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Have you ever thought who taught Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rembrandt or Vemeer?

Updated: Feb 19


Statue of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci

It's not the first train of thought I have had along those lines. Have you ever thought who taught Leonardo Da Vinci?

You could apply the same question to scientists like Einstein, Oppenheimer and many more brilliant people.

A family tutor of Einstein, Max Talmud, said that only a short time after he had given the twelve year old a geometry textbook, the boy "had worked through the whole book. He thereupon devoted himself to higher mathematics ... "Soon the flight of his mathematical genius was so high I could not follow."


Why, at twelve did he invest in higher mathematics and who or what drove him to do so? Was it his parents or something innate?



So what's my point and I guess my question? 

Why do we need to know? We need to know because it appears that humans are naturally disposed to add value to things by investment. Investment adds value in many many ways. Most people when asked about the word investment will follow the thread of trying to gain monetary advantage. Let's consider for one moment that's it’s not just that. Let's consider that it is about achieving satisfaction, knowledge, well-being and unconscious reward.

Why do I produce art and more interestingly why did the artists in my title? Were they driven, was it a conscious or an innate desire to gain advantage or achieve a state of well-being?

Lots of questions and, more than likely, someone somewhere will have the answers. But, who says they are correct? My point is that we always have to quantify and qualify our values and seek advantage. Is that a result of the society we have created or is it a function of something else?As I grow older I constantly question why the human race seems bent on self-annihilation. It's depressing and completely at odds, at least to me, to the human values that drove those masters of perfection and expression. They produced art that we now greatly value but what value did it give to them at the time?.


Was Michelangelo driven to produce artworks for the church for monetary gain only?

Church and Religion; an apparent human invention, driven by a higher power, for what purpose? Many times I struggle to understand or agree with the reasons I am given and as I watch the actions of retaliation, justification and lunacy I despair and question the word often used; faith. Apparently faith is based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

As humans we create and perceive value for ourselves in many ways; Art, Rarity, Use and Product and perhaps we could add Faith. Interestingly the first and the last of those listed are subjective. I'm sure you will be able to add further to that list as well. Our children add value to our lives for example so perhaps we should add procreation to that list. Unfortunately, we then add legitimacy to these values by creating rules to accompany them so that others can value them as well.


The thinker wood carving
Why am I doing this?

I started creating art a few years ago. I consider myself self-taught by investment. My first attempts were poor. I watched others, I read books by others who wanted to impart what they had learned to me. I practiced and made hundreds of mistakes. I posted on forums of my peers, hated the feedback, took it personally at first, until one day I asked myself the question. 


Why am I doing this? I didn't do art at school; I followed a science and maths route. I was rubbish at languages, but did acquire an ability to do most things at a reasonable enough standard to get by. When it came to sport and indeed anything that required hand eye coordination I was above average. So to answer your question I did it and still do it because I enjoy it and get great satisfaction from it. Is it ego? Possibly.

I certainly enjoy people appreciating what I create and get encouraged to create more. I am flattered when people ask me to produce commissions for them, and like most artists I regularly feel what I produce isn't good enough. Did Leonardo feel the same or did he just have faith?


That's really the point of this post. Art and artistic works are one of the few things we create that shouldn't have to comply with rules. Composition shouldn't have rules. Colour wheels don't have to be adhered to because someone somewhere says so. Having studied both in detail and then compared them with nature I regularly find anomalies to these rules. I accept though that they are guides, tricks of the trade, which artists have developed, in collaboration, to fool the eye and simulate nature. We take a three dimensional subject and put it onto a flat one dimensional substrate, how else can we do it? We might even add other dimensions such as sound and smell to add to the illusion.


Investment in art is something I will continue to do and I've realised that it’s not about personal gain, politics, fashion or religion. It’s because I'm driven to do so and I still haven't completely figured out why........


If you have your own views on the subject I would be really interested to hear them. Please add your own views in the comments section.



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