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An X-rated doodle from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
09:00 am


Leonardo Da Vinci

Well, well, a pornographic doodle buried in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Here’s a description (emphasis added):

Casual reminder that in one of Leonardo da Vinci’s many notebooks containing innumerable artistic and scientific sketches and notes of incomprehensible important, there is a sketch of two penises with legs and tails walking towards a crudely drawn anus. The sketch was most likely done by Leonardo’s apprentice Salai, who was not only very likely one of Leonardo’s lovers, but who was also infamously mischievous. Better yet, the anus is literally labeled “Salai.” So either Salai drew these while Leonardo wasn’t looking just to annoy his boyfriend, or Leonardo himself put actual time and energy into drawing these. Either way, the human race is truly blessed to have made such a discovery. There are dick drawings like the ones you see on desks in school in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks. Please cherish this information.

For some background on Leonardo’s sexuality in general and his relationship with Salai in particular, there are few better sources than Ross King’s Leonardo and the Last Supper:

According to Lomazzo’s account, Leonardo’s passion for the beautiful Salai therefore reached its peak at about the time work began on The Last Supper in Santa Maria delle Grazie.

In the fifteenth century, Florentines were so well-known for homosexuality that the German word for sodomite was Florenzer. By 1415 the sexual behavior of young Florentine men had caused the city fathers such concern that “desiring to eliminate a worse evil by means of a lesser one” they licensed two more public brothels to go with the one they had opened with similar aspirations a dozen years earlier. When these establishments failed to produce the desired results, and still “desiring to extirpate that vice of Sodom and Gomorrah, so contrary to nature,” the city fathers took further action. In 1432, a special authority, the Ufficiali di Notte e Conservatori dei Monasteri, or Officers of the Night and Preservers of Morality in the Monasteries, was formed to catch and prosecute sodomites. Over the next seven decades, more than ten thousand men were apprehended by this night watch.


According to Vasari, Salai was “a very attractive youth of unusual grace and looks, with very beautiful hair which he wore curled in ringlets and which delighted his master.” Giacomo seems to have served as a model for Leonardo. No definitive image of him exists, but art historians refer to a distinctive face that appears repeatedly in his drawings—that of a beautiful youth with a Greek nose, a mass of curls and a dreamy pout—as a “Salai-type profile.”


Leonardo was almost certainly homosexual by the standards of later centuries. Freud was no doubt correct when he stated that it was doubtful whether Leonardo ever embraced a woman in passion. Two years after the Saltarelli affair, Leonardo wrote a partially legible declaration in his notebook: “Fioravante di Domenico at Florence is my most beloved friend, as though he were my….” A nineteenth-century editor of Leonardo’s writings hopefully filled in “brother,” but the relationship may well have been more intimate.


Here’s a brief video of King discussing Leonardo’s homosexuality:

via Tumbling down tumbling down…; quoted text seems to have originated here

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Listen to the debut performance of Leonardo da Vinci’s incredible ‘viola organista’
03:00 pm


Leonardo Da Vinci

As if all his other accomplishments were not impressive enough, it should be noted that according to his early biographers, Leonardo da Vinci was also a “brilliant musician,” who was a talented player of the lira da braccio.

According to award-winning biographer and author, Charles Nicholl, Leonardo must “have excelled” since the biographers “the Anonimo” and Vasari insisted Leonardo:

”...went to Milan, probably in early 1482, [where] he was presented to the Milanese court not as a painter or technologist, but as a musician.”

The lira da braccio was not the lyre of ancient antiquity, but rather a forerunner to the violin. Leonardo excelled at playing this instrument, and was, according to Vasari:

”...the most skilled improviser in verse of his time.”

Leonardo the first freestyle rapper? Wonderful.

But it doesn’t stop there, Leonardo wrote music, though only fragments remain of his compositions. In his biography on Leonardo, Nicholl identifies one of the artist’s short compositions:

”...the following romantic ditty: ‘Amore sola mi fa remirare, la sol mi fa sollecita’—‘Only love makes me remember, it alone fires me up.’ The two passages of musical notation can be picked out on a keyboard—DGAEFDE AGEFG. This is a melody by Leonardo da Vinci.”

Leonardo also devised and created plans for many strange and wonderful musical instruments, including the viola organista, which is an instrument that combines the sound of the piano and the cello.

Five-hundred after years dreaming-up the viola organista, Leonardo’s musical instrument has been painstakingly reproduced by Polish concert pianist, Slawomir Zubrzycki, who spent 5000 hours building the instrument as based on Leonardo’s original plans.

Zubrzycki debuted the instrument at a performance at the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland, and this is what it sounds like.

H/T the Sydney Morning Herald

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Leonardo Da Vinci’s incredible mechanical lion and history’s first programmable computer
01:59 pm


Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “mechanical lion” was the star attraction at a pageant in honor of the newly crowned King of France, Francois I.

According to G. P. Lomazzo, the Lion was presented to the King by Giuliano de’ Medici in Lyon, on July 12th, 1515. Made with a “wonderful artifice,” the Lion was set in motion:

“ moved from its place in the hall and when it came to a halt its breast opened, and was full of lilies and flowers.”

This incredible exhibition symbolized the close relationship between the Medici, and the new King. The Lion is the symbol of Florence, and lilies are the fleurs-de-lis of France. The bond between the two was also linked through marriage as Giuliano’s wife, Philiberte of Savoy, was an aunt to the new King.

The “Lion” wasn’t Da Vinci’s first attempt at automata. His biographer, Charles Nicholl notes that Leonardo had previously produced drawings for various other automata, including a “mechanical Knight,” which:

...was capable of bending its legs, moving its arms and hands, and turning its head. Its mouth opened, and an automatic drum-roll within its mechanism enabled it to ‘talk’.

These mechanical drawings were exhibited in Milan, around 1495. NASA scientist, Mark Rosheim, constructed a working model of the “mechanical Knight” and claimed that Da Vinci’s “programmed carriage for automata” were:

“...the first known example in the story of civilization of the programmable computer.”

Da Vinci’s original “mechanical lion” has been long lost, but in 2009, it was reconstructed at the Château du Clos Lucé and Parc, in France. The Château was where Da Vinci spent his last three years of life, dying there in 1519.

With thanks to Maria Salavessa Hormigo Guimil

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment