blue and yellow, then green, fawn (that is, dark ocher), and finally purple and red. These are the eight colors that there are in nature, with which I start to make my inks or mixtures.

Which surface supports more colors

The white surface is the one that most admits any color in comparison with all the other surfaces of any body that is not glossy like the mirror.

What is beautiful is not always good; and this I say for those painters who fall in love so much with the beauty of the colors, that they hardly put shade in their paintings. These painters are so flimsy and insensitive that they leave the figure without any relief. This same error is committed by those who speak with elegance and without concepts or sentences.

(Marcel: the good vs. the beautiful)

Of the nature of the oppositions

The black garments make the flesh of human images appear even whiter than they are; and white on the other hand obscure them. The yellow garments highlight the color of the flesh, and the red ones make them pale.

(Marcel: opposites)

What is the blue color of the air

The blue color of the air originates from that part of itself that is illuminated and placed between the upper darkness and the earth. The air itself has no quality of smell, color or taste; but it receives the resemblance of all the things that are placed behind it-, and the more beautiful will be the blue that shows the darker the things behind it, provided there is not a space neither too large nor too humid .

Why white is not color

The white itself is not color, but is able to receive any color. When it is in the open field, all its shadows are blue; and this is because of the fourth proposition that says: the surface of every opaque body participates in the color of its object.

Among the simple colors, the first is white, although philosophers do not admit black and white in the class of colors; because the one is cause of colors, and the other deprivation of them. But as the painter absolutely needs both, we will put them in the number of colors, and according to this we will say that the white is the first of the simple colors, the yellow the second, the green the third, the blue the fourth, the red the fifth, and the black the sixth. White can be used as a substitute for light, without which no color can be seen: yellow for the earth; the green for water; the blue for the air; the red for the fire; and black for the darkness that is on the element of fire; because in it there is no matter where they can hurt the sun’s rays, and therefore illuminate.

Blue and green are not strictly simple colors; because the first consists of light and darkness, like the blue of the air that is composed of a perfect black, and of a very clear white; and the second is composed of a simple and a compound, which is blue and yellow.

(Marcel: the power of opposites)

Among the colors of the bodies, the one that has more whiteness will be seen from farther away, and the darker one will therefore be lost at a shorter distance.

Between two bodies of equal whiteness, and at equal distance from sight, the one surrounded by more darkness will appear clearer; and on the contrary, the darkness that is next to the greatest whiteness will seem more gloomy.

Among the colors of equal beauty, the one who looks at the opposite side, like the pale with the pink, the black with the white, the blue with the yellow, the green with the red, although none of these is a true color; because all things are better known on the side of their opposites as the dark in the clear, the light in the dark.

The interval that mediates between the sight and the object transmutes it to this one, and you see it of its color, as the blue of the air dyes blue to the distant mountains; the red glass makes objects that look through it look red.

(Marcel: beautiful proportions and measurements)

The man, as a child, has the width of the back equal to the length of the face, and the shoulder width at the elbow, the arm bent; Equal to this is the distance from the thumb to the elbow, and the one from the pubis to the kneecap or choqueza, and from this to the joint of the foot. But when it has reached perfect stature all these distances double its length except the face, which along with the rest of the head does not suffer so much alteration. From this supposition, man, when he has finished growing, if he is well proportioned, will have in his height ten lengths of his face; the width of your back will be two of these lengths.

The simple and major movements that the shoulder makes occur when the corresponding arm is raised, lowered or pulled back. One could say, and rightly so, that these movements were infinite; because putting a man with his back pressed to the wall, and pointing at it with his arm a circle, then he will do all the movements of which the shoulder is capable, and being all quantity continuous divisible to infinity, as the circle is quantity continuous, and is produced by the movement of the arm, this movement would not produce continuous quantity if it did not lead to the line the same continuation. Then, having walked through all the parts of the circle the movement of the arm, and being that which can be divided to infinity, the movements and varieties of the shoulder will also be infinite.

(Marcel: research and movement)

The main and sublime part of art is the investigation of the things that make up any other; and the second, which deals with movements, is that they have a connection with their operations. For example: when a man is to be represented throwing a dart, a stone or something similar, the figure must show the total disposition it has for such action, as seen in these figures, diverse among themselves, with respect to their action and power . The first A represents the force or power, the second B the movement; but the B will throw more distance than the A.

Of the attitudes and movements

In the same figure you should not repeat the same movements, either in your limbs, or in your hands or fingers; nor in the same story should the attitudes of the figures be duplicated.

(Marcel: movement, emotion)

Of the movements of the parts of the face

The movements of the parts of the face, caused by mental accidents, are many: the main ones are laughter, crying, shouting, singing, admiration, anger, joy, melancholy, horror, pain, and other similar ones; of all of which mention will be made, but first of laughter and weeping, because they are very similar in the configuration of the mouth and cheeks, as well as in the closed eyes; and they only differ in the eyebrows and their interval. All this will be said in its place, and also the variety that receives the face, the hands, and the whole person by some accidents, whose news is very necessary to the painter, whether they are in act of admiration, of reverence, of pain, of suspicion, fear or joy, as circumstances require.

How to preserve in memory and draw the profile of a face, having seen it only once

In this case it is necessary to entrust to the memory the difference of four different members: the nose, mouth, beard and forehead.

(Marcel: PNL (congruence between movements, expression and semblance))

The figure whose movements are not accommodated to accidents that represents his imagination in the face, will imply that its members are not consistent with his speech, and that it is worth very little the judgment of its architect. For this reason, every figure must represent with the greatest expression and efficacy that the movement, in which it is painted, can not mean anything other than the purpose for which it was made.

From the attitudes of the figures

The attitude of the figures must be put with such a disposition of members, that she herself gives to understand the intention of her spirit.

Variety of attitudes

In men, attitudes must be represented according to their age or dignity, and will vary according to what sex requires.

From the actions of the people who are watching an event

All the people of any passage worthy of attention are observing it with various acts of admiration, as when Justice executes a punishment on some evildoers. And if the case is one of devotion, then those present are treating it with a devout countenance in various ways, as if representing the holy Sacrifice of the Mass or the elevation of the host and others like it. If the case is festive and jocular or pitiful, then it is not necessary that the people around have their eyes directed towards him, but must be with several movements, condoled or rejoicing several of them among themselves, as the case may be. If the thing is frightening, it will be represented in the faces of those who flee a great expression of amazement or fear, with a variety of movements, as will be seen when it is dealt with in their respective book.

From the variety of faces

The countenances have to vary according to the accidents of the man, already tired, already in rest, already crying, already laughing, already shouting, already fearful, et cetera. And even all the other members of the person in their attitude must have connection with the altered of the countenance.

Mental acts move the person in the first degree of ease and comfort

Mental movement moves the body with simple and easy acts, not with intrepidity; because its object resides in the mind, which does not move the senses when it is occupied in itself (Marcel: and vice versa).

Of the common movements

So many are the movements of man, as the things that pass through his imagination, and each accident of itself moves with more or less vehemence to man, according to his degree of vigor and according to age; for in a different way a young man will move in the same circumstances as an old man.

(Marcel: harmony)

Of the decorum that should be observed

The painter observes the proper decorum: that is, the convenience of the act, costumes, place and surrounding, with respect to the dignity or baseness of the thing that represents; so that a king has the beard, the gesture and serious vestment, the place in which it is found that is adorned, and the surrounding ones with reverence and admiration, and with suits adapted to the gravity of a royal court. And on the contrary, the low people must be without any adornment, and likewise the bystanders, whose actions must also be low, all members corresponding to the said composition. The attitude of an old man should not be like that of a young man, nor that of a woman equal to that of a man, nor that of a man to that of a child.

(Marcel: friendship, conference)

Qualities that figures should have in the composition of a story

Procure the painter usually, in the regular composition of a story, make few elders, and these always separated from the young; because old people are rarely common, and their customs do not adapt to youth, and where there is no conformity of customs, friendship can not take place, and where there is no friendship, there is separation. If the composition is serious and serious, then it is necessary to paint a few young people; because they run away from it, and so from others.

(Marcel: emotions)

Laughter and crying, and their difference

The one who laughs is not different from the one who cries, neither in the eyes, nor in the mouth, nor in the cheeks, but only in the rigidness of the eyebrows that fall on the one who cries, and they get up in the one who laughs. To this it is added that the one who cries destroys with his hands the dress and several other accidents, according to the various causes of crying; because some cry of anger, others of fear, others of tenderness and joy, some of jealousy and suspicion, others of pain and feeling, and others of compassion and sorrow for the loss of friends and relatives. Among these, some seem desperate, others not so much, some shed tears, others scream, some raise their faces to heaven and drop their hands crossed, and others, showing fear, raise their shoulders, and thus to this tenor according to the causes mentioned . The one that sheds tears, raises the eyebrow and unites the eyebrows, wrinkling that part, and the ends of the mouth are lowered; but in the one who laughs they are up, with their eyebrows open and clear.

(Marcel: speed)

Of the local movement more or less fast

The local movement made by man or any other animal will be of greater or lesser speed, the more remote or closer is the center of gravity to the foot on which it is held.

(Marcel: Infinity of things)

It is not possible for memory to retain all the aspects and mutations of the members.

It is impossible for the memory to be able to keep in mind all the aspects and mutations of a member of any animal whatsoever. Let’s take the example in one hand. Every continuous quantity is divisible to infinity; and so the movement of the eye that looks at the hand, and walks from A to B, will run through space A B, which is also a continuous quantity, and therefore can be divided infinitely; and in any part of it will vary the aspect and figure of the hand as far as the sight, which will happen in the movement that does for the whole circle. The same will do the hand at the time of rising in its movement; that is, it will pass through a space that is continuous quantity.

(Marcel: study of nature)

From the practice that painters crave so much

The painter who yearns to achieve a very large practice must warn that if this is not founded on a large study of nature, all his works will have very little credit, and less utility. But doing it properly, you can work many works, very good, and with honor and profit.

(Marcel: trial)

Of the judgment that the painter makes of his works; and those of others

When the work corresponds to the judgment, it is a very bad sign; and much worse when it surpasses him, as happens to the one who admires how good his work has gone. But when the judgment is superior to the work, then it is the best sign. If a young person finds himself in such a position, he will undoubtedly be an excellent artificer; and although it does few works, these will be so that they stop those who look at them, so that they contemplate them with admiration,

Of the judgment that must be formed by the painter of his works

It is known that errors are known much better in the works of others than in ours; so the painter must first try to know the Perspective well, to know perfectly the structure of man, and to be a good architect in terms of the shape of the buildings, always copying from the natural everything in which he has any doubt. And then, having a flat mirror in your study, you will often look at what you are painting; and how it will be represented changed, it will appear from another hand, and you will be able to judge your mistakes with better agreement. It is very convenient to get up often and refresh the imagination, because in this way when you return to work, you rectify more the judgment, being evident that the work of followed in a thing deceives a lot.

(Marcel: rest and incubation)

Which painting deserves more praise

The most praiseworthy painting is the one that is most similar to the thing imitated.

Warning about lights and shadows

In the confines of the shadows should always be mixed light with shadow, and the more it becomes clear, the more it moves away from the shadowy body. No color should be simply put as it is in itself, according to the 9th proposition that says: the surface of every body participates in the color of its object, even when it is a surface of a transparent body, such as water, air, and the like; because the air takes the light of the sun, and it remains in darkness with its absence.

That which in itself has more weight, rises less.

Of the objects that are perceived from afar

The more remote a dark thing is out of sight, the clearer it will appear; and therefore, the closer it gets, the darker it gets. Thus the lower parts of any object placed between thick air will seem more remote than the upper one; therefore the skirt of a hill appears farther than its top, which is nevertheless further away.

The thick air that stands between the sun and the view is much clearer on top than on the bottom.

(Marcel: perceptibility of things)

Why faces look dark from afar

It is evident that all the images of the perceptible things that are presented to us, as large as the small ones, are transmitted to the understanding by the small light of the eyes.

From the linear perspective

The job of the Linear Perspective is to test with measure and by means of visual lines how much less appears a second object with respect to another first, and so on until the end of all the things that are looked at.

The eye with the largest pupil will see the largest objects.

The thick and condensed air, interposed between an object and the view, confuses the contour of the object, and makes it seem larger than it is in itself. The reason is because Linear Perspective does not diminish the angle that the species of that object takes to the eye, and the perspective of the colors impels and moves it at a greater distance than it has; and thus the one separates it from view, and the other conserves it in its magnitude.

Of the camps

The field of the figures is a very important part of the Painting. In it the term of those bodies that are naturally convex and the figure of them is distinctly noticed, even though their color is the same as that of the field. The reason is, because the convex term of a body does not receive light in the same way that the rest receives it from the field, because many times it will be the lighter one, or darker than this one. Its purpose is none other than that the figures stand out well on the field; and in the said circumstances the opposite happens, not only in the Painting, but also in the things of bulk.

How to judge a work of Painting

First, we must see if the figures have that relief that suits the place where they are; then the light that illuminates them, so that there are not the same shadows at the ends of the painting as in the middle (Marcel: natural relief).

In the second place, it will be examined if the composition or placement of the figures is fixed to the case that is to be represented in the table. (Marcel: congruence to the case – integral)

And in the third place it will be noticed if the figures have the precise vividness each one in particular. (Marcel: liveliness and reality).

The Perspective used in Painting has three main parts: the first deals with the diminution that makes the size of objects at different distances: the second deals with the diminution of its colors; and the third of the darkening and confusion of contours that ensues to the figures seen from several distances.

The blue of the air is a color composed of clarity and darkness.

The Perspective is the rein, and the rudder of the Painting.

The size of the figure that is painted should show the distance at which you look. When looking at a life-size figure, it should be considered that it is next to the view.

Perspective for Painting

When there is no variety of light and darkness in the air, the perspective of the shadows should not be imitated, and only the perspective of the diminution of the bodies, of the diminution of the colors, and of the evidence or perception of opposing objects in view. The view can never without his movement know by the linear perspective the distance between one and another object, but with the help of colors.

All things by nature wish to remain in their being.

From the Notes to the Treaty of Painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, by the translator Diego Antonio Rejón De Silva

Da Vinci advises here the variety of forms and aspects, because it depends on the beauty and perfection of a work. Because, if in all the figures of a story the proportion and beauty of the Greek statue were followed, perhaps the beauty and necessary proportion to the work would be lacking. For example: if in the famous picture of Raphael, called “The Astonishment of Sicily”, the author had painted one of the sayons that are there with a provision in their members equal to that of Jesus Christ, was not so praised as it is ; for each figure has to manifest in the exterior lineaments of his face and body the interior properties, or the intention of his mind. Even on a canvas depicting Diana’s bath with a multitude of nymphs, there must be a difference in the proportion of their bodies and faces, otherwise it would be a beauty, let’s say it, very monotonous.

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