I was in Boise, Idaho, this past summer where the Science Center hosted the traveling hands-on exhibit of Leonardo Da Vinci “Man-Artist-Genius”. My sister Peggy, my mother, and I wandered through the exhibit playing with the wooden replicas and stopping in front of the reproduction canvases. We read the the information plaques beside each replica; more than a few plaques explained how DaVinci was notorious for not completing his commissions.
At one point, we stopped in front of a reproduction of Baptism Of Christ (c. 1472) by Verrocchio. The plaque explained that this painting was a collaboration between DaVinci and Verrocchio, who was the young DaVinci’s mentor.
“You know,” Peggy explained, “the only part of this painting that DaVinci painted was the little angel.” She pointed to the angel on the left of the painting, a beautiful angel in profile holding a mantle.
“They say that once DaVinci painted this angel, the painter Verrochio said he should give up,” she continued, “He claimed he could never compete.”
“Well, he put his emotion on the face of the other angel,” I laughed and pointed to the little angel’s companion. The serene expression on Verrocchio’s angel’s face (on the right) has a glint of frustration; his “WTF?” gaze to the heavens upstages the baptism scene happening above him.
“He’s rolling his eyes!” I chuckled, “as if he’s saying, ‘Really? I have to be compared to DaVinci?'”
We stood there laughing at Verrocchio’s metaphoric frustration. I took a picture of the two little angels with my cell phone.
This past week, I was in Florence, Italy, for the International Conference for Information Communication Technologies (ICTs)in Language Learning. I had the opportunity to visit the Uffizi Gallery its collection of Renaissance art.
On the third floor, I found Verrocchio’s Baptism Of Christ. There was the DaVinci angel, beautiful and radiant, and beside him, there was his annoyed companion. I took another picture with my cell phone of the little pair of angels.
Two cell phone photos, one taken in Boise, one taken in Florence of two angels. One is beautiful, and one serenely irritated…..who could compete with DaVinci?