August 17, 2007

Get the Name Right

The Da Vinci Code is an entertaining read. I'm surprised so many people took it seriously since it has so many wild historical inaccuracies. (Opus Dei is somehow associated with the Priori of Scion, an organization that never actually existed?)

But do you know what irritated me the most about the book? The fact that an art historian went around referring to Leonardo da Vinci as "da Vinci" as if that were his name.

His name is "Leonardo" and he is from the town of Vinci in Italy. First year art history kids learn this although it should be taught in high school. But no serious art historian studying the Renaissance master would go around calling him "da Vinci."

Please, everyone, stop doing this. It bugs me.

Update: Mister Bookworm, bless his sweet heart, wrote me this message:

Subject: To Quibble
Body: Da Vinci wasn't from Vinci. He was born in Anchiano, which is near
Vinci. Second, his full name wasn't just Leonardo. It was Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci. So calling him Da Vinci is both acceptable and accurate.

You can apply that same outrage to the name of the painter known as Caravaggio. He was from Caravaggio, but his name was Michelangelo Merisi. Thing is, there's a long established and accepted history of calling him Caravaggio, so switching to Merisi now would serve no other purpose than a desire to be mannerist and annoying.

A similar desire for scholarly purity often affects academics when they write the name of the poet who wrote The Aeneid. In English, his name is Virgil. In Latin, his name is Publius Vergilius Maro. Vergilius for short. Calling him Vergil is ... well, mannerist and annoying. His family and very close friends called him Publius. Everyone else called him Maro. I like to call him Ass Kisser.


To which I responded:

Yes, dear, I know. I wikipedia'ed my facts before I posted.

The primary item upon which my argument stands is the fact that in Art History circles, though, it actually isn't accepted to refer to Leonardo as "da Vinci," particularly among older art historians. It is bizarre that the character in The Da Vinci Code would do that.

No, it isn't consistent that they would call Caravaggio "Caravaggio," but that is what they do. There may be some reasons behind the inconsistencies, but I don't know what they are and that isn't in Wikipedia which means finding out exceeds my patience and interest.

How did I learn this information about what Leonardo is called? When I studied Renaissance and Baroque art history in college. I also studied more than my fill on contemporary art history (everything post 1850-ish).

I can't remember everything I learned in art school, but this is one of those things. If you want to call Leonardo da Vinci something shorter, you can call him "Leonardo" but not "da Vinci" because that bothers me.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at August 17, 2007 02:08 PM | TrackBack

Sad to say, but I did not know that. Thanks.

Posted by: tonya at August 17, 2007 02:33 PM

Shouldn't the book have been called "The Leonardo Code" then?

If that was the case... I would have never picked up the book because I would have assumed that it had something to do with "da Caprio" and not with "da Vinci".

Posted by: Tiberius at August 18, 2007 12:33 AM

Leonardo da Vinci, Pictures Within Pictures, Outside the Box, Outside the Frame, New da Vinci Discoveries

Leonardo da Vinci's, pictures Within Pictures, Discovered by Michael W. Domoretsky 2005~2007

Ipswich, MA, August 05, 2007,Leonardo da Vinci "Pictures Within Pictures" Outside the box, outside the frame. Researched, discovered and documented in 2005, the perpendicular reverse mirror image process and the optical illusion, both invented and applied to Leonardo’s masterpieces, discovered by Michael W. Domoresty of Boston, Massachusetts, five hundred years after Leonardo da Vinci’s lifetime.

The DaVinci project has been under way since 2005 with hundreds of “Pictures within Pictures.” They are in the process of building a comprehensive documentary presenting these extraordinary findings.

Leonardo da Vinci, Pictures Within Pictures, outside the box, outside the frame.

An intimate and divine truth hidden for centuries at last unveiled in the Mona Lisa, and yes, in other of Leonardo's works including his first recorded drawing, the Landscape of the Arno Valley and his masterpiece, The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and the infant St. John the Baptist, “the Last Supper” and others as well.

A new never before recognized perspective hidden for five hundred years in plain sight, Emerges. Leonardo's message"Pictures Within Pictures" outside the box, outside the frame.

Five hundred years after Leonardo’s lifetime, his genius and message come to light in mirrors and optical illusions. His "secret code" has been hidden in plain sight to be deciphered outside the original borders of the painting using a "perpendicular reverse mirror image process" Leonardo, (actually Lionardo) was more importantly a man of curiosity who observed "truth" in the world in all its forms, physical, philosophical, and religious. He was hundreds of years ahead of his time, constrained by the religious tenets and politics of his day. As a result he was unable to express reality, as he perceived it, and so devised a means by which to conceal his truths from all those whom he did not want to understand them, for fear of persecution. Being a man of science and art as well as one of the most inventive men of all time, he appears to have imbued his art with multiple levels of meaning; at one level beautiful works of art. On a second and perhaps more important, and as yet un-deciphered level, he appears to challenge the dogma of his day and pass on his beliefs, observations and truths using a process that only one who perceived the world outside the accepted realm, a scientist or mathematician might discover. Michael Domoretsky’s discoveries, dating back to 2005, are the first half of the process that of recognition. The second half of the equation, that of interpretation is still pending.

The more in-depth and familiar one becomes with Leonardo the man, the more these unique unconventional finds make sense. Unlike other artist that are painters first, painting what they see, or the impression of what they see, Leonardo appears to have been a scientist and inventor first, then artist, using his sharp powers of observation and reason to create both timeless works of art, and as yet not fully deciphered messages for those not limited by traditional thinking.

The more carefully his words, deeds, apparent opinions and interests are studied, the more credence can be given to his seeking to preserve his thoughts and observations by unorthodox means. An example for what might
Arguably be considered credible verification is DaVinci’s statement (loosely paraphrased) that “an artist that just paints what he see is like a mirror” having no understanding of the deeper meanings of his subjects and should therefore paint with reason not just duplicate what he sees…. This single statement alone indicates Leonardo’s propensity for having a reason for everything he did. The fact that he was so inventive allowed him to use the technology of his day hide his “statements.” The fact that his messages have remained hidden for 500 years is a testament to his adept use of technology but an even greater monument to his genius in the using the technology outside the box.

Leonardo left clues about these messages within his written works... He was credited with having said: “the eye, who would believe that so small a space could contain the images of all the universe." Leonardo believed that the perception by the eye; of light, dark, shadow, and perspective held the secrets of the world. Hence, when you include Leonardo's life long fascination with mirrors and writing backward it appears likely that he would choose to use constructs and concepts familiar and unique to him to transmit and yet hide from a restrictive and turbulent society, his most treasured truths and messages.

For hundreds of years scholars have continued to study Leonardo's priceless works of art using the most cutting edge technologies available. In recent times millions of dollars have been allocated to perform all types of scientific studies seeking to determine if Leonardo hid anything underneath his finished works... all within the frame of his artworks. The plain and obvious truth is that he did hide things, however Leonardo was forced to work within the limitations of the technologies available in his day, and to those he chose to invent. His meanings are in plain sight, but only for those able to think outside the box and frame. All of the writings and documents relating to Leonardo, point to his being deliberate and patient in everything he did, both in his creations and his art; so it would appear all but inconceivable that in his major and personally treasured works, that every detail would have to have been a deliberate act of thought, and not an inadvertent inclusion, accident or oversight. A minor anomaly in a masterpiece might happen, though unlikely in multiple masterpieces by such a perfectionist. Many clearly recognizable, perfectly formed symmetrical symbols on both sides of his best masterpieces, perceived only by utilizing mirrors, a technique Leonardo was well know to have used, make it being anything but intentional, all but impossible. You be the judge.
They welcome comments by all interested parties and will post appropriate comments.

The daVinci Project
Managing Director, DVP
Michael W. Domoretsky
Graham Noll

Posted by: Michael W. Domoretsky at August 19, 2007 06:52 AM

Thanks, Michael.

I accidentally deleted your previous comment noting Leonardo's full name. I'm very sorry. If you'd like to re-post, I would be grateful.

While your input is welcome, I would ask you to please not post essays in my comments. If you'd like to link to some relevant article on another site, that's fine, but this is my forum to jabber on, not yours.

And Tiberius, you're right. It doesn't have the same ring and I would probably excuse it if the author hadn't continued to do that through the whole book. You'll note a similar acceptable inconsistency in Mr. Domoretsky's comments. He works for the da Vinci Project, but refers to him as Leonardo through out.

Posted by: Flibbert at August 20, 2007 12:37 AM
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