That Da Vinci guy again!

Posted on January 8, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Music, Science, Spirituality |

I’ve had Leonardo on the brain recently. I don’t mean the actor, although he is splendid, but the great inventor, artist, and scientist. I have learned to pay attention when a topic presents itself to my awareness, sometimes several times within a few days. Such was the case with Leonardo, intruding into my life with a frequency which could not be ignored.

First was the recent article about yet another new “Da Vinci code”. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you are familiar with the book and movie The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I have read the book, seen the film, and found it all provocative with much food for thought. I was spiritually unoffended yet not ready to completely jump into the theology as presented. It mattered not a whit to me that “many” of the “claims” of the “story” (sorry, got carried away by “quotes”) were “unproven”. It was, after all, a novel. Many, many novels have allowed me to see reality from a new point of view, and this was one of them.

The “new” Da Vinci code fascinated me because it was a musical code found in The Last Supper by a researcher in Italy. As a musician who adores early and medieval music and spiritual mysticism, I can hardly wait for the author to be translated into English. This link takes us to an excellent article in Discovery online magazine, which has further links to some other Da Vinci material, including attempts to repair that same Last Supper. One thing I discovered on Discovery was that Da Vinci was an accomplished lyre player. Got to love that about him! [Edit: sometimes the embedded link works; other times it might take you to an “expired” page. If that happens try this one, and look for the words “Italian Musician”.]


After becoming aware of the music article, I was driving home from the supermarket, as usual listening to NPR radio. An interview with Fritjof Capra came on. My ears perked up as I’d read Capra’s The Tao of Physics several times. This book may be responsible for starting up my lifelong love of physics and spirituality as sister sciences. Anyway, what was Capra there to talk about but his new book? The title? The Science of Leonardo !!! My ears were now so perky they were nearly flying off my face. You can hear the 8-minute interview here, and read more about the book here.

Finally, and most dramatically (in many ways) I was sent a link in an email which featured a play produced exclusively for the Internet. The play is directed by and stars Kevin Spacey, along with Thandie Newton and Elliot Cowan. It runs about 10 minutes, and is beautifully produced. In it, Spacey, as interrogator, questions the artist and scientist about why he left so much unfinished; the relevance of his inventions in modern times; and, even, the nature of time itself. Da Vinci’s most famous artist’s model appears to answer some questions of her own. If you take nothing else from this post, Do See The Play! (Be sure to click the 2X button.)

I’ll post more about my relationship with Leonardo, since I apparently have one. Here’s hoping you enjoy.

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14 Responses to “That Da Vinci guy again!”

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I’m afraid I only managed 50 pages of Brown’s book before giving up on it. I’d researched the subject so much in the past that I realised exactly where it was going.
Just a thought on Leonardo. Whilst we love his art today, we must remember he was the equivalent of a pop artist at the time, merely fulfilling contracts in order to live.
Knowing his more mystical frame of mind, it is quite probable he played games with his art to put one over on the Christian establishment. For instance, one theory is that the Holy Shroud is his facial image atop a cadavar, made with a ‘camera’ he designed.
With all this, I can’t get it out of my mind that Leonardo may be having a joke with us still.

I’ve long been fascinated by Leonardo (painter, scientist, engineer; was there ever a more diversely talented person?) but I’ve never quite got the fuss about The Da Vinci Code. It’s a good quick read, but I’m with you: it’s a novel. I think people have seen too much into it and used it for their own agendas. My main problem’s that personally I don’t think it’s that well written; there’s a big difference between the writing style of Code and Brown’s earlier works, like the editing was cut back because of his successes. I thought Michael Cordy’s The Miracle Strain was a stronger and more thought-provoking novel.

I had no idea about Capra’s new book as well. Interesting to see something examining Leonardo’s science in the context of his art, how they’re indistinguishable… I’ll definitely have to check it out! And it plays in well with the play. I’m not sure I’ve seen a play like it before, produced for online audiences… I hope they do more. Very well acted and an interesting take on the Mona Lisa, one I agree with; much as we might want to know the truth about the painting’s creation, it’s the inspiration it has given millions of people that matters more, what it means to each of us… that’s what makes it timeless.

Thanks for the links, Muse. I’ll pass the link to the play along to a few people over here; I’m sure they’ll love it. πŸ™‚

Reading this I just have realized that I have the book for about over two years and have given up on it..Come back later to read and see the rest of ur post..

Anthony, nothing to be afraid of there! I agree with cj (see below) that the book is not very well written, and questionably researched. What particularly fascinated me was the fuss it stirred up. It taught a lot of people to ask questions about assumptions, and, it brought this already famous renaissance fellow to the forefront again. His creations are surely worth reexamining, and much of his tinkering was done during his “off”-hours.

I enjoyed what you said about him having a joke off on us (and the church). I think there is evidence for this, and just as J.S. Bach left many jokes and puzzles in his music, da Vinci seemed quite capable intellectually and temperamentally so to do. πŸ™‚

I’m so glad you watched the play, cj! It’s splendid and unique, isn’t it? Please do share it with anyone you wish. I said a bit about the fuss Dan Brown’s book caused in my reply to Anthony above. It’s not the quality of the writing, plot, or historical accuracy–all of which is less than enticing–but the fact that it did stir us up as a culture to re-consider some long-held “truths”. A similar book for me was The Celestine Prophesy by Redfield. Fairly appalling writing, really, and I don’t agree with many of the author’s conclusions. It did get me to look at some new ideas, and to see some old ones with new eyes. I can appreciate that even if, given my “druthers”, I’d rather have the thing well written, too!

I’m working on getting my hands on the new Capra book. Can’t wait to dig in! I so appreciated your thoughtful comment, cj, thanks! πŸ˜€

CV, which book? Do you mean Brown’s book? If you mean Pala’s book, then you must read Italian, as it hasn’t been released in English or French yet! I think you mean the Da Vinci Code, though, and yes, it is a bit tedious. I think the book is worth a read, but, even though it stars wonderful Tom Hanks, the movie could be passed up. I believe a sequel is being made, also starring Hanks. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with that. I’d love to know what you think of the play!

Thank you so much for offering up such delightful & soulfoul wisdom to this group of us out here on the i-way. I love to visit your site! Thanks for finding me.

whoops! soulFULL! …..silly me………

Sorry not to have been more explicit but I mean Brown’s book…Actually, I just looked up where I left the bookmark, page 34..

Thank you yogini. I feel blessed to be able to visit your site as well. I actually liked your typo, and then your correction of it! There’s some synchronicity there. I hope you won’t mind me saying this, because gosh knows I’ve made my share of typos, but, sometimes my soul has gone a-foul πŸ™‚ , and one of the ways I’m able to get back on track is to blog and exchange ideas with thoughtful souls such as yourself! πŸ˜€

CV, thanks for coming back! If you’d read Pala’s book already, then I was going to be envious! πŸ˜‰ So, page 34 in Brown’s book. I wonder if you will like it, when all is said and done.

The play was wonderful! Thanks so much Muse. πŸ™‚

Isn’t it splendid, brightfeather? I’m so glad you vauled it, too. Do share it if you feel others will be interested. πŸ˜€

Brown’s book struck me like a Maeve Binchy novel — written by someone who’s an indifferent-to-bad writer but a fabulous storyteller. Too many striving writer, imo, focus on the mechanics of the first but can’t be bothered with the need for the second or just don’t have the knack for it.

I had a little relationship with Leonardo years ago. I’ll save it till the next installment!

Interesting analysis, ellaella. I’ve read almost everything Binchy has written, and I agree wholeheartedly. The characters and situations are intriguing, the writing is so-so. I have enjoyed reading about Irish life, even in the Greek one.
So, you have a relationship with our Leo? Should I be jealous? Well, there’s enough Leonardo to go around. Let me know if you watched/liked the Internet play.

Nope, no reason to be jealous. I do want to watch the play. Will let you know! (I really like this theme! Your blog is great.)

Thanks so much ellaella! It makes me feel good to read that you like my blog! I’m pretty eclectic, and plan to post some more on science and music soon. Well, I’m very curious about your relationship with Leo. Shall you be posting about it?

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