What he know? – Leonardo Da Vinci


This is a painting taken in a drinking bar in Trinidad and Tobago, the work was produced nearly fifty years ago and it shows a time when Trinidad was the idyllic place it once was.

A painter ought to be curious to hear the opinions of everyone on his work Certainly while a man is painting he ought not to shrink from hearing every opinion. For we know very well that a man, though he may not be a painter, is familiar with the forms of other men and very capable of judging whether they are hump backed, or have one shoulder higher or lower than the other, or too big a mouth or nose, and other defects; and, as we know that men are competent to judge of the works of nature, how much more ought we to admit that they can judge of our errors; since you know how much a man may be deceived in his own work. And if you are not conscious of this in yourself study it in others and profit by their faults.

Therefore be curious to hear with patience the opinions of others, consider and weigh well whether those who find fault have ground or not for blame, and, if so amend; but, if not make as though you had not heard, or if he should be a man you esteem show him by argument the cause of his mistake. – Leonardo Da Vinci notebooks 1452-1519

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

When Leonardo Da Vinci devised his thoughts on the ethics of paintings, we should consider that in regard to the judgment of a painter’s work, the opinions of others is based on the representation in terms of rendering the (person or thing) as close to the forms in reality. A painted apple should take on the appearance of the fruit in weight, texture and perspective space. The artist ability to do so would be critique if his work failed, and an open ear may give answers to the work’s inaccuracies. The artist should take this as constructive criticism rather than to mull over the faults of the viewer.

When we think of twentieth century art and the looser forms of art expression devised in modernism, the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), for an example simplified the (person or thing) to mere shapes and outlines. This could be seen as a cop-out but make no doubt, Picasso could formally paint. The question here is how do we judge this form of representation and what references do we have to compare it with other than an abstraction of it.

%d bloggers like this: