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- Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci - 30/159 -


these instances are given for those who cannot confirm my experience on Monboso.

302.

When the smoke from dry wood is seen between the eye of the spectator and some dark space [or object], it will look blue. Thus the sky looks blue by reason of the darkness beyond it. And if you look towards the horizon of the sky, you will see the atmosphere is not blue, and this is caused by its density. And thus at each degree, as you raise your eyes above the horizon up to the sky over your head, you will see the atmosphere look darker [blue] and this is because a smaller density of air lies between your eye and the [outer] darkness. And if you go to the top of a high mountain the sky will look proportionately darker above you as the atmosphere becomes rarer between you and the [outer] darkness; and this will be more visible at each degree of increasing height till at last we should find darkness.

That smoke will look bluest which rises from the driest wood and which is nearest to the fire and is seen against the darkest background, and with the sunlight upon it.

303.

A dark object will appear bluest in proportion as it has a greater mass of luminous atmosphere between it and the eye. As may be seen in the colour of the sky.

304.

The atmosphere is blue by reason of the darkness above it because black and white make blue.

305.

In the morning the mist is denser above than below, because the sun draws it upwards; hence tall buildings, even if the summit is at the same distance as the base have the summit invisible. Therefore, also, the sky looks darkest [in colour] overhead, and towards the horizon it is not blue but rather between smoke and dust colour.

The atmosphere, when full of mist, is quite devoid of blueness, and only appears of the colour of clouds, which shine white when the weather is fine. And the more you turn to the west the darker it will be, and the brighter as you look to the east. And the verdure of the fields is bluish in a thin mist, but grows grey in a dense one.

The buildings in the west will only show their illuminated side, where the sun shines, and the mist hides the rest. When the sun rises and chases away the haze, the hills on the side where it lifts begin to grow clearer, and look blue, and seem to smoke with the vanishing mists; and the buildings reveal their lights and shadows; through the thinner vapour they show only their lights and through the thicker air nothing at all. This is when the movement of the mist makes it part horizontally, and then the edges of the mist will be indistinct against the blue of the sky, and towards the earth it will look almost like dust blown up. In proportion as the atmosphere is dense the buildings of a city and the trees in a landscape will look fewer, because only the tallest and largest will be seen.

Darkness affects every thing with its hue, and the more an object differs from darkness, the more we see its real and natural colour. The mountains will look few, because only those will be seen which are farthest apart; since, at such a distance, the density increases to such a degree that it causes a brightness by which the darkness of the hills becomes divided and vanishes indeed towards the top. There is less [mist] between lower and nearer hills and yet little is to be distinguished, and least towards the bottom.

306.

The surface of an object partakes of the colour of the light which illuminates it; and of the colour of the atmosphere which lies between the eye and that object, that is of the colour of the transparent medium lying between the object and the eye; and among colours of a similar character the second will be of the same tone as the first, and this is caused by the increased thickness of the colour of the medium lying between the object and the eye.

307. OF PAINTING.

Of various colours which are none of them blue that which at a great distance will look bluest is the nearest to black; and so, conversely, the colour which is least like black will at a great distance best preserve its own colour.

Hence the green of fields will assume a bluer hue than yellow or white will, and conversely yellow or white will change less than green, and red still less.

_VII._

_On the Proportions and on the Movements of the Human Figure._

_Leonardo's researches on the proportions and movements of the human figure must have been for the most part completed and written before the year_ 1498; _for LUCA PACIOLO writes, in the dedication to Ludovico il Moro, of his book_ Divina Proportione, _which was published in that year:_ "Leonardo da venci ... hauedo gia co tutta diligetia al degno libro de pictura e movimenti humani posto fine".

_The selection of Leonardo's axioms contained in the Vatican copy attributes these words to the author:_ "e il resto si dira nella universale misura del huomo". (_MANZI, p. 147; LUDWIG, No. 264_). _LOMAZZO, again, in his_ Idea del Tempio della Pittura Milano 1590, cap. IV, _says:_ "Lionardo Vinci ... dimostro anco in figura tutte le proporzioni dei membri del corpo umano".

_The Vatican copy includes but very few sections of the_ "Universale misura del huomo" _and until now nothing has been made known of the original MSS. on the subject which have supplied the very extensive materials for this portion of the work. The collection at Windsor, belonging to her Majesty the Queen, includes by far the most important part of Leonardo's investigations on this subject, constituting about half of the whole of the materials here published; and the large number of original drawings adds greatly to the interest which the subject itself must command. Luca Paciolo would seem to have had these MSS. (which I have distinguished by the initials W. P.) in his mind when he wrote the passage quoted above. Still, certain notes of a later date--such as Nos. 360, 362 and 363, from MS. E, written in 1513--14, sufficiently prove that Leonardo did not consider his earlier studies on the Proportions and Movements of the Human Figure final and complete, as we might suppose from Luca Paciolo's statement. Or else he took the subject up again at a subsequent period, since his former researches had been carried on at Milan between 1490 and 1500. Indeed it is highly probable that the anatomical studies which he was pursuing zvith so much zeal between 1510--16 should have led him to reconsider the subject of Proportion.

Preliminary observations (308. 309).

308.

Every man, at three years old is half the full height he will grow to at last.

309.

If a man 2 braccia high is too small, one of four is too tall, the medium being what is admirable. Between 2 and 4 comes 3; therefore take a man of 3 braccia in height and measure him by the rule I will give you. If you tell me that I may be mistaken, and judge a man to be well proportioned who does not conform to this division, I answer that you must look at many men of 3 braccia, and out of the larger number who are alike in their limbs choose one of those who are most graceful and take your measurements. The length of the hand is 1/3 of a braccio [8 inches] and this is found 9 times in man. And the face [Footnote 7: The account here given of the _braccio_ is of importance in understanding some of the succeeding chapters. _Testa_ must here be understood to mean the face. The statements in this section are illustrated in part on Pl. XI.] is the same, and from the pit of the throat to the shoulder, and from the shoulder to the nipple, and from one nipple to the other, and from each nipple to the pit of the throat.

Proportions of the head and face (310-318).

310.

The space between the parting of the lips [the mouth] and the base of the nose is one-seventh of the face.

The space from the mouth to the bottom of the chin _c d_ is the fourth part of the face and equal to the width of the mouth.

The space from the chin to the base of the nose _e f_ is the third part of the face and equal to the length of the nose and to the forehead.

The distance from the middle of the nose to the bottom of the chin _g h_, is half the length of the face.

The distance from the top of the nose, where the eyebrows begin, to the bottom of the chin, _i k_, is two thirds of the face.

The space from the parting of the lips to the top of the chin _l m_, that is where the chin ends and passes into the lower lip of the mouth, is the third of the distance from the parting of the lips to the bottom of the chin and is the twelfth part of the face. From the top to the bottom of the chin _m n_ is the sixth part of the face and is the fifty fourth part of a man's height.

From the farthest projection of the chin to the throat _o p_ is equal to the space between the mouth and the bottom of the chin, and a fourth of the face.

The distance from the top of the throat to the pit of the throat below _q r_ is half the length of the face and the eighteenth part of a man's height.

From the chin to the back of the neck _s t_, is the same distance as between the mouth and the roots of the hair, that is three quarters of the head.

From the chin to the jaw bone _v x_ is half the head and equal to the thickness of the neck in profile.


Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci - 30/159

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