Leonardo da Vinci the Sculptor?
The Battle of Anghiari is considered to be one of his works, and it is considered to hide a certain message just like many of his other creations. Martin Kemp, a scholar who is an expert in Leonardo da Vinci said that more and more people are starting to see hidden things in Leonardo’s works, and that he receives hundreds of letters each month, all of them stating that a new secret has been found in one of the Leonardo’s works. He said that this can be compared to all the claims about Bigfoot, and other mythical monsters which are not real. There are some who believe that Leonardo da Vinci might have been created some works of art which were considered to have a different author. Gary M. Radke, an expert in the Renaissance period believes that two silver figures which were created for the Baptistery in Florence were created by Leonardo da Vinci when he was young, and not by Andrea Del Verrocchio, who was his teacher at that time.
There is a reason why he believes this, and if one takes a closer look at the sculptures, he will realize that the two sculptures in question are different than the other four presented on the panel. One of the sculptures represents a warrior and the other one represents an angelic figure. It seems that these figures have a much better detail than the other ones, and it seems that they were put in a position which would indicate a reaction to the elements around them. Mr. Radke said that both of these qualities of the two sculptures are trademarks of Leonardo’s works. If you take a closer look at the first two soldiers from the right, you will see that the helmet of the first soldier is very rigid, but that the helmet of the second soldier is more fluid. The fluidity of the helmet intends to represent the natural motions of the head, and the effects which these motions would have on the hat. The hair is very different as well, because it doesn’t just drop like in the case of the other figures, but it curls, similar to the way in which the hair behaves in real life.
Another big difference between the sculptures can be seen by looking at their backs. They were intended to be attached to the board, and four of the sculptures have very flat backs, but the two which are considered to be created by Leonardo have details in the back as well. It is as if the author did not want to leave its creation unfinished, even if he knew that the backside of the sculptures will never be seen. The sculpture depicts the beheading of John the Baptists, and it has passed unnoticed for a very long time. Mr. Radke knew about it even from 1972 when he was in college, but he did not pay too much attention to it. In 2007, the panel was presented at an exhibition, and as it normally happens, it was cleaned before being exposed. That is when he realized that two of the figurines from the panel are different than the other four. He noticed a great similarity between the head of the different warrior from the panel, and Leonardo’s painting “Head of a Warrior”. He realized that both of the heads which were displayed in a similar manner showed the same characteristics, and the same facial expressions.
He said that the similarity is very obvious, and he does not know why no one has noticed it before. Leonardo was born in 1452 in the town of Vinci, which is located in the proximity of Florence. He was the illegitimate son of a notary, and no one has too much information about his childhood years. It is known that he lived at the country side, and because of it, there are many who believe that he might have analyzed the nature very much. They believe that this is the main reason why all of his works have a very high attention to details, because of the fact that he was able to analyze many things in close detail while he was a child. Giorgio Vasari, a biographer from the 16th century, said that Leonardo was skilled in arts even when he was a child. He said that Leonardo once drew a shield which had a creature made out of numerous animals on it, as an emblem. According to the biographer, the creature was presented in very high detail, and one would believe that the creature actually exists out there somewhere, that it could not have been made from imagination. Mr. Radke said that if Leonardo would have been born in Florence, he would have had a better education, but he believes that if that would have been the case, maybe his works would have not been so great, as if would have not have the opportunity of “seeing things” as much as he did.
His teacher, Andrea del Verrocchio, was a man skilled in different areas, such as painting, sculpting, and even metal working. He had a workshop in Florence, which was considered to be one of the most prestigious of that period. His most famous work was the bronze David. It is believed that the reason why Leonardo got to become his student, is because his father was an influential man, who had connections with the Medici family. During those times, the Medici family was the biggest art patron in the city. He was an apprentice for more than 10 years, and in 1480, he was on his own. He was introduced to the Duke of Milan as a great painter, military engineer, and sculptor. What many might not know is the fact that Leonardo was passionate about sculpting, and that he created lots of sculptures. None of the sculptures he created survived, for whatever reasons.
This is one of the reasons why this sculpture has such an importance; if it is proven that the sculpture was made by Leonardo, then this would be the first and the only sculpture created by the famous polymath which still exists. It will be very difficult to prove that the sculpture was created by Leonardo, as there are no previous sculptures with which the work of art can be compared. They can not compare the sculptures with the sketches either, because the sketches do not exist. Another reason why making the association will be very difficult is because the majority of the work of arts which were created during the Renaissance period, are shrouded by mystery. There are many people who are interested in making money, and they will do everything they can in order to obtain it, even cheat. There were cases when certain works of arts from that period of time were attributed to the biggest artists of that period, just for the people to make money. One of the biggest such scandals took place in 1987 when Frederick Hartt, who was an expert on Renaissance sculpture at the University of Virginia, said that a small plaster which was in his possession, was used by Michelangelo when he created his work of art, called David.
It was later discovered that Frederick Hartt needed money, and it is believed that he lied about it. The small plaster is kept at a bank vault, and it will be kept there until the problem will be solved. Kathleen Weil-Garris Brandt, who is an art historian at the New York University, said in 1995, that she found out a marble statue which was created by Michelangelo in New York City at the French Embassy’s cultural offices. Of course, the claim was contested by many, and there were many who accused her of lying. The problem has not been solved so far, as there are many people who support her, and who say that her claim is true. Mr. Radke was aware of this, and he analyzed the situation very carefully prior to making this claim. He presented his claim to the members of the Provo/Athens Renaissance Sculpture Conference, and the opinions regarding the claim were split. There were some who supported his idea and there were some who said that he was only in it for the fame. Sally Cornelison, who is an associate professor of Italian Renaissance art at the University of Kansas, said that it is very difficult for them to attach the names of the big artists to certain work of art. She said that the sculpture might be created by Leonardo, but they can not say that until they are 100 percent sure of it.
She said that it is very difficult for them to analyze the claim, since they do not have the necessary data required in order to admit the validity of the claim. She said that the work of art might have been created by an unknown artist who was very good at what he was doing. She said that the difference between the sculptures is obvious, and that it is clear that the two sculptures have been made by a different person and not by Andrea del Verrocchio. Martin Kemp also said that they can not state that the sculpture was created by Leonardo unless Mr. Radke brings solid evidence which would be able to back up his claim. He said that the two sculptures seem to be created by Leonardo da Vinci, as they reflect the light in a manner seen only in his paintings. He said that the sculptures created by Andrea del Verrocchio do not have this characteristic, and because of that, he believes that Leonardo might be the creator of the two figurines. However, just like Mrs. Sally did, he also stated that the two sculptures might have been created by a different person: he might have been another apprentice of Andrea del Verrocchio, or he might have been a friend of the sculptor. He said that it is very likely that Leonardo will not be considered the creator of the sculpture, because data which will be able to confirm this, might never be found. He said that the visual similarities are not enough to sustain the claim.11