Welcome to the online home of mystery and romance novelist DIANE A.S. STUCKART, who is also ALI BRANDON
WELCOME! Here's the spot where I've collected samples of Leonardo's work--and possible newly discovered works--along with links to various Leonardo sites and articles. Take a virtual stroll around my gallery...just try not to get lost!
In PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Leonardo paints both the Contessa Caterina and Dino/Delfina (in "his" girl's disguise, of course!). If you've already read POAL, can you guess from my description of Caterina's portrait in the novel which famous Leonardo painting it later "inspired"? Scroll down this column for a look at La Gioconda (following my Leonardo bibliography) and see if you guessed correctly.
Portrait of a Lady (also known as "La Belle Ferronière") c 1496-97
Go HERE for more information about "La Belle Ferronière"
Art historians and engineers in Florence are looking for evidence that a purported "lost" fresco painted by Leonardo is still hidden behind the plaster in the Palazzo Vecchio’s grand ceremonial chamber. Being sought is the unfinished mural, “The Battle of Anghiari”. Had he completed it, this would have been Leonardo's largest painting at three times with length of “The Last Supper”. But in typical Leonardo fashion, he quit partway through the project.
(portion of Leonardo's sketch for “The Battle of Anghiari”)
A 16th century artist, Giorgio Vasari, was commissioned almost 60 years later by the Medicis to plaster over it with new scenes depicting their great military victories. But supposedly Vasari left a painted clue behind indictating that the Master's work still lay beneath the new fresco. Click HERE to read the full story. And, you can get another look at “The Battle of Anghiari” in my trailer for A BOLT FROM THE BLUE.
ANOTHER PORTRAIT OF A LADY!
A portrait previously believed to have been painted by a 19th century German artist has now been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. The telling evidence was another Leonardo fingerprint...yes, the Master had a bad habit of leaving his fingerprints all over his work. And what a lovely work it is!
This copy of the portrait, courtesy of DAILY KOS, shows the location of the print. But the Master's touch is evident is less literal ways, as well. The attention to detail (see the embroidery on the sleeve), the color palette and composition, along with its general similarity to other portraits of young women (check out "La Belle Ferronière" below) would seem to indicate that this is, indeed, Leonardo's work. Click on the LINK for an interesting review of this portrait. And see Lyn's Links, above, for more information on the debate over "is it or isn't it?" a Leonardo work.
For a fun change of pace, here's an entertaining website called TV Trope. While geared toward writers, it's fun for everyone who enjoys dissecting plots. And I was pleased to find that my character Delfina, a.k.a. "Dino", was a literary entry for what the site so delicately calls the trope of Suppressed Mammaries.
Here are some new and interesting Leonardo links submitted by my official Leonardo correspondent, Lyn:
Finally, an opportunity to see some of the Renaissance’s finest masterpieces up close, and very personal! An Italian company, Haltadefinizione, has added to their website gallery high-resolution images of six famous paints from the Uffizi gallery in Florence, including works by the Master, himself. Click on the painting, and you will be able to zoom in to see the tiniest of details, from the button on the cloak worn by one of “The Last Supper” apostles, to the writing on the book being read by the Virgin Mary in “The Annunciation”. It’s a fabulous site for art lovers and techno-geeks, alike. The images will be available HERE to view until Jan. 29.
I stumbled over an interesting short video hosted by artist Siegfried Woldhek which offers an opinion on Leonardo's true face. Check out my image gallery first, and then click HERE.
For those of you whose tastes are a bit more high-brow, here's the latest scientific look at Leonardo's lovely Mona Lisa.
A journalist studying Leonardo's "Codex on the Flight of Birds" noticed what appeared to be a faint sketch beneath the writing on one page. He enlisted some forensic help to get a better view of the subject, and was surprised to find a resemblance to the alleged self-portrait of Leonardo as an old man. Go to the Telegraph to learn more about this exciting discovery.
Portrait of Mona Lisa (1479-1528), also known as La Gioconda, 1503-06 Musee du Louvre, Paris
(a.k.a. requisite image of Leonardo's most recognized work. And, no, despite some wild theories that have been bandied about, the portrait is NOT Leonardo in drag! In PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Leonardo's painting of the Contessa Caterina served as an early version of the Mona Lisa with its dramatic background and coolly posed subject.)
THE LEONARDO GALLERY: IMAGES OF THE MASTER
As noted in A BOLT FROM THE BLUE, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, and THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT--as well as in every biography and historical mention of Leonardo--the artist was accounted to be quite a handsome man by all who knew him. So what did Leonardo actually look like? Here are some pictures of the Master for your viewing pleasure.
The rather grumpy gentleman in red chalk, above, has traditionally been accepted as a self-portrait of Leonardo toward the end of his life. More recently, however, the image has been determined to be that of his father or uncle.
But, the below picture is indeed a portrait of Leonardo in his later years, drawn by his student Francesco Melzi. Even at that age, he was still a good looking man.
From his early youth, Leonardo was known for his beauty. In fact, he posed for Verrocchio's statue of "David," below.
Inspired by Leonardo's genius, the artist Raphael depicted the Master as Plato in his painting, THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS.
(Note the raised finger that echoes the pose of Leonardo's ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, left)
A POSSIBLE NEW PORTRAIT OF LEONARDO? Below is the "Portrait of a Man with a Dog" which is attributed to the artist Giovanni Cariani. But art historian Maike Vogt-Lüerssen has recently argued that this painting is instead a self-portrait of Leonardo. Compare his features with those of known portraits of the Master, and decide if she makes a logical case (read more at this site).
The portrait dates from about the same time as the story action in THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT, so I was happy to use this handsome gentleman as a model for my vision of Leonardo at the age of 30. Note the cute terrier sitting in his lap. Leonardo was an early animal rights activist and had a soft spot for dogs. More evidence?
This recently rediscovered oil painting found among the artifacts of an aristocratic Southern Italian family is being put forth as a possible self-portrait of a middle-aged
Leonardo. While originally considered a painting of Galileo, the medieval historian doing research on that collection uncovered some evidence that may point to a Leonardo connection.
Not all the experts, however, are in agreement. Go to Timesonline for more information, and thanks to Lyn from Boston for sending me the story!