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Leonardo da Vinci

Italia • 1452−1519

The riddles with which Leonardo da Vinci entertained the court society

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In the literary heritage Leonardo da Vincithere are so-called "predictions." In fact, these are riddles, but they are formulated in the form of a description of scenes from the future. Plots of riddles are most often terrible, like the best pictures Boschand the solutions are simple. First, we will tell you how these riddles are predicted, and then we will offer to solve a dozen.
The riddles with which Leonardo da Vinci entertained the court society
"Predictions are a game of puzzles and clues. There is no doubt that they had a secular purpose and maybe even only a court. Leonardo immediately invented a whole bunch of such enigmi or proiezione and immediately put them in series in his notebooks, - explains art critic Abram Efros. -He clearly prepared them for one or another occasion, when a high society gathered and it was pleasant or necessary to entertain him. It can be assumed from the totality of data that "Predictions" were composed during the Milan period at the request of Lodovico Moreau and his entourage and were part of those "entertainments" that Leonardo delivered to his patron and master ". The portrait of Lodovico Moro (also known as Lodovico Sforza) did not leave da Vinci, but his pupil did it -Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis. But da Vinci, as is commonly believed, wrote two favorites of his patron - Cecilia Gallerani in the image of a lady with an ermine and Lucretia Crivelli, known to us today under the name Fair Ferroniera.

Here is one of Leonardo’s predictions (most often he wrote them down with the correct answers):

- People will throw away from their own homes those supplies that were intended to support their lives.

What is he talking about? About stupidity that hit humanity? About a fashionable diet? Not at all. "About grain and other crops" - written by Leonardo’s hand next to the prediction.

Abram Efros explains the structure of the mysteries of Leonardo: "What was the game? In that the verbal description of the phenomenon, true to individual signs, diverged quite possibly with the being described. Thus, the ordinary thing turned into its opposite; the listener had to recognize and name the thing by name. Leonardo’s verbal art is and consisted, on the one hand, of dissociating the description as much as possible from its actual appearance, and on the other, not breaking the ties between them. He did it masterly. He worked like a jeweler of the word. If you do not guess the purpose of these excerpts, reading them gives the impression of some great nightmares ".

Indeed, some of the mysteries of Leonardo sound so that ready-made illustrations for them are easily found by Bosch. By the way, there is a version - and very believable - about the content and purpose of Bosch "Garden of earthly pleasures": the triptych is crammed with puzzles, solving which, the customer and his guests could have fun. And Bosch and Leonardo bring their relationship to the institution of the church closer.
Hieronymus Bosch. Jardin des plaisirs terrestres. Bon battant. Fragment
Above is a fragment of Bosch's right, infernal, sash of the Garden of Earthly Delights.

And here is Leonardo's consonant riddle prediction:

- There will be many who leave their studies, and their labors, and the poverty of life, and property, and go to live in wealth and solemn buildings, proving that this is a means to make friends with God.

Correct answer: On the churches and dwellings of monks.

Hieronymus Bosch. The Temptation Of St. Anthony. Left wing of a triptych. Fragment
Above is a fragment of Bosch's triptych, Temptation of St. Anthony.

And here is a no less terrible riddle of da Vinci:

- It will be seen how in the air at a tremendous height the longest snakes fight birds.

Correct answer: About the stings snare.

So, you already understood what the predictions of Leonardo da Vinci are and how you need to think in order to solve them. Imagine yourself a high-ranking guest at the court of Lodovico Sforza and proceed.

The correct answers will be given at the end. But do not rush to look there. For each riddle, we picked up clue paintings. Use them first.

1. There will be many who flay their mother, turning her skin on her. (Prompts Alexey Venetsianov)

2. People will be happy to see how their own creations are destroyed and torn. (Tips Vincent Van Gogh)

3. Many, too hastily letting out their breath, lose their sight, and soon all their senses. (Suggests Georges de Latour)

4. Animal skins will lead people out of silence with great cries and curses. (Tips Henri Rousseau)

5. Oxen will be a significant cause of the death of cities, and horses and buffaloes in the same way. (Suggests Vasily Vereshchagin).

6. Many children will be mercilessly beaten out of their mothers own embrace, thrown to the ground and then torn to pieces. (Willem van Alst suggests)

7. Forests will give birth to children who will cause their death. (Promises Kazimir Malevich)

8. The dead will come out of the ground and with their formidable movements will squeeze countless human creatures from the light. (Tells Diego Velazquez)

9. People will receive the greatest honors and triumphs without their knowledge. (Suggests El Greco)

10. People will deliver a speech to people who will not hear, they will have open eyes, and they will not see; they will speak with such, and there will be no answer to them; they will ask for mercy from those who, having ears, do not hear; they will shine to those who are blind. (Suggests Mikhail Nesterov)

11. People will come to such ingratitude that one who gives them refuge without any bribe will be showered with blows, and its internal parts will tear themselves away and will turn over his whole body. (Promises Albrecht Durer)

12. It will be seen how the high walls of large cities have tipped over into their ditches. (Claude Monet suggests)
Eleonora Fortesquieu-Brickcadal. Harbinger (Leonardo da Vinci à la cour de Lodovico Sforza)
In the picture above Leonardo da Vinci demonstrates his latest invention by Ludovico Sforza. His wife is sittingBeatrice d'Este. Behind her is the favorite of Lodovico Sforza Cecilia Gallerani. And further Elizabeth Gonzaga. Perhaps, in one of these tricks, riddles that you just solved were riddled.
The riddles with which Leonardo da Vinci entertained the court society
Most of the mysteries and predictions of Leonardo da Vinci are recorded on the pages of the so-called “Atlantic Codex”. This is a collection of manuscripts by Leonardo da Vinci with a volume of 1,119 pages. The codex was composed of scattered sheets after the artist’s death, and is now stored in Milan, in the Ambrosian Library. Above is a page from the "Atlantic Code" with a map of Armenia. How could Leonardo see Armenia and even a bird's-eye view? A riddle the artist did not leave the correct answer to. Unusual version is in this book.

The correct answers to the riddles of Leonardo da Vinci:

1. The farmers.

2. Shoemakers.

3. On extinguishing candles for those who go to bed.

4. Balls for the game.

5. Animals carry guns.

6. About nuts, olives, acorns, chestnuts and the like.

7. The handle of the ax.

8. Iron extracted from the ground is dead, and weapons are made from it that cause the death of so many people.

9. About church services, funerals, and processions, and candles, and bells, and priests.

10. On the paintings of saints who are worshiped.

11. About beating a bed to correct it

12. On the reflection of city walls in the water of their moats.

Leonardo da Vinci’s predictions are translated into Russian from the publication Leonardo da Vinci. Selected Works in Two Volumes. Editorial by A. K. Dzhivelegov and A. M. Efros (1935, reprinted by Artemy Lebedev Studio in 2010).

Title illustration: Leonardo da Vinci in the image of Plato (left) and Aristotle in the fresco of Raphael "Athenian school".

Collected: Natalya Azarenko, Natalya Kandaurova
This text was originally published in Russian and automatically translated to English.