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It is better to imitate [copy] the antique than modern work.



244:233 486, 487: These are the only two passages in which Leonardo alludes to the importance of antique art in the training of an artist. The question asked in No. 486 remains unanswered by him and it seems to me very doubtful whether the opinion stated in No. 487 is to be regarded as a reply to it. This opinion stands in the MS. in a connection--as will be explained later on--which seems to require us to limit its application to a single special case. At any rate we may suspect that when Leonardo put the question, he felt some hesitation as to the answer. Among his very numerous drawings I have not been able to find a single study from the antique, though a drawing in black chalk, at Windsor, of a man on horseback (Pl. LXXIII) may perhaps be a reminiscence of the statue of Marcus Aurelius at Rome. It seems to me that the drapery in a pen and ink drawing of a bust, also at Windsor, has been borrowed from an antique model (Pl. XXX). G. G. Rossi has, I believe, correctly interpreted Leonardo's feeling towards the antique in the following note on this passage in manzi's edition, p. 501: "Sappiamo dalla storia, che i valorosi artisti Toscani dell'età dell'oro dell'arte studiarono sugli antichi marmi raccolti dal Magnifico LORENZO DE' MEDICI. Pare che il Vinci a tali monumenti non si accostasse. Quest' uomo sempre riconosce per maestra la natura, e questo principio lo stringeva alla sola imitazione dì essa"--Compare No. 10, 26--28 footnote.

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