Cornell University Library


623.L55F88 1922

Leonardo da Vinci

P s V cnose *";? ? , S
1! l




1924 016 782 363

There are no known copyright restrictions text.Cornell University Library The original of this book is in the Cornell University Library.archive. in the United States on the use of the .





D. Professor in the University of Vienna A.. BRILL. Translated by M. : TRUBNER & CO. Lecturer in Psycho-Analysis and Abnormal Psychology in the New York University REPRINT OF THE AMERICAN EDITION WITH A PREFACE By ERNEST JONES. Ph.. President of the International Psycho.P. Lond.4 1922 u .C.D... A. TRENCH. LTD. Ll.Leonardo da Vinci A Psychosexual Study of an Infantile Reminiscence By SIGMUND FREUD. M.B. Broadway House 68-74 Carter Lane. M.R. M.Analytical Association AND FOUR PLATES LONDON KEGAN PAUL.D. E.C.D..


January ig22...PUBLISHERS' NOTE This edition of Professor Freud's wellknown book " Leonardo da Vinci " has been ' reproduced. Moffat. American edition published by Yard & Co. Dr Ernest Jones short Preface has kindly added a to this edition. designed to meet the English demand for the book. on account of the very high price (%s) at which that edition is issued. Trench. from the Messrs. Trubner & Co. of New York. Ltd. by the newly invented Manul process. It is by arrangement with them. Keg an Paul. . which cannot be advantageously supplied by the importation of copies of the American edition.


The study is based on the solitary mention Leonardo makes of his childhood. him and with other known of this Leonardo's In the fascinating study resulting from light procedure he has thrown a flood of on one of the history. have decided to increase in acquiring the rights of sale by England and issuing the accessibility little book afresh. With a book already so well-known seems needed by in way of Preface. akin to a piece of archaeological reconstruction. but its unique occurrence and call for explanation. it Professor Freud has dealt with tasies by comparing with similar phanfacts analysed by life. It is a brilliant example of the way which knowledge based on the detailed psycho-analysis of living persons can be made use of to throw light on the deeper springs of character in those to direct investigation. Trench. Trubner & Co. if we are not such happenings it as being causeless. whose mind is. December 1921 . most remarkable and interesting personalities of ERNEST JONES.PREFACE By Dr ERNEST JONES This American translation of Professor Freud's study of Leonarao da Vinci has been available to the English speaking public for some time. is not accessible T^e_process therefore. but Messrs. Kegan its Paul. evidence which most psychologists would have passed by as being flimsy and meaningless extraordinary nature both to dismiss .


ILLUSTRATIONS Leonardo Da Vinci Frontispiece FACING FACE MonaLisa Saint 78 86 Anne Jolm the Baptist 94 .


It does not strive "to blacken the radiant and to drag the sublime into the mire".LEONARDO DA VINCI When rial. psychoanalytic investigation. it is not impelled to it by motives which by laymen. it finds no satisfaction in diminishing the distance between the perfection of the great. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was adare often attributed to it . and it also believes that none is so big as to be ashamed of being subject to the laws which control the normal and morbid actions with the same strictness. which usually contents itself with frail human mate- approaches the great personages of humanity. and the inadequacy of the ordinary objects. But it cannot help finding that everything is worthy of understanding that can be perceived through those prototypes.



mired even by his contemporaries as one of the greatest men of the Italian Renaissance, still even then he appeared as mysterious to them as he now appears to us. An all-sided genius, "whose form can only be divined but never deeply fathomed," * he exerted the most decisive influence on his time as an artist; and it remained to us to recognize his greatness as a naturalist which was united in him with the artist. Although he left masterpieces of the
art of painting, while his scientific discoveries

remained unpublished and unused, theJnxgsti"gator in him has never quite left the artist, often it has severely injured the artist and in the end it has perhaps suppressed the artist altogether. According to Vasari, Leonardo reproached himself during the last hour of his life for having insulted God and men because he has not done his duty to his art. 2 And even

Vasari's story lacks



and be-

longs to those legends which began to be


about the mystic master while he was

still liv-

l In the words of J. Burckhard, cited by Alexandra Konstantinowa, Die Entwicklung des Madonnentypus by Leonardo da Vinci Strassburg, 1907. *Vite, cte. LXXXI1I. 1550-1584.

ing, it nevertheless retains indisputable


as a testimonial of the judgment of those people and of those times. What was it that removed the personality of Leonardo from the understanding- of his con-


Certainly not the



ness of his capacities and knowledge, which al-

lowed him to install himself as a player of the lyre on an instrument invented "by himself, in the court of Lodovico Sforza, nicknamed II Moro, the Duke of Milan, or which allowed him to write to the same person that remarkable letter in which he boasts of his abilities as For the combia civil and military engineer. nation of manifold talents in the same person was not unusual in the times of the Renaissance; to be sure Leonardo himself furnished one of the most splendid examples of such persons. Nor did he belong fo that type of geuial person? who are outwardly poorly endowed by nature? and who on their side place no value on the oifter forms of life, and in the painful gloominess of their feelings fly from human


the contrary he





of consummate beauty of



countenance and of unusual physical strengtn, he was charming in his manner, a master of




affectionate to every-

loved beauty in the objects of his surr9undings, he was fond of wearing magnificent garments


and appreciated every refinement of conduct. In his treatise 3 on the art of painting he compares in a significant passage the art of painting with its sister arts and
thus discusses the

of the sculptor:


his face



smeared and pow-

dered with marble dust, so that he looks like a
baker, he

covered with small marble splinit

seems as if it snowed on his back, and his house is full of stone splinters,
so that




case of the painter
for the


quite difis






with great comfort before his work, -he gently and very lightly brushes in the

dressed and

wears as decorative clothes as he likes, and his house is filled with beautiful paintings and is spotlessly clean. He company, music, or some one may often enjoys
3 Traktat von der Malerei, new edition and introduction by Marie Herzfeld, E. Diederichs, Jena, 1909.


to lead an unsteady and unsuccessful life until his last is asylum in France.LEONARDO DA VINCI read for him various nice works. undisturbed by any pounding from the hammer and other noises. From now of the rule of Lodovico when the downfall Moro forced him to leave Milan. All his efforts with pale came s which." It is quite possible that the conception * of a beaming ter's life. he wasted his time instead of diligently filling orders and be- coming rich as perhaps his former classmate Perugino. his sphere of action and his as- sured position. or even caused them to suspect him of being in the service of the "black . jovial only for the first and happy Leonardo was true and longer period of the mason. it possible that the luster of his disposition be- and some odd features of his character became more prominent. The turning of his interest from his art to science which increased with age must have also been responsible for widening the gap between himself and his contemporaries. seemed to his contemporaries as capricious playing. according to their opinion. and 5 all this can be listened to with great pleasure.

the . or when he studied the nourishment of plants and their be- havior towards poisons." LEONARDO BA VINCI We who know him from his sketches which the understand him better. he the forerunner. ings. When be- he dissected cadavers of horses and human and built flying apparatus. .6 art. authority of the church began to be substituted by that of antiquity and in which only theoretical investigation existed. The effect that this had on his paintings was ^hat less he disliked to handle the brush. in came nearer the despised the whose experimental investigations found some refuge during these unfavorable times. he naturally deviated much from laboratories the commentators of Aristotle and alchemists. It was this mode of working that was held up to him as a reproach from his contem- poraries to whom his behavior to his art re- mained a riddle. he painted and what was more often the and case. was necessarily isolated. things he began were mostly left unfinished he cared less less for the future fate of his works. or better the worthy competitor of Bacon and In a time in Copernicus.

They maintained that what is blamed in Leonardo is a general charThey said that even acteristic of great artists. he has a faint notion of a perfection which he despairs of reproducing in likeness. and what the layman would still call a masterpiece may appear to the creator of the work of art as an unsatisfied embodiment of his intentions. Besides some pic- tures were not as unfinished as he elaimed. the energetic Michelangelo who was absorbed in his work left many incompleted works. The painful struggle with the work. but this behavior shown in Leonardo to high- .LEONARDO DA VINCI 7 Many of Leonardo's later admirers have attempted to wipe off the stain of unsteadiness from his character. the final flight from it and the indifference to its future fate may be seen in is many other artists. Least of all should the artist be held responsible for the fate which befalls his works. As plausible as some of these excuses may sound they nevertheless do not explain the whole state of affairs which we find in Leonardo. which was as little due to his fault as to Leonardo's in the same case.

che egli scorgeva errori in quelle cose. Solmi 4 pression of one of his pupils : cominciata." The slowness with which Leonardo worked was proverbial. After the most thorough preliminary studies he painted The Holy Supper for three years in the cloister of Santa Maria 4 Solmi. agguaglio Vinci Divo. . Leonardo da Vinci. 1010. miliar inability of Leonardo to il works "Protogen che penel di sue pitture il Non levava.est LEONARDO DA VINCI degree. Milan. Di cui opra non e finita pure. John the Baptist. tal Bacchus and unfinished St. resurrezione dell' opera di Leonardo in the colConferenze Florentine. remained cose sue." "come quasi intervenne di tutte le Lomazzo. considerando la grandezza dell'arte.5 who finished a copy of refers in a sonnet to the fafinish his The Holy Supper. quando si poneva a dipingere. the Madonna di Saint Onofrio. Leda. Leonardo da Vinci. 12) the ex"Pareva. 1900." His last pictures. che ad altri parevano miracoli. che ad ogni ora tremasse.: 8 . Edm. La lected 5 work. Scognamiglio Ricerche e Documenti sulla eiovmezza di Napoli. e pero no diede mai fine ad alcuna cosa cites (p.

never thinking of eating or drinking. der Wendepunkt d?r I. Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci. a One of his contem- poraries.LEONARDO DA VINCI delle 9 Grazie in Milan. without being able to bring it to completion. 203. 1909. to the cloister At other times he came directly from the palace of the Milanese Castle where he formed the model of the eques- trian statue for Francesco Sforza. relates that Leonardo often ascended the scaffold very early in the morning and did not leave the brush out of his hand until twilight. some- who was then times he remained for hours before the paint- ing and derived satisfaction from studying it by himself. young monk in the cloister. the writer of novels. Bd. p. in order to add a few strokes with the brush to one of the figures and then stopped immediately. . This circumstance may also account for the fact that it was never delivered to the one who ordered it but remained with Leonardo who took it with him to tine 6 W. Matteo Bandelli. Then days passed without putting his hand on it. the wife of the Florende Gioconda. v. Seidlitr. 8 According to Vasari he worked for years on the portrait of Monife Lisa.

v. Seidlhz. II. 7 LEONARDO DA VINCI Having been I. c. artist .behind his ideal pur- The slowness which was striking in Leonardo's works from the very beginning proved to be a symptom of his inh ibition a forerunner of his turning away from painting which manifested itself later. and When an inhibition in France. 8 It was this . 1. one is bound altogether to rejecPthe idea that traits of Mightiness and unsteadiness exerted the slightest influence on Leonardo's relation to his art. a richness in possibilities in which a decision could be reached only hestitatingly. «W 1910- Bd. p. p.. 107 The Macmillau Co. The Renaissance." almost ceased to be an . one compares these reports about Leonardo's way of working with the evidence of the extraordinary amount of sketches and studies left by him. one period of his life he had Pater. > W.back- wardness of the pose. execution which could not even be explained by the inevitable . claims which could hardly be satisfied. 48. On the contrary one notices a very_extraordinary absorption in work. it Francis now forms one procured by King of the greatest treasures of the Louvre. is "Rut it certain that at artist.

LEONARDO DA VINCI n slowness which aecided the not undeserving Leonardo could not fate of The-Horyfeupper. the drying of which permitted him to complete the picture according to his leisure. picture of the cavalry battle of An- which in competition with Michelangelo he began to paint later on a wall of the Sala de Consiglio in Florence and which he also left in an unfinished state. mood and But these colors separated themselves from the background upon which they were painted and which isolated them from the brick wall the blemishes of this wall and the vicissitudes to which the room was sub. first reenforced the only later to damage the art production. 9 The ghiari. ess. v Seidlitz Bd. I die 'Cf. und Rettungsversuche. that of the experimenter. jected seemingly contributed to the inevitable deterioration of the picture. take kindly to the art of fresco painting which demands quick work while the background is still moist. seemed to have perished through the failure of a similar technical procIt seems here as if a peculiar interest. it Was for this reason that he chose oil colors. at artistic. Geschichte der Restorations — .

Paris. Leonard de Vinci. time when every individual sought to gain the widest latitude for his activity. p. (out this effeminate delicacy of feeling)did not prevent him from accompanying was mild and kind * "Mfintz. Leonardo biologo e anatomico. . condemned war and bloodshed and designated man not so much as the king of the animal world.12 LEONARDO DA VINCI The character of the man Leonardo evinces some other unusual traits and apparent Thus a certain inactivity and At a indifference seemed very evident in him. 18. to all. he surprised every one through his quiet peacefulness. 186. p. his shun- ning of all competition and controversies. 1910. which could not take place without the development of energetic aggression towards others. He he was said to have rejected a meat diet because he did not consider it just to rob animals of their lives. Conferenze : Florentine. Botazzi.) 11 F. 1899. and one of his special pleasures was to buy caged 10 He birds in the market and set them free. but rather as the worst of the wild 11 beasts. (A letter of a contemporary from India to a Medici alludes to this peculiarity of Leonardo Given by Richter The literary Works of Leonardo da Vinci. still contradictions.

as happens in most biographies throngh discretion or prudery.. LEONARDO DA VINCI 13 condemned criminals on their way to execution in order to study and sketch in-his notebook their features. He held a high position in Cesare's campaign which gained for this most inconsidCesare and most faithless of foes the possession of the Re magna. constant struggle between riotous licentiousa . In a period where there was. If a biographical effort really endeavors to penetrate the understanding of the psychic life of its hero it must not. nor did it prevent him from inventing the most cruel offensive weapons. pass over in silence the sexual activity or the sex peculiarity of the one examined. Not a single line of Leonardo's sketches betrays any criticism or sympathy erate of the events of those days. The comparison with Goethe during the French campaign cannot here be altogether rejected. and from entering the service of Borgia as chief military engineer. What we know about it in Leonardo is very little but full of significance. distorted by fear. Often he seemed to be indifferent to good and evil. or he had to be measured with a special standard.

1906. sented an example of cool sexual rejection which one would not expect in an artist and a portrayer of feminine beauty. animal fables. They evade everything sexual so thoroughly. as if Eros alone who preserves everything living was no worthy material for the scientific 12 £. 13 are chaste to a degree one might say abstinent belle lettres —that in a work of would excite wonder even to-day. Solmi: Leonardo da Vinci German Translation by Eouni Hirschberg. . prophecies). Jena. Leonardo pre- . witticisms.— LEONARDO DA VINCI 14 ness and gloomy asceticism. 1908 *• Marie Herzfeld: Leonardo da Vinci der Denker. Solmi " cites the following sentence from Leonardo showing his frigidity f "The act of procreation and everything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if it were not a traditional custom and if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions.") His posthumous works which not only 1 : treat of the greatest scientific problems but also comprise the most guileless objects which to us do not seem worthy of so great a mind (an allegorical natural history. Berlin. Forscher und Poet Second edition.

LEONARDO DA impulse of the investigator. 14 VINCI It is 15= known how frequently great artists found pleasure in giv- ing vent to their phantasies in erotic and even grossly obscene representations.ihe with other woman's internal genwomb. Leonardo da — Vinci. voi mi farete peggio." . in contradis- tincH5h~to this Leonardo left only some anatomical drawings of the itals. Herzfeld. ora s'io lo fo grande. 11 According to Scognatniglio (1. 49) reference is made to this episode in an obscure and even variously interpreted passage of the Codex Atlanticus : "Quando io feci Domeneddio putto voi mi metteste in prigione. His collected witticisms—belle facezie. doubtful whether Leonardo ever em- young men were It accused of forbidden homosexual relations in his acquittal. Cf. seems that he came into this suspicion because he employed 15 as a model a boy of evil repute. p. 15*. the position of the child in the fit is braced a woman in love. c. nor is it known that he ever entertained an intimate spiritual relation with a woman as in the case of Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna^ While he still lived as an apprentice in the house of his master Verrocchio. etc. which are not may be an exception. When he surrounded himself with bandwas a master he 14 which ended translated. p.

knowledge approached the soluBut a writer. The peculiarity of this emotional ual life viewed in connection with Leonardo's double nature as an artist and investiga- tor can be grasped only in one way. only one. it may be thought by far more probable that the affectionate relationships of Leonardo to the young men did not result in sexual activity. remained with him until his death. The last of these pupils Francesco Melzi. . Edrn.16 LEONARDO DA VINCI some boys and youths whom he took as pupils. accompanied him to France. Soltni. who naturally reject the possibility of a sexual relation between himself and his pupils as a baseless insult to this great man. Dimitri Sergewitsch Merejkowski. Of the biographers to whom psychological viewpoints! are often very foreign. and if not in dry has to tion my of the riddle. modern biographers. and was named by him as his Without sharing the certainty of his heir. NorjhouM one attribute to him a high and sex- measure of sexuai activity. who selected Leonardo as the hero of a great historical novel has based his delineation on such an understanding of this unusual man.

c. Solmi 1. P. of which the first volume is Julian Apostata. "JSTessuna cosa si pi/ib amare ne di queila. an essay of the Conferenze Fiorentine the utterances of Leonardo are cited. .LEONARDO DA VINCI 16 17 in plas- words he gave unmistakable utterance tic expression in the manner of a poet. p. which show his confession of faith and furnish the key to his character. of its naturej And the same is repeated by Leonardo in a passage of the Treaties on the Art of Painting where he seems 16 Merejkowski: The Romanes o Leonardo da Vinci. p." 17 In. and with cold perfect. c. 193. Solmi judges Leonardo as follows: "But the unrequited desire to understand everything sur- rounding him. *« Filippo Botazzi. It form* the second of the historical Trilogy entitled Christ and Anti-Christ. G. and the third volume is Pater the Creai and Alsxei. translated by Herbert Trench. se 18 prima no si ha cognition That is: ( One has no right to love or to hjatejmything^ifjane has not acquired a thqroughknowlecige." odiare. New York. reflection to dis is cover the deepest secret of everything that has condemned Leonardo's works to remain forever unfinished. 17 1. 46. Putnam Sons.

and Leonardo must have known this as well as we do. 1909 (Chap. for what they maintain ia obviously false. by thought and reflection. if anything. . Leonardo 19 Marie Herzfeld: Leonardo da Vinci.: 18 to LEONARDO DA VINCI defend himself against the accusation of ir- religiousness "But such censurers might better remain siFor that action is the manner of showlent. Jena. Malerei." 19 The value of these utterances of Leonardo cannot be found in that they impart to us an important psychological fact. and this is the way to love so great a discoverer. 64). For. and if you little know it you will be able to love it only little or not at all. It is not true that people refrain from loving or hat- ing until they have studied and became familiar with the nature of the object to whom they wish to give these affects. ing the workmaster so many wonderful things. on the contrary they love impulsively and are guided by emotional motives which have nothing to do with cognition and whose affects are weakened. Traktat von der I. verily great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object.

but questioned himself whence does that arise. he neither loved nor hated. and thus he was at first forced to appear indifferent to good and evil. As a matter of fact Leonardo was investigation love not dispassionate } he did not lack the divine spark which is the mediate or immediate motive power ity.— LEONARDO DA by people is VINCI . one should so love as to hold back the affect and to subject tion. and what does it signify. During this work of to beauty and ugliness.-19C only could have implied that the love practiced not of the proper and unobjectionto mental elabora- able kind. which he was to love or hate. il He primo motore of all human activonly transmuted his passion into in- — . so. intellect should free play be given to And we thereby understand that he wishes to tell us that this was the case with himself and that else would be worth the effort of everybody to treat love and hatred as he himself does. And His affects and hatred threw off their designs and uniformly changed into intellectual interest. it and only after it has stood the test of the it. it it * seems that in his case it was really were controlled and subjected to the investigation impulse.

in which Leonardo celebrated the higher impulse of nature fr . Solmi has correctly divmed this process of transformation in Leonardo According to the quotation of such a passage. u. . steadiness. trasfiguraztone della scienza della natura in emozione. etc. p. . . so 11 . he allowed the long checked break loose and to flow off freely like it has accomplished affect to a branch of a stream. is one of the characteristic traits of da Vinci's manuscripts. after its work. . religiosa. or Iiundteis of times. e uno dei tratti caratteristici de manescritti vinciani. or gious cloak— the greatness of the creator." 20 "Such transfiguration of science and of nature into emoone migWt say. and profundity which comes from passion. quasi direi. At the height of his cognition when he could examine a big part of the whole he was seized with a feeling of plnlos.")hesaid: "Tale ( O mirabile necessita ecstatic — . which one finds expressed tions. and in words he praised the grandeur of that in relipart of creation which he studied." Solmi: La resurreiione. religion.20 LEONARDO DA VINCI He then applied quisiti^eness. e si trova cento e cento volte espressa. after the cognition was won. himself to study with that persistence. and on the height of the psychic work.

Onejias investigated instead of hav_ it. ' perhaps for this reason that in love than Leonardo's life wasso much poorer those of other great men and great artists. the fact that the possible retranstormation of the desire for investigation into the joys of life which is presupposed in the Faust tragit is edy. one remains beyond love and hatred. is ing loved. "When one reaches cognition he neither loves nor hates properly. Leonardo's example how many other things one must follow teaches up in these processes. one might venture to remark that Leon- ardo's system recalls Spinoza's ing. which others experience the . The storming passions of the soul-stirring and in consuming kind.LEONARDO DA VINCI Leonardo was called the Italian 21 ac- Faust on count of his insatiable and indefatigable desire But even if we disregard for investigation. Not to love before one gains full knowledge of the thing loved pre- supposes a delay which finally is harmful. mode of think- The transformation into the different of psychic motive powei activity is perhaps forms of as little convertible without loss. as in the case of physical powers.

21 La resurrezione. the world in which the insignificant is no less wonderful and important than the great.. . he no longer wished to acquire science for art. p» 8: "Leonardo placed the study of nature as a precept to painting . of color. Solmi thinks that Leonardo's investigations 21 he tried to investigate the attributes and laws of light. He who insig- grandeurjjf the umverSe and_its needs readily. It started with his art.22 LEONARDO DA VINCI best part of their lives. jbegins to divine the Instead of acting land producing one just investigates. . seem to have missed him. own When one is is struck with admieasily for- ration and becomes truly gets that he himself force. of shades and of perspective so as to be sure of becoming a master in the imitation of nature and to be able to show the way to others. humble he a part of that living and that according to the measure of his own personality he has the right to make an effort to change that destined course of the world. forgets his nificant self. etc. There are still other consequences when one follows Leonardo's dictum." . later the passion for study became dominating. but science for science' sake.

he was then driven further and further to investigate the objects of the art of painting. non His inves- tigations were thus extended over almost all realms of natural science. and the proportions of the human body. and to follow the path from their exterior to their interior structure and biological functions. until he could enter in his book with capital letters the cognition si : // sole move (The sun does not move). which really also express themselves in their appearance and should be depicted in art. 22 However. so that of the stratification and fossilization of the Arno-valley. in every one of which he was a discoverer or at least a prophet or forerunner.LEONARDO DA VINCI is 23 probable that already at that time he over- estimated the value of this knowledge for the artist Following the guide-rope of the painter's need. his scientific curiosity contin- ued to be directed to the outer world. some- M For an enumeration of his attainments see Marie . such as animals and plants. And finally he was pulled along by this overwhelming desire until the connection was torn from the de- mands of he discovered the general laws of mechanics and divined the history his art.

there 'for psychology in the was little room "Academia Vinciana. all that was connected with it in his thoughts. and bewas interested hind this one he saw emerging numerous other problems just as he was accustomed in the endless and indeterminable investigations of natural history. into his service The artist had once taken Herzfeld's interesting introduction (Jena. to tear it out from that great connection of it which he knew formed part. He was no longer able to limit his demands." for which he drew very artistic and very complicated emblems. When he later made the effort to return from from which he started he felt thai: he was disturbed by the new paths of his interest and by the changed his investigations to the art In the picture he above all in a problem. and nature of his psychic work. to isolate the work of art. or to declare incomplete. . After the most exhausting efforts to bring to expression all that was in him. 1906) to the essays of the Conference Florentine. he was forced to leave it it un- finished. 1910.24 LEONARDO DA VINCI away from the investigation of life thing kept him the psychic of men. and elsewhere.

. When we find in the portrait of a person one single impulse very forcibly developed. Such person would then.. . concerning its probable organic determination hardly anything is known. l e.LEONARDO DA VINCI fac the investigator to assist him. and the place of a part of the sexual life. We consider prob- able that this very forcible impulse was already active in the earliest childhood of the person.We would most other cases of special intensity of an impulse. we look for the explanation in a special constitution. now the servant was stronger and suppressed his master. as curiosity in the case of Leonardo. to his love. but also in ovin g. investigate with that passionate devotion which another would give and he c ould investigate instead o f venture the conclusion of a sexual reenforcement not only in the impulse to investigate. Our psychoanalytic studies of nervous people lead us to look for two other expectations which verified in we would like to find it every case.g. supreme sway was fixed by infanwe further assume that originally it drew upon sexual motive powers for its reenforcement so that it later can take and that tile its impressions.

26 LEONARDO DA VINCI Observation of daily life shows us that most persons have the capacity to direct a very tangible part of their sexual motive powers to their professional or business activities.yield it is such contributions because endowed with it the capacity of sublimation. We consider this process as proved. i. The application of these assumptions to the i case of the predominant nvestigation-impulse seejns to be_j&ib4ectj&.s4^ is one unwilling to admit that this serious impulse interest. We consider it a further cor- roboration if tliis is substantiated by a striklife ing stunting in the sexual of mature years.e. if the history of childhood or the psychic developmental history of a person shows that in childhood this powerful impulse was in the service of the sexual interest. exists in children or that children noteworthy sexual show~any However. The sexual impulse is particularly suited to . has the power to exchange its nearest aim for others of higher value which are not sexual. as if a part of the sexual activity had now been replaced by the activity of the predominant impulse. these ..

perhaps most children. which may be designated as the period of infgutiht^sexual mvestiffdtion. the curiosity is not awakened spontaneously in children of this age. at least the most gifted go through a period beginning with the third year. through the birth of a little brother or sister. or through fear of the same endangered by some outward experience. the child does not put. But psychoanalytic investigation gives us a full explanation in that ones. as long as he does not understand that all these questions are only circumis which puzzling and that they cannot come to an end because they replace only one question which locutions. wherein the child sees^ajlanger_to his egotistic interests^ The investigation directs itself to if the question whence children come. but is aroused through the impression of an important experience. to the grown-up. far as As we know. pleasure in questioning as seen in 27 untiring children The little demonstrates their curiosity. When the child bethis comes older and gains more understanding manifestation of curiosity suddenly disappears. as the .LEONARDO DA VINCI difficulties are easily obviated. it teaches us that many.

that it this act of dis- often feels itself at serious vari- ance with the grown-ups. We were astonished to find that the child refuses to give credence to the energetically storkits information imparted to rejects the mythological fable. about the role of the father which is difficult to fathom.. it the feelings of its own formulates for itself theories about from food. about being born through the bowels.28 child LEONARDO DA VINCI were looking for means to guard against such undesired event. The impression of this failure at the first at- . But as its own sexual constitution is not yet equal to the task of producing children. it and so ingenious from we were astonished to find that psychic independence dates belief. as something violent. and never forgives them for having been deceived of the truth on this occasion. and even at that time it has a vague conception of the sexual act which appears to the child as something hostile. and guided by sexuality. It investigates in its own way. his investigation the origin of children whence come children must also run aground and must be left in the lurch as unfinished. e. it divines that the child is in the mother's womb.g. it.



tempt of intellectual independence seems to be of a persevering and profoundly depressing

If theperjpd of infantile sexual investigation

comes to an

ejjd Jhrough

an impetus of ener-

4»eBc sexual repression^ the early, association with, sexual interest may result in three differ-

ent possibilities for the future fate of the investigation impulse.


investigation either

shares the fate of the sexuality, the curiosity

henceforth remains inhibited and the free activity of intelligence may become narrowed for

this is especially

made possible by the powwhich

erful religious inhibition of thought,

brought about, shortly hereafter through educaj tion. This is the type of neurotic inhibition!



well that the so acquired mental*
effective support for the

weakness furnishes
For a corroboration of
see the "Analysis of the

improbable sounding assertion Phobia of a Five-year-old Boy,"

Jahrbuch fur Psychoanalytische und Psychopathologische Forschungen, Bd. I, 1909, and the similar observation in Bd. II, 1910. In an essay concerning "Infantile Theories of Sex" (Samtniungen kleiner Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, p. 167, Second Series, 1909), I wrote: "But this reasoning and doubting serves as a model for all later intellectual work in problems, and the first failure acts as a paralyzer for all times."



outbreak of a neurotic disease. In a second type the intellectual development is sufficiently
strong to withstand the sexual repression pulling at it Sometimes after the disappearance

of the infantile sexual investigation,



support to the old association in order to

elude the sexual repression, and the suppressed

sexual investigation comes back from the unconscious as compulsive reasoning,
urally distorted



and not free, but forceful enough to sexualize even thought itself and to
accentuate the intellectual operations with the
pleasure and fear of the actual sexual proc-



Here the investigation becomes sexual and often exclusively so, the feeling of settling the problem and of explaining things in the mind is put in place of sexual gratification. But the indeterminate character of the
infantile investigation repeats itself also in the

fact that this reasoning never ends,

and that

the desired intellectual feeling of the solution

constantly recedes into the distance.



tue of a special disposition the third, which is the most rare and most perfgct type, escapes


inhibition of thought

and the compulsive

it is


Also here sexual repression takes
unable, however, to direct a partial

scious, but the

impulse of the sexual pleasure into the unconlibido ithdraws from the fate


of the repression by being sublimated from the beginning into curiosity, and by reenforcing





the investigation becomes

more or

compulsive and tivity, but owing to the absolute difference of" the psychic process behind it (sublimation in/ place of the emergence from the unconscious) the character of the neurosis does not manifest

a substitute of the sexual ac-


the subjection to the original complexes
freely put itself in the
It takes

of the infantile sexual investigation disappears^

and the impulse can

service of the intellectual interest.

account of the sexual repression which made it so strong in contributing to it sublimated


by avoiding


occupation with sexual,


Injnentjoning. the concurrence„in Leonardo
of the powerful[ jnvestigation. umpulje_ with the
stunting of his sexual

whjelLwas^ limited to

the so-called ideal homosexuality,


feel in-

32 LEONARDO DA VINCI him as a model example of The most essential point of secret of it clined to consider y>urjhird type. and it seems foolish to hope for such material when the reports concerning his life are so meager and so uncertain. to To do this we would have development of his first childhood years. father was Ser Piero da Vinci. his character and the seems to lie in the fact. that after utilizing the infantile activity terest of curiosity in the service of Sexual inhe was able to sublimate the greater part of his libido into the impulse of investigation. . We which was surely not conHis sidered a great popular stain in that time. He was born in 1452 in the little city of Vinci between Florence and Empoli he was . and moreover. his mother. who took an illegitimate child their name from the place Vinci. a notary and descendant of notaries and farmers. when we deal with information which even persons of our own generation withdraw from the attention of the into the psychic have an insight observer. know very little concerning Leonardo's youth. But to be sure the proofjof this conception is not easy to produce.

who later married another native of Vinci. only the writer Merejkowski believed to have found some traces of her. . The only definite information about Leonardo's childhood is furnished by a legal document from the year 1457. Nothing else about his mother appears in the life history of Leonardo. 15. probably a peasant girl." del Verrocchio. 24 As the marriage of Ser Piero with Donna Albiera remained childless the little Leonardo could be brought up in his father's house.LEONARDO DA VINCI 33 a certain Caterina. Scognamiglio c. He did not leave this house until he entered as apprentice — it is not known what year — in the studio of In 1472 Leonardo's name could already be found in the register of the members of the "Compagnia dei Pittori. p. a register of assessment in which Vinci Leonardo is mentioned among the members of the family as a five-year-old illegitimate child of Ser Piero. Andrea That 24 is all 1.

a vulture came down to me. That a person * We Cited by Scognamiglio from the Codex Atlanticus. "It seems that it had been destined before that I should occupy myself so thoroughly with it comes to my mind as a very memory. for early with his tail against my lips" l have here an infantile memory and to be sure of the strangest sort. 65. In a passage where he speaks about the flight of the vulture. he opened my mouth with his tail end struck me a few times the vulture. 34 .II As far as I know Leonardo only once in- terspersed in his scientific descriptions a com- munication from his childhood. p. when I was still in the cradle. he suddenly interrupts himself in order to follow up a memory from very early years which came to his mind. It is strange on account of its content and account of the time of life in which it was fixed.

so that in general they cannot be strictly differentiated from phantasies. his^childhood. and transferred into. that another conception which puts an end to the two difficulties with Leonardo states. as a matter of fact. but be taken as certain.phantasy which he formed The later. The^cene_©JJ^yultur£is_ not a memory oi: Leonardo. but they are not produced until a later period when childhood is already past. one stroke appeals much more to our judgment. sounds so improbable.LEONARDO DA VINCI could retain a 35 is memory of the nursing period it perhaps not impossible. they are then changed and disguised and put in the service of later tendencies. childhood memories of persons often have no different origin. that a vulture opened the child's mouth with its tail. they are not fixated from an experience like the conscious memories from the time of maturity and then repeated. Their nature will perhaps be best understood by recalling the manner in which history writing originated among ancient nations. but a . As long as the nation was small and weak it gave no thought to the writing of its . can in no this But what way memory of namely. so fabulous.

The history-writing and it which then continues to register the present events throws also its backward glance to the past. other things be- came distorted. it gathers traditions and legends. but because one desires to impress his contemporaries. and thus creates a history of past ages. It was a heroic but unhistoric time. some trace of the past was misunderstood and interpreted in the sense of the present.3D history. it interprets what survived from olden times into customs and uses.UXMAn. or to hold the .inJ it JL»/l Vll-^V/l its tilled the soil o£ land. It is quite is natural that this his- tory of the past ages more the expressions of opinions and desires of the presentnthan a faithful picture of the past. to stimulate and extol them. for many a thing escaped the people's memory. it's JUH. and besides one does not write history through motives of objective curiosity. Then came another age. defended existence against its neighbors by seeking wrest land from them and endeavored to to become rich. which one felt rich and pow- was then that one experienced the need to discover whence one originated and how one developed. a period of self-realization in erful.

will actually mirror before them. But with this depreciation one commits as great an injustice as if one would simply ignore the Not? material of legends. ( withstanding all distortions and misunderstill standings to the contrary they the reality of the past . One could easily explain it by his openly avowed inclination to occupy himself with the problem of the flight of the bird which would lend to this phantasy an air of predetermined fate. traditions. ' LEONARDO DA VINCI 37 ^ maturity may now be fully compared to that history writing. represent they represent what the its people formed out of the experiences of past * age under the domination of once powerful and . The conscious memory of a person concerning the experiences of h iV ( far as their origin and reliability are concerneu correspond to the history of the primitive period of a people which piled later was com- Now with purposive intent. one may think that if Leonardo's story of the vulture which visited him in his cradle is only a phantasy of later birth. and interpretations in the primitive history of a people.. and his infantile memories. it is hardly worth while giving more time to it.

As the psychoanalytic technique affords us excellent means for bring-* ing to light this concealed material. and if these dis- tortions could be unraveled through the knowl- edge of material. What a person thinks he recalls from an indifferent nature. which he him- does not understand. we recall that we have often found similar structures in . one would surely for the infan- discover the historic truth under this legendary The same holds true reminiscences or for the phantasies of indi- viduals.venture the attempt to we shall fill the gaps in the history of Leonardo's life through the analysis of his infantile_^hanta sy.38 to-day LEONARDO DA VINCI still effective motives. his childhood. is not of As a self rule the memory remnants. . we will have to console ourselves with the fact that so many other investigations about this great and mysterious man have met no better fate. conceal invaluable evidences of the most important features of his psychic development. tile all effective forces. When we examine Leonardo's vulture-phantasy with the eyes of a psychoanalyst then it does not seem strange very long. And if we should not attain a satisfactory degree of certainty.

uals resembles certain dreams and phantasies of women and of passive homosex- who play the feminjne^part in sexual re- lations. " Tail. corresponds to the idea of fellatio. Let the reader be patient for a while and not flare up with indignation and refuse to follow psychoanalysis because in very fiEstappJications it leads to an unpardonable pandejof the memory of a great and pure man. The translation then follows an eroficT direction. a sexual act in w hich t he member is placed into the mouth of the this ot her person. coda .LEONARDO DA VINCI dreams." is one of the most familiar sym- bols. so that we this phantasy from 39 may venture to translate its strange language into words that are universally unde rstood. that a vulture opened the mouth of the child an d forc efully belabored it with its tail. The situation contained in the phantasy. is Strangely enough phantasy it altogether of a passive character. For it is quite certain that this indignation will never solve for us the meaning of Leonardo's childits . as well as a substitutive designation of the male jnember which is no less true in Italian than in other languages.

The on physician desire. on the other hand. quite easy for the women produce such wish-phantais . must have some meaning. if the most disgusting of sexual p erversions. The desire to take the mouth and suck it. seems to lose en- male member into the which is considered as one — — :irely its disgusting character. encounters phantasies based rven in ion this women who did not come to the knowl- edge of the possibility of such sexual gratifica- by reading it v. Let us therefore lend our unprejudiced ears for a while to psychoanalytic work which after all has not yet that like uttered the last word. visions and deliria this phantasy.— LEONARDO DA 4X> VINCI hood phantasy. Krafft-Ebing's Psycho- >athia Sexualis or [t seems that to hem selves through other information. and we shall therefore not relinquish the expectation or if you prefer the preconception — every psychic production such as dreams. Leonardo has unequivocally acknowledged this phantasy. too. is nevertheless a frequent occurrence among :he women of our time and as shown in old sculptures was the same in earlier times and n the state of being in love.

namely. Neu- . here the "Brnchstuck einer Hysterieanalyse. a scene both human and beautiful. The organic impression of this first pleasure in our lives surely remains indelibly impregnated. 2 41 Investigation then teaches us that this situation.LEONARDO DA VINCI sies. which he as well as other artists under- the vulture to his nursing period. 1909. so forcibly may is be traced to nothing but the elaboration of another situation in which we all once felt comfort. which in function is a breast-nipple. when we were in the suckling-age ("when I was and took the nipple of our mother's or wet-nurse's breast into our mouth still in the cradle") to suck it. when the child later learns to know the udder of the cow. We now understand why Leonardo displaced the memory of the supposed experience with This phantasy conceals nothing more or less than a rem<">r be i ng nursed inis cence of nurs in g at the motner's breast. but in shape and in position on the abdomen resembles the penis." in rosenlehre. condemned by custom. — — s Cf. Second series. It the most harmless origin. it obtains the primary basis for the later formation of that disgusting sexual phantasy.

it makes no difference whether that accusation against the youth Leonardo was justified or not. Another incomprehensible feature of Leonardo's infantile phantasy next claims our interest. something we do not yet Understand. It is not the real activity but the nature of the feeling which causes us to decide whether to attribute to some one the characteristic of homosexuality. we merely wish to recall as that tradition actually designates Leonardo a person of homosexual feelings. Where does this vulture originate and how does he come We into this place? . also wish to maintain.42 LEONARDO DA VINCI took to depict with the brush in the form of the we as mother of God and her child. at the mother's breast. was elabo- rated in the man Leonardo into a passive homo- For the present we shall not take up the question as to what connection there is between homosexuality and suckling sexual phantasy. that this reminiscence. At all events. In considering this. interpret the phantasy of being ^wet-nursed by the mother and find that the mother is replaced by a vulture. equally significant for both sexes.

Dizionario di Mitologia egizia.LEONARDO DA VINCI 43 A thought now obtrudes itself which seems is tempted to ignore it. . . In the sacred hieroglyphics of the old Egyptians the mother is represented by the picture of the 3 vulture. or who had many heads of which at least one or two was that of a vulture. Torino.* The name of this goddess was pronounced Mut . 1882. These Egyptians also worshiped a motherly deity. 1906. . MijWpa Si ypifavrsj. Hartleben. n. . but of what help is that to us? Have we a right to attribute this knowledge to Leonardo when Frangois Champollion first succeeded in reading hieroglyphics between 17901832? 8 It would also be interesting to discover in what way the old Egyptia ns came to choose the vulture as a symbol of motherhood. . whose head was vulture like. 1894-1897.. Artikel Mut. II Bd. 5 H. yvira $ay ptHpoiaui. we may question whether the sound similarity to our word mother (Mutter) is only accidental? So the vulture really has some connection with the mother.—Lanzone. Champollion. As a matter of fact the religion 3 so remote that one and culture of Egyptians Horapollo: Hieroglyphica I. Sein Leben und sein Werk. 4 Roscher : Ausf Lexicon der griechischen und romischen Mythologie.

s airacat" by v. Sexuelle Zwischenstufen. From these sources we learn that the vulture was a symbol of motherhood because it was thought that this species of birds had only female vultures and no males. 732. 6 The natural history of the ancients shows a counterpart to this limitation among the scarebseus beetles which were revered by the Egyptians as godly. oi (fiainyheaffai wore. 7 Plutarch : Veluti scarabaeos mares tantum esse putarunt Aegyptii sic inter vultures mares non inveniri statuerunt. Plutarch. Romer. names and are uncertain as to origin and time.44 LEONARDO DA VINCI were subjects of scientific interest even to the Greeks and Romans. and some bear unsical antiquity. Jahrb. like the hieroglyphica of Horapollo and like the traditional book of oriental priestly wisdom bearing the godly name • Hermes Trismegistos. V. 1903. Some familiar Nilus. and long before we ourselves were able to read the Egyptian monuments we had at our disposal some communications about them from preserved works of clasof these writings belonged to familiar authors like Strabo. Uber die androgynische Idee des Lebens. . no females were supposed to cited exist. p. 7 6 "yvira Si Uppr. d(X4 SrjXtio. Aminianus Marcellus.

14) : "pvrtpa plv &reia^ type* ^v ravrtp ytvet twv £u)tt>f otix vTt&PX^" 10 E. and according to the excerpts which Fr. Rich10 ter compiled from his drawings we can 8 Horapollinis Niloi Hier oglypliica edidit Conradus Leemans Amstelodami. Miintz. as well as numerous notices about other books which he borrowed from friends. Unexpectedly we have now reached a point where we can take something as quite probable which only shortly before we had to reject as absurd. according to which the Egyptians represented the idea of mother with the picture of the vulture.8 At a certain time these birds stop in the midst of their flight. Muute. 282.LEONARDO DA VINCI But how does impregnation take place 45 in vul- tures if only females exist? This is fully answered in a passage of Horapollo. open their vagina?. . dex of all books which he possessed at a cer9 tain time. 1835. p. He was an omnivorous reader whose interest comprised all spheres of literature and knowlIn the Codex Atlanticus we find an inedge. and are impregnated by the wind. The words referring to the sex of the vulture read as follows (p. 1. c. It is quite possible that Leonardo was well acquainted with the scientific fable. 1. c » E.

. i/2) cited before: Caeterum hanc fabulam dc vuituribus cupide amplexi sunt Patres Ecclesiastici. that church fathers mastered it in order to have it against those ready as an argument from natural history who doubted the sacred history. The erudite editor and commentator of Horapollo remarked in connection with the text (p. All these books were already in print at that time.46 LEONARDO DA VINCI hardly overestimate the extent of his reading. itaque a pud omnes fere h/ujus rei mentio petito refutarent eos. and it so happens that Milan was the principal place of the young art of book as well as contemporary printing in Italy. When we proceed further we come upon a communication which may raise to a certainty the probability that Leonardo knew the vulture fable. ut ita argumento ex rerwn natura partwm negabant. qui Virginis occurit. Among these books there was no lack of older works treating of nat ura! history. Hence the fable of the monosexuality and the conception of the vulture by no means re- mained as an indifferent anecdote as in the case of the analogous fable of the scarebseus beetles.

but which meant to say that he also had been such a vulture child. An echo of pleasure which he experienced at his mother's breast was added to this in the manner as so old impressions alone can manifest themselves. . a memory emerged in him which became transformed into that phantasy. The origin of Leonardo's vulture phantasy can be conceived in the following manner: While reading in the writings of a church father or in a book on natural science that the vultures are all females and that they know to procreate without the cooperation of a male. which had a mother but no father. and now it can hardly remain doubtful that it also became known to Leonardo through so powerful a uity the vultures source. why should the same tiling not have happened even once in a human female? On account of this use the church fathers were "almost all" in the habit of relating this vulture fable.' LEONARDO DA VINCI If according the best information 47 from antiqwere directed to let themselves be impregnated by the wind. formed by the authors. The allusion to the idea of the holy virgin with the child.

to identify himself with the Christ child. must have contributed to it to make this phantasy seem to him For this helped him valuable and important. the comforter and savior of not alone this one woman. whether a few months following his birth. which modify and disIn the case of Leonardo we now think that we know the real content of the phantasy. The fact of Leonardo's illegitimate birth fits in with his vulture phantasy only on account of it was he able to compare himself with a vulture . entirely is unknown to us. The replacement of the mother by the vulture indicates that the child missed the father and felt himself alone with his mother. But we have discovered as the next definite fact from his youth that at the age of five years he had already been received in his father's home when this took place. When we from the break up an infantile phantasy we real strive to separate the memory content later motives tort the same. . before the taking of the assessment of taxes.48 which is LEONARDO DA VINCI so dear to every artist. or a few weeks child. The interpretation of the vulture phantasy then steps in and wants .

forsaken. This still seems to be a rather meager and it ather daring result of the psychoanalytic efbrt. it was to the childlessness of this mariage that the boy owed his legalized reception nto his father's or rather grandfather's house luring his fifth year. According to the reports. so that he had time to miss his father.LEONARDO DA VINCI tell 49 us that Leonardo did not spend the first [ecisive years of his life with his father and his tep-mother but with his poor. real riother. it is not cusomary to offer an illegitimate offspring to a oung woman's care at the beginning of marr iage irith when she children. Certainty will be promoted by mentioning the actual relations in Leonardo's hildhood. However. but on further reflection will gain in ignificance. is still expecting to be blessed to adopt the illegitimate Years of disappointment must it lave elapsed before was decided irobably handsomely developed hild as a compensation for legitimate children vho were vainly hoped for. It harmonizes lest with the interpretation of the vulture- . his fa- her Ser Piero da Vinci married the prominent Donna Albiera during the year of Leonardo's >irth.

But then it had already become too years of Leonardo's late. In the first three or four years of life im- pressions are fixed and modes of reactions are formed towards the outer world which can never be robbed of their importance by any If it is later experiences. For he was tortured by the great questions where do children come from child . then the fact corroborated by the vulture phantasy. Under the effect of this* constellation it could not have been otherwise than that the which in his young life encountered one problem more than other children. that Leonardo passed the first years of his life alone with his mother must have been a most decisive influence on the formation of his inner life. true that the incomprehensible child- hood reminiscences and the person's phantasies based on them always bring out the most significant of his psychic development. should have begun to ponder very passionately over this riddle and thus should have become an investigator early in life. LEONARDO DA VINCI if at least three years or perhaps five life had elapsed before he changed from his lonely mother to his father's home.50 phantasy.

LEONARDO DA VINCI and what has the father to do with 51 their origin. The vague knowledge of this connection be- tween his investigation and his childhood history has later drawn from him the exclamation that it was destined that he should deeply occupy himself with the problem of the bird's flight. for already in his cradle he had been visited by a is vulture. To N trace the curiosity which directed to the flight of the bird to the infantile sexual investigation will be a later task which will not be difficult to accomplish. .

following the common substitut- ing usages of language. and in view of . the association into which Leo- The nardo himself placed his phantasy threw a bright light on the importance of this content for his later life. cannot signify anything else but a male genital or penis. But we do not understand how the phantastic activity came to furnish precisely this maternal bird 52 with the mark of masculinity. We maintain that the "coda" (tail) rated into of the vulture. In continuing the work of Interpretation we now encounter the strange problem why this memory content was elaboa homosexual situation. The mother who nursed the child.Ill element of the vulture represents to us the real memory content in Leonardo's childhood phantasy. or rather from whom the child suckled was transformed into a vulture which stuck its tail into the child's mouth.

However.LEONARDO DA VINCI this absurdity bility 53 the possi- we become confused at of reducing this phantastic structure to rational sense. In most representations the vulture-headed maternal deity was formed by the the simple divine . deities the Egyptians. It was especially Egyptian pantheon that the individual gods did not perish in this amalcharacteristic of the gamation. Besides the composition of deities image remained in her independence. How many seemingly absurd dreams have we not forced to give up their sense Why should it become more difficult to accomplish this in a childhood phantasy than in a dream! Let us remember the fact that it is not good to find one isolated peculiarity. The vulture-headed goddess Mut of character. but she retained besides her separate existence and reverence. as expressed lexicon. a figure of altogether impersonal by Drexel in Roscher's was often fused with other maternal of living individuality like Isis and Hathor. we must not despair. and let us hasten to add another to it which is still more ! striking.

c. c. CXXXVT-VIII ? v. explain this concurrence by the assumption that Leonardo knew from studying his book the androgynous nature of the maternal vulture? Such possibility is more than questionable. It is more is to ment likely that here as there the agreebe traced to a common. effective and unknown motive. the union nf masc uline and feminine sex characteristics. Mythology can teach us that the androgynous formation.54 LEONARDO DA VINCI 1 Egyptians in a>*nrra1ticmanner. member in a state of / The goddess Mut thus evinced the same union of maternal and paternal characteristics Should we as in Leonardo's vulture phantasy. . Romer 1. a It teaches us further that 1 See the illustrations in Lanzone 1. it seems that the sources accessible to him contained nothing of remarkable determination. but in the latter per- haps only insofar as they possessed also a motherly nature and became fused with the goddess Mut. T. did not belong to the go3deis~Mut alone but also to other deities such as Isis and Hathor. her body which was distinguished as feminine by its breasts also bore the masculine erection.

that the phantasy of men takes no offense at the fact that a figure which was to embody the essence of the mother should be provided with the mark of the masculine power which is the opposite of motherhood. of the Dionysian as well as for Aphrodite who was later restricted to a femi- nine love deity. especircle. namely. and that all these herma phroditic deist ir. There really was a time in which the male cenital was found to be com_ . were originally conceived as androgynous or dihermaphroditic. Mythology may also offer the explanation that the phallus which was added to the feminine body was meant to denote the creative primitive force of nature. formations express the idea that only a union of the masculine and" leminine~elements can result in a worthy representation of divine perfection.LEONARDO DA out of VINCI was §S other Egyptian deities such as Neith of Sais whom the Greek Athene later formed. The explanation comes from the infantile sexual theories. and that the same held true for cially many of the Greek gods. But none of these observations explain the psychological riddle.

. but he is unable to admit to himself as the content of this perception that he cannot find this member in girls. As he cannot divine that there is still another equally valuable type of genital formation he must grasp the assumption that all persons. That this member may be missing is to him a dismal and unbearable thought. When he is dominated by the interest for his own genitals. possess such a member as he. Vol. also women.$6 LEONARDO DA VINCI the male child first directs his curiosity patible with the representation of the mother. He finds this part of the body too valuable and too imjportant to believe that it would be missing in 'other persons to whom he feels such a resemblance. the first observation of the genitals in little His perception naturally tells him that there is something different here than in him. and Psychopathologische Forschungen. This preconception is so firm in the youthful investigator that it is not destroyed even by to the riddle of the sexual life. the observations in the Jahrbuch fur Psychoanalytische I. girls. and he therefore seeks to reconcile it by deciding that it also exists in girls but it 3 is still very small and that it will grow later. 3 Cf. 1909.

He wished to still held the to manifest see the genitals of other persons.LEONARDO DA VINCI filled $1 If this expectation does not appear to be ful- on later observation he has at his disposal another its way of escape. but at the same time he will look with contempt upon those unhappy creatures upon whom. he was threatened organ in will the meantime taken that this important if it will be away from him of an interest for his occupation. T he member it al so ex- was cut off and on wound. at the time when he woman at herfuJLvaJue. henceforth he will tremble for his masculinity. originally probably because he wished to compare them with his own. in his opinion. he began an intensive desire to look as an erotic activity of his impulse. This progress of the theory already makes use of his own isted in the little girl_but place there remained a painful experience. Before the child came under the domination of the castration complex. form too much Under the influence of this threat of castration he now interprets his conception of the female genital. this cruel punishment had already been visited. The erotic attraction which .

as long as one does not replay the part of persons act of castration . With cognition woman acquired only later that ^he has no penis. which has gone through that fragment of infantile sexual investigation with particular thoroughness. The fetich-like reverence for the feminine foot and shoe seems to take the foot only as a substitutive symbol for the once revered and since then missed member of the woman. the penis of the woman. leaves inerad- icable traces in the psychic life of the child. this longing often beits comes transformed into opposite and gives place to«fisgusJ^which in the years of puberty may become the cause of psychic impotence. But the fixation on the once so vividly desired object.58 LEONARDO DA VINCI its emanated from the person of his mother soon reached the height in the longing to see her genital which he believed to be a penis. One will not gain any correct understanding of the activities of the infantile sexuality and probably will consider these communications unworthy of belief. of misogyny and of lasting homosexuality. ing it The "braid-slashers" without know- who perform the on the female genital.

LEONARDO DA VINCI linquish the attitude of our cultural deprec tion of the genitals in general. was quite different race. the primitive times of the human Fr< civili. the laborious collections of students of tion one gains the conviction that the genit were originally the pride and hope of living ings. The major 1 of those living to-day only reluctantly obey laws of propagation. feeling thereby that th human dignity is being offended and degradi What exists among life is us of the other concepti of the sexual found only in the uncul . and of the sexual f unctic understand the infantile pj chic life one has to look to analogies fr< primitive times. and divine nature of their functions was trai . vated and in the lower social strata among t higher and more refined types it is concealed culturally inferior. 1 t they enjoyed divine worship. For a long series of genei tions we have been in the habit of consideri the genitals or pudenda as objects of shar To and in the case of more successful sexual pression as objects of disgust. and It its activity is ventur only under the embittered admonition of guilty conscience.

. it alive among a number of In the course of cultural devel- opment it finally happened that so much godli- ness and holiness had been extracted from sexuality that the exhausted tempt. and that language. remnant fell into conBut considering the indestructibility which is in the nature of all psychic impressions one need not wonder that even the most primitive forms of genital worship could be demonstrated until quite recent times. LEONARDO DA VINCI all newly acquired activities its of manessential Through sublimation of elements there arose innumerable god-figures. 4 Important biological analogies have taught us that the psychic development of the individual is a short repetition of the course of devel- opment of the find 4 Cf. and we shall therefore not improbable what the psychoanalytic inrace. and at the time when the relation of official re- ligions with sexual activity was already hidden secret cults from the general consciousness. customs and superstitions of present day humanity contain the remnants of all phases of this course of development. labored to preserve the initiated.6o ported to kind. Richard Payne Knight: The Cult of Priapus.

just as it exMythology has retained and very early isted in the first imagination of the child about his mother's body. further testimonial : A . The prominence given to the vulture-tail in Leonardo's phantasy we can now translate as follows At that time when I directed my tender curiosity to my mother I still adjudged to her a genital like my own. In none oi them is there a union of the true genitals oi both sexes as they are united in some deformed beings to the disgust of every besides the breast as a human eye but . it is onlj through misunderstanding that these deistic representations are designated hermaphroditic in the medical sense of the word.LEONARDO DA VINCI 61 vestigation of the child's psyche asserts con- cerning the infantile estimation of the genitals The is infantile assumption of the maternal penis thus the common source of origin for the androgynous formation of the maternal deities like the Egyptian goddess Mut and the vulture's "coda" (tail) in Leonardo's childhood phantasy. As a matter of fact. for the faithful this revered fancied bodily formation of the mother. there is also the mark of motherhood male member.

homosexuality. A we brief reflection now admonishes us that should not be satisfied with the explanation of the vulture-tail in Leonardo's childhood phantasy. indeed really is it an intimate and necessary relation. that is into a passive ct which thus gives the situation an undoubted homosexual character. Mindful of the historical probability that Leonardo behaved in life as a homosexual in feeling. It seems as if it contained more than we as yet understand. the question obtrudes itself whether this phantasy does not point to a causal connection between Leonar- do's childhood relations to his mother and the later manifest. We would not venture to draw such conclusion from Leonardo's disfigured reminiscence were it not for the fact that we know from our psychoanalytic investigation of homosexual patients that such a relation exists. . if only ideal. [which in our opinion became decisive for his [entire life.62 LEONARDO DA VINCI of Leonardo's precocious sexual investigation. For its more trans- striking feature really consisted in the fact that the nursing at the mother's breast was > formed into being nursed.

LEONARDO DA VINCI Homosexual men who have 63 started in our times an energetic action against the legal limitations of their sexual activity are fond of representing themselves through theoretical spokesmen as evincing a sexual variation. Psychoanalysis offers the means to fill this gap and to put to test It is true the assertions of the homosexuals. which may be distinguished from the very beginning. 5 all investigation thus far undertaken brought the 5 same surpris- In all our male homosexuals tions are Prominently among. as an intermediate stage of sex or as "a third sex." In other words. one must nevertheless exercise reserve regarding their theories which were subscribe to their formulated without regard for the psychic genesis of homosexuality. man which they cannot feel As much as one would wish to demands out of humane considerations.those who undertook these investigaI. they maintain that they are men who are forced by organic determinants originating in the that pleasure in the in the germ to find woman. that psychoanalysis fulfilled this task in only a small number of people. Sadger. but ing results. whose results 1 can essentially corroborate .

aitechmentto feminine person. CSadger emphasizes the fact that the mothers of his homosexual patients were often man-women. or women with energetic traits of character who were able to crowd out the father from the place I allotted to him in the family. as a xule JtO-the mother. which was manifest in the very first period of childhood and later entirely forgotten by the individual.) thing. but I in have sometimes observed the same was more impressed by those cases which the father was absent from the beginning or disappeared early so that the boy was altogether under feminine influence. from to the my own same experience. It almost seems that the presence of a strong father would assure for the son the proper decision in the selection of his object from the opposite sex. This attachment was produced or . but was also furthered by the retirement or absence of the father during the childhood period. and Brill of conclusions. Ferenczi of Budapest. came .LEONARDO DA VINCI there a_ was a very intensive erotic. I am also Vienna. aware that Stekel of New York.f avored by too much love from the mother herself.

by identifying himself with her. and who became transformed name. merges The boy represses the love for the mother by putting himself in her place. and by taking his own person as a model through the similarity of which he is guided in the selection of He thus becomes homosexhis love object. forces we have it not yet The love of thejtnother cannot con- tinBe~to develop consciously so that into repression. for the boys ing adult whom the grow- now loves are only substitutive per- sons or revivals of his whom he loves in the own childish person.LEONARDO DA VINCI $5) Following this primary stage. for the Greek legend called a boy Narcissus to whom nothing was more pleasing than his own mirrored loved himp> We image. same way as his mother v say that he finds his love object on the road to narcism. as a matter of fact he returns to the stage of autoerotism. into a beautiful flower of this Deeper psychological discussions justify the^ who becomes homosexual in this manner remains fixed in his unassertion that the person . ual . a transformation takes place whose mechanisms we know but whose motive grasped.

official Tt is quite clear that they are in crass opposition to the theories of the homosexual spokesmen. conscious on the mother. but each and every time he hastens to transfer the stimulus he received from the woman to a male object and in this manner he repeats again and again the mechanism through which he acquired his homosexuality. By repressing tfiejov^for his mother he con- serves the same forth remains and hence. What .When as a lover he seems to pursue boys. but we are aware that these explanations are not sufficiently comprehensive to render possible a final explanation of the problem.66 LEONARDO DA VINCI memory picture of his in his unconscious faithful to her. Through direct observation of individual cases we could demonstrate that he who is seemingly receptive only of masculine stimuli is in reality influenced by the charms emanating from women just like a normal person. he really thus runs away from to women who could cause him become faithless to his mother. Tt is far from us to exaggerate the importance of these explanations concerning the psychic genesis of homosexuality.

from whose vulture-phantasy we started." We must also admit. and the process recog- is perhaps only one among many. As a matter of fact there would be no occasion really appears. exceeds by far those cases in which the resulting effect nized by us even we cannot reject the supposed cooperation of unknown constitutional factors from which one was otherwise wont to deduce the whole of homosexuality. really belonged to this one type of homosexuality.LEONARDO DA one calls VINCI 67 homosexual for practical purposes may have its origin in a variety of psychosexual inhibiting processes. that the number of cases in our homosexual type which shows the conditions required by us. As little as is known concerning the sexual 1 behavior of the great artist and investigator. go In the light of this tradition he ap- pears to us as a man whose sexual need and . so that for entering into the psychic genesis of the form of homosexuality studied by us if there were not a strong presumption that Leonardo. and has reference only to one type of "homosexuality. we must still trust to the probability that the testimonies of his contemporaries did not far astray.

It may be open to doubt whether he ever sought direct sexual gratification. as if a higher had raised him above the common animal need of mankind. Anything but traces of unchanged sexual desire we need not expect in Leonardo. These point however to one direction and allow us to count him among homosexuals. whether the latter has with- drawn whether itself it far from the original aim or was detained from being put* into execution. or whether he could dispense with it altogether. for we cannot imagine a human psychic life in whose development the sexstriving ual desire in the broadest sense. It has always been emphasized that he took as his pupils only strikingly handsome boys and youths. as his own mother might have cared for . the libido. just like a mother nurses her children. however. We are justified. he cared for them and nursed them himself when they were ill. to look also in him for those emotional streams which imperatively force others to the sexual act. He was kind and considerate towards them. and in what manner. has not had its share.68 activity LEONARDO DA VINCI - were extraordinarily low.

he probably did not We realize that know personally. written . plains Against this we wish to in the master's be- assert with all caution that our conception ex- some strange features havior which otherwise would have remained Leonardo kept a diary he made from right to left which were meant only for himself. The others who by their productions earned the right to call themselves his pupils. It is to be noted that in this diary he addressed himself with "thou": "Learn from master Lucca enigmatical. and permits no conclusion as to his jection that Leonardo's behavior pupils surely sexual peculiarity. Boltraffio. 69 their As he selected them on account of beauty rather than their talent. entries in his small hand. none of them —Cesare da could not leaving a Andrea Salaino. we will have to face the ob- towards his had nothing to do with sexual motives. .LEONARDO DA VINCI him. Most of them Sesto. Francesco Melzi and the others—ever became a prominent artist. nicknamed Sodoma. as Luini and Bazzi. make themselves independent of their master and disappeared after his death without more definite physiognomy to the history of art. G.

and thus prove the nobility of our . Leonardo thus behaves like one who was in the habit of making a daily confession to another person whom he now replaced by his diary. 1906." 7 Or on the occasion of a journey he entered in his diary: "I of am going to Milan to look after the affairs my garden order two pack-sacks to be . Edm. Boltraffio to show thee his turnand let him polish a stone on it.— LEONARDO DA VINCI 6 70 the multiplication of roots. like the moon or resembling it. Herrfeld Leonardo da Vinci. made. world. p." "Let master d'Abacco show thee the square of the circle. 1. p. Leave the book to master Andrea il Todesco. 8 : . Solmi Solmi. : Leonardo da Vinci. German 203. ." 9 this diaries of other mortals often skim-^over the most important In this diary. 9 M." 8 Ask ing-lathe Or he wrote a resolution of quite different significance: "Thou must show in thy treatise that the earth is a star. For an assumption as to who this person may have been see Merejkowski. one finds a ig- few entries which on account of * their peculiarity are cited translation. which like events of the day with only few words or nore* them altogether. 141. 309. 7 c. p. . 152. p.

The equestrian monument of Francesco c. 10 11 On the second day I ordered for 1 him The wording is that of Merejkowski. Sforza. willful. One of these notes refers to a new cloak which he bought for his pupil Andrea Salaino 10 Silver brocade Lira " " " 1 5 Soldi 4 Crimson velvet for trimming Braid Buttons 9 o o " " M o 9 12 Another very detailed notice gives all the expenses which he incurred through the bad qual- and the thieving tendencies of another model "On 21st day of April. 1490. at the age of ten years (marginal note: thievish. 1490. I started this book and started again the 11 horse. They show notations referring to the master's petty ex- which are recorded with painful exactitude as if coming from a pedantic and penses. strictly is parsimonious family father.: LEONARDO DA VINCI by all 71 of Leonardo's biographers. while there nothing to show that he spent greater sums. mendacious. p. . Jacomo came to me on Magdalene ities pupil or : day. 237. glutton- ous). or that the artist was well versed in household management.

jackets.(marginal So the report continues note: 4 Lira ... It is not easy to con12 The full wording is found in M. 45. a cloak. . and a jacket. alI was absolutely sure of it . etc." concerning the misdeeds of the little boy and it though concludes with the expense account: first "In the Lira 4: 3 7. but the fact that he left us these testimonies of it. and considThey for- get thereby that not Leonardo's behavior that needs an explanation. a pair of pants. p. were wont to remark in connection with these peculiar accounts that they emphasized the kindness eration of the master for his pupils. 1. As it is imposit is sible to ascribe to him the motive of smuggling into our hands proofs of his kindness. we must assume that another affective motive caused him to write this down. Lira 2: 6 shirts. to whom nothing was further than to solve the riddle in the psychic life of their hero from these slight weaknesses and peculiarities. Lira Leonardo's biographers. and as I put the money away to pay for the things named he stole the money from my purse. Lira 6: 4 pair of socks. and two was never possible to make him confess.)." 12 year. Herzfeld. c.72 LEONARDO DA VINCI shirts.

and others of a kind: Burial expenses following the death of Caterina 27 18 12 erection of florins 2 pounds wax Cataphalc " " " " " " For the transportation and the cross Pall bearers 4 8 clerics To 4 priests and 4 20 2 16 Ringing of bells To grave diggers For the approval " " —to the officials 1 To sum up Previous expenses: 108 florins To the doctor . . and we could not give any if not for another account found among Leonardo's papers which throws a brilliant light 13 on these peculiarly petty notices about his pupils' clothes. As a disappointing illustration of the vagueness of the information concerning Leonardo's intimate — . 4 12 florins For sugar and candles " 16 florins Sum 13 total 124 florins Merejkowski 1. c.LEONARDO DA VINCI jecture 73 what this motive was.

14 and was taken to the and following her death she was buried by her son with such sumptuous funeral. The source from which the two representations of this account were taken was not accessible to me." but those used at a later period which amounted to iy lira or 33^ soldi. this visit she fell While hospital by Leonardo. life. The most serious difference is the substitution of florins by soldi. meager as is . but it can lay claim to so many inner probabilities. the poor peasant Vinci. From two different short notices he concludes that she was the mother of Leonardo. I mention the fact that the same expense given by Solmi with considerable variation (German translation. 1493. 14 "Caterina came in July. 104). One may assume that in this account florins do not mean the old "gold florins. account it is. it agrees so well with everything frain we know besides I about Leonardo's emotional activity that cannot re- Leonardo succeeded in forcing his feelings under the yoke it from accepting as correct. This deduction of the psychological writer of romances is not capable of proof. } Solmi represents Caterina as a servant who had taken care of Leonardo's household for a certain time.— 74 LEONARDO DA VINCI The writer Merejkowski us is the only one who can tell who this Caterina was. woman from on who came ill to Milan in 1493 to visit her son then 41 years old. p.

but the imperative compulsion with which these insignificant acts express themselves betrays the real force of the feelings scious. foolish performances! - The opposmg^^forces is succeeded irTdebasing the expression of these repressed feelings to such an extent that one forced. and one of these was the death of his mother whom he once loved so ardently. which are rooted in the unconwhich consciousness would wish to dis- . We wonder how such a distortion could have come about.LEONARDO DA VINCI 75 of investigation and in inhibiting their free utterance. Through this account of the burial expenses he represents to us the mourning of his mother in an almost unrecognizable distortion. but even in him there were episodes in which the suppression obtained estimate the intensity of these feel- ings as extremely unimportant. But similar mechanisms are familiar to us under the abnormal conditions of neuroses. and we certainly cannot grasp it when viewed under nor- mal mental processes. called and especially in the so- Here one can observe how the expressions of more intensive feelings have been displaced to trivial and even compulsion neurosis.

the opposition of the repression of this childhood love which appeared later stood in the of erecting to her in his diary a different and more dignified monument.76 LEONARDO DA VINCI avow. would be his sexual objects as far ks his sexual repression dominating his nature would allow such manifestations and the — — . but resulted as a way what compromise of this neurotic conflict had the account to be put in operation and hence was entered in the diary which thus came to the knowledge of posterity as some- thing incomprehensible./^In his unconscious he was still tied~to~Her^as in childhood. The mother land the pupils. Accordingly we would say that here also we deal with a case in which Leonardo's meager remnants of libidinous feelings compulsively obtained a distorted expression. the very images of his own boyfish beauty. Only by bearing in mind the mechanisms of compulsion neurosis can one explain Leonardo's account of the funeral expenses of his mother. It is terpretation not venturing far to transfer the inobtained from the funeral ex- penses to the accounts dealing with his pupils. by erotically tinged feelings.

and the ap- pearance of the homosexual situation in his would become comprehensible to us.LEONARDO DA VINCI 77 compulsion to note with painful circumstantiality his expenses on their behalf. Philadelphia. 1909. traits of character which emanate from anal eroticism. Leonardo's love-life really belonged to that type of homosexuality. Chap. itself The manner of expression through which could manifest in the repressed Leonardo. its Theories and Practical Applications. such as circumstantiality and marked interest in money. Saunders. belongs to those Cf. libidio . also Brill's Psychoanalysis. It requires the following interpre- tation : Through I the erotic relations to 15 my mother 15 became a homosexual. Anal Eroticism and Character. XIII. for it states nothing more or less: than what we have asserted before concerning vulture-phantasy that type. Character und Analerotik in the second series of my Sammlung zur Neurosenlehre. would designate the strange betrayal of his rudimentary From this we would conclude that conflicts. the psychic development of which we were able to disclose.

We can mother has pressed on my mouth innumerable passionate kisses.TV The vulture phantasy of Leonardo interest. which powerfully affect outsiders 78 who . still ab- sorbs our In words which only too ("and has many times struck against my lips with his tail"). The phantasy is composed of the memories of being nursed and of being kissed by the mother. second memory content of the phantasy can readily be conjectured from the association of the activity of the mother (of the vulture) with plainly recall a sexual act A the accentuation of the translate it mouth zone. kindly nature has bestowed upon the artist as follows: My A the capacity to express in artistic productions his most secret psychic feelings hidden even to himself. Leonardo emphasizes the intensity of theerotic relations between the mother and the child.



and received many of the most varied kind but none of them was considered satis- . This smile was in need of an interpretation. However. sinuous lips which is considered characteristic of him and is preferentially designated as "Leonardesque. when one considers what profound transformations an impression of an artist has to experience before it can add its contribution to the work of art." In the singular and beautiful visage of the Florentine MonHa of Lisa del Giocondo effect it has produced the greatest on the spectators and even perplexed them.LEONARDO DA VINCI able to state 79 are strangers to the artist without their being whence this emotivity comes. It is a fixed smile on elongated. This is especially true in the case of Leonardo. Should there be no evidence in Leonardo's work of that which his memory retained as the strongest impression of his childhood? One would have to expect it. He who thinks of Leonardo's paintings will be reminded by the remarkably fascinating and puzzling smile which he enchanted on the lips all his feminine figures. one is obliged to moderate considerably his expectation of demonstrating something definite.

Bd. II Bd. nobody has interpreted her thoughts. trembling as the sultriness of sensuality. Hundreds of poets and writers have written about this woman.. . as that of reserve and seduction. even the scenery is mysterious and dream-like.80 factory. p." j if in The idea that two diverse elements were united in the smile of Monna Lisa has been felt by many critics. p. LEONARDO DA VINCI As Gruyer puts it: "It is almost four centuries since those to lose their Mon^a Lisa causes all heads who have looked upon * her for some time. 280. but nobody has solved the riddle of her smile. and of most devoted tenderness and inconsiderateness in urgent and 1 Seidlitz : Leonardo da Vinci. s Geschichte der Malerei. who now seems to smile upon us seductively and now to stare coldly and lifelessly into space. Everything. I." Muther states: 2 "What fascinates the spectator is the demoniacal charm of this smile. They therefore recognize in the play of features of the beautiful Florentine lady the most perfect representation of the contrasts dominating the love-life of the woman which is foreign to man. 314.

her instincts of conquest. 93- Leonardo pittore. the charm of the deceiver." The Italian Anil- gelo Conti saw the picture in the Louvre lumined by a ray of the sun and expressed himself as follows: "The woman smiled with a royal calmness. the of seduction and ensnaring. No cate artist (I borrow the expression of the deliwriter who hides himself under the pseu- donym of Pierre de Corlay) has ever translated in this manner the very essence of femininity: the tenderness and coquetry. *A. .LEONARDO DA consuming self in this VINCI * 81 sensuality. the whole mystery of the heart which holds itself aloof. . c. * . 417. which conceals a 1. the entire heredity will of the species. of ferocity. the kindness 3 1. . Miintz expresses himinde- manner: "One knows what cipherable and fascinating enigma Monica Lisa Gioconda has been putting for nearly four centuries to the admirers who crowd around her. and of a personality who watches itself and yields nothing from herself except radiance. p. of a brain which reflects. Conti: p. c. the modesty and quiet voluptuousness. Conferenze Florentine.

According to Vasari he applied the choicest artifices in order to divert the lady during the sittings and to hold that smile firmly on her features. she laughed. During its production was considered the highest that art could it is certain. nounced it as unfinished and did not deliver it to the one who ordered it. perhaps from 1503 until 1507. .82 LEONARDO DA VINCI and disappears and melts the poem of her smile. that it did not satisfy Leonardo himself. graceful and cat. however. Of all the graceful- ness that his brush reproduced tle in its it on the canvas lit- at that time the picture preserves but very present state. like. Let us leave the physiognomic riddle of Moriha Lisa unsolved. and let us note the unequivocal fact that her smile fascinated the art- ." Leonardo painted this picture four years. . acquired it for the Louvre. . cruel purpose. all that appears alternately behind the laughing veil into evil. but took it with him to France where his benefactor Francis I. that he pro- accomplish. Good and cruelty and compassion. . . during his second sojourn in Florence when he was about the age of fifty years.

especially the mysterious smile and the peculiar glance. we cannot help but believe. vious conception is. 45. This captivating smile had thereafter of his pictures and in those of returned in his pupils. seems. ture of John the Baptist But above all they are distinctly recognized in die Hep. Konin stantinowa in the following manner "During the long period which the master occupied himself with the portrait of Mon£a\ Lisa del Gioconda. to later painted or all faces which he peculiarity pic- drew. e. The mimic in the of Gioconda can even be perceived in the Louvre.: LEONARDO DA VINCI ist 83 no less than all all the spectators for these 400 years. that he found model and became so charmed from now on he endowed it on all This ob5 this smile in his by it that the free creations of his phantasy.g. . he entered into the physiognomic delicacies of this feminine face with such sympathy of feeling that he transferred these creatures. As Leonardo's Monfta Lisa was a portrait to her face a trait of his we cannot assume that he has added own so difficult to exIt press which she herself did not possess. expressed by A..

p. The Macmillan Co. and but for express that this at was but 5 his ideal lady. historical testimony." But the case could have been different. From childhood we see this image defining itself on the fabric of his dream. 1910. 124. features of Anne of the Louvre.: 84 LEONARDO DA VINCI Mary in the picture of St.. the picture is a portrait. and discourses so excellently on "that unfathomable smile always with a touch of something sinister in it. The need for a deeper reason for the fascination which the smile of Gioconda exerted on the artist from which he could not rid himself has been felt by more than one of his biographers. r Pater. ." leads us to another track when he says 6 plays over all "Besides. Pater: The Renaissance. which isa the Leonardo's work. who sees in the picture of Monua embodiment of the entire erotic experience of modern man. JaltT — we might fancy ' embodied and beheld Herzfeld surely must have had something mind when stating that in Monjia Lisa Leonardo encountered himself and theresimilar in 6 W. W.

c. . The assurwe can see an image like that itself Monna Lisa defining belief from Leonardo's liter- childhood on the fabric of his dreams. »L. 8 Scognamiglio. 88. Schorn. Bd. 6. as it is not meant to prove anything. provide of it with ance of Pater that new expression. reads more pre9 cisely as follows *'He formed in his youth : 7 M. and deserves to be taken Vasari mentions as Leonardo's first artistic endeavors. This memory was of sufficient importance to stick to him once it had been aroused he was forced continually to . which is beyond suspicion. 1843." T Let us endeavor to clear up these intimations. seems worthy of ally. p. because had awakened something in him which had slumbered in his soul for a long time. in all probability an old memory.LEONARDO DA VINCI fore found it 85 possible to put so much of his own nature into the picture. Herzfeld : Leonardo da Vinci. "heads of women who laugh. "whose features from time immemorial have been imbedded with mysterious sympathy in Leonardo's soul. 32." 8 The passage. Ill. 1. It was quite possible that Leonardo was fasciit nated by the smile of Moniifa Lisa. p. p.

. drawn from the results of the vulture phantasy. and bility that his we are beginning to have an inkling of the possi- mother possessed that mysterious smile which he lost* and which fascinated him so much when he found it again in the Florentine lady." Thus we discover that his practice of art began with the representation of two kinds of obwhich would perforce remind us of the two kinds of sexual objects which we have inferred from the analysis of his vulture phantasy. then women were nothing else but re- productions of Caterina. reproductions of his the laughing own childish person. his mother. and some heads of children. which have been reproduced in plaster. tradition hardly would have failed to report to us this coincidence. who imagined a childhood for Leonardo which deviates in the essential points from ours.86 LEONARDO DA VINCI some laughing feminine heads out of lime. If the beautiful children's heads were jects. which were as beautiful as if modeled by the hands of a master.. 10 The painting of Leonardo which in point is \of time stands nearest to the Monj»a Lisa v The same is assumed by Mcrejkowski. But if Leonardo himself had displayed this smile. 10 . .

SAINT ANNE [fare p. SHI .


at all events Leonardo's rep- . We may thus allow our interest to glide over from the portrait of Mon*a less beautiful picture. shows the Leonardesque smile most beautiIt fulbvportrayed in the two feminine heads. For if the smile of Gioconda had conjured up in him the memory of his mother. impossible to find out how much earlier or is later than the portrait of Monna Lisa Leonardo began to paint this picture. But it would best harmonize with our expectation features of if precisely the absorption in the Monna Lisa would have instigated Leonardo to form the composition of Saint Anne from his phantasy. and to give back to her the smile he found in that prominent lady. we may well assume that they occupied the master simultaneously. we would naturally understand that he was first urged to produce a glorification of motherhood. now Lisa to this other hardly also in the Louvre. repre- senting Saint It Anne. As both works extended over years. Mary and the Christ child. Saint Anne with the daughter and grand- child is a subject seldom treated in the Italian art of painting.LEONARDO DA the so-called Saint VINCI 87 Anne of the Louvre.

" In Leonardo's picture er's lap. bent Mary is sits on her mothlittle it. the same as the picture of Mon|»a Lisa. its sinister it expresses a_£ajm 12 | c. in her sits the smaller figure of the Christ child. two. near Mary and placed the child between the Others like Jakob Cornelicz in his Berrepresented Saint Anne as holding arm the small figure of Mary upon which still lin pictures. forward and stretching out both arms after the boy who pjays with a lamb. is But the of both in smile which .'' Elsewhere speaking of .88 LEONARDO DA VINCI from all reservation differs widely that is oth- erwise known. says down on her beloved child with a smile that recalls the mysterious expression of la Gioconda. playing on the women. has lost . Konstantinowa. 1. although unmistakably and mysterious character. 11 12 1. and Girolamo dei Libri. Muther like states: n made Anne "Some masters sit Hans Fries. blissfulness. the older Holbein. certainly not of her unconcealed arms propped on her hip and looks down on The grouping lips is quite unconstrained. 309. : " Mary looks tenderly A. c. p. and must have slightly maltreated The grandmother has one both with a blissful smile.

Another striking feature of the picture assumes still greater significance. This circumstance must have furnished him with the facts for the representation of a childhood guarded by a mother and grandmother. As a matter of fact Leonardo gave Mary she features. the mother of Mary and the grandmother of the boy who must have been a matron. but stilLas a young woman of unfaded beauty. Saint Anne. the details of which are explainable by the most inti- mate impressions of his life." says: "The smile of Gioconda floats upon her . his father's mother. who we will as- sume was not less tender to him than grandmothers are wont to be. This picture contains the_synthesis of the histor^f-L^oTiaTdoVduldhood.LEONARDO DA VINCI On becoming somewhat picture it 89 engrossed in this suddenly dawns upon the spectator that only Leonardo could have painted this picture. Mon»a Lucia. but also the grandmother. In his father's home he found not only the kind step-mother Donna Albiera. as only he could have formed the vulture phantasy. is formed here perhaps somewhat more mature and more serious than Saint Mary.

folds and wrinkles. for instance. both are represented with the blissful smile of maternal happiness. Donna 1. and therefore formed also Anne-as a wom an of radiant beauty. believes that Leonardo could not bring himself to paint old age. Caterina. Muther. v. This ^peculiarity of the picture has not failed to exvcite wonder of the authors. 274. Seidlitz. He has had two mothers. from whom he was torn away between the age of three and five years.go the boy LEONARDO DA VINCI stretched out is two mothers. Leonardo's childhood was precisely as remarkable as this picture. his father's wife. . Whether one can the be satisfied with this explanation is a question. Other writers have taken occasion to deny generally the sameness of age of mother and daughter. p. the first his true mother. the one who her arms after him and another \ who seen in the background. Albiera. Bd. and a young tender step-mother. II. c. Muther's tentative explanation is sufficient proof for the fact that the impression of Saint Anne's youthful appearance was furnished by the picture and is not an imagination produced by a tendency. 13 However. " Cf .

the composition of Saini Anne. When and suffer. with With the blissthe real first mother. Leonardo succeeded in reproducing in .LEONARDO DA By the one mentioned above VINCI 91 connecting this fact of his childhood with and condensing therr a uniform fusion. Following the production oi Monna Lisa. The maternal form further away from the boj into designated as grandmother. Italian artists depicted in Ma- donnas and prominent ladies the humble dipping of the head and the peculiar blissful smile of the poor peasant girl Caterina. Mary and the Child. Our del feeling that the smile of Monaa the Lisa Gioconda awakened in the first man memory of the mother of his years of childhood would thus be confirmed from another wori of Leonardo. corresponds in ap- pearance and in spatial relation to the boy. investigate. formed itself in him. ful smile of Saint Anne the artist actually dis- avowed and concealed the envy which the unfortunate mother felt when she was forced tc give up her son to her more aristocratic rival. who brought to the world the noble son who was destined tc paint. as once before her lover. Caterina.

. In the manner of all ungratified _mothers she thus took her little son in place . It is of the nature of a fully gratified love affair. he remained true even in this to the content of his earliest reminiscence. forced to it. the promise of unlimited tenderness. and robbed him of a part of Jove .his virility by the too early maturing of his eroticism.of her husband. it determined his fate and the privations which were in store for him. which . The poor forsaken mother had to give vent through mother's love to all her memories of love enjoyed as well as to all her yearnings for more affection she was . The impetuosity of the caressing to which the vulture phantasy points was only too natural. but also the child for not having a father who wanted to it. namely. For the love of the mother became his destiny. The love of the mother for the suckling whom she nourishes and cares for is something far deeper reaching than her later affection for the growing child. and sinister threat (in the words of Pater).92 LEONARDO DA VINCI Monna Lisa the double sense com- the face of prised in this smile. not only in order to compensate herself for not having a husband.

translated Brill. by A. 2nd edition. 14 Cf. he had long been under the ban of an inhibition. But as he had become a painter he endeavored to reproduce this smile with his brush and furnish all his pictures with it. and this. to the possibility of gratifying without reproach also wish feelings which were long repressed and designated as^ of the is due. . When in the prime of his life Leonardo re-^ encountered that blissful and ecstatic smile as it had once encircled his mother's mouth in caressing. Monograph series. and when it represents one forms of happiness attainable by man it no little measure. 1* Even in the happiest recent mat-] riage the father feels that his child. 1916. in perverse.LEONARDO DA VINCI fulfills 93 not only all the psychic wishes but also all physical needs. especially boy has become his rival. gives origin to an antagonism against the fa-j vorite one which is deeply rooted in the uncon-J the little scious. forbidding him ever again to desire such tenderness from women's lips. whether he exe- cuted them himself or whether they were done by his pupils under his direction. as in Leda. Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex. A.

two are vaMuther says: riations of the same type." These pictures breathe a mysticism into the secret of which one dares not penetrate. The latter. the familiar fascinating smile leads us to infer a love secret. It is possible that in these forms Leonardo disavowed and artistically conquered the unhappiness of his love life. looks on us with infatuated eyes. they are pretty boys of feminine tenderness with feminine forms they do not cast down their eyes but gaze mysteriously triumphant. who with a mysterious smile on his lips. in that he represented the wish fulfillment of the boy infatuated with his mother in such blissful union of the male and female nature.. 94 /John. "From the locust eater of the Bible Leonardo made a Bacchus. at most one can make the effort to conconnection to Leonardo's earlier struct the productions. as if they knew of a great happy issue concerning which one must remain quiet . LEONARDO DA VINCI and Bacchus. that it is . an Apollo. The figures are again androgy- nous but no longer in the sense of the vulture phantasy. and with his soft thighs crossed.

JOHN THE BAPTIST tlii-c p. H41 .


c p. The slight error in its form consists in the fact that in the computation of the time "at 7 o'clock" is repeated twotimes. 1504. In July. a ore 7. Wednesday at 7 o'clock died Ser Picro da Vmci.) Among 95 . left 10 sons and 2 daughters.. at 7 o'clock. notary at the palace of tie Podesta. my father.: there the entries in Leonardo's diaries one which absorbs the reader's attention through its important content and on account of a small formal error. He was 80 years old. 1 lascio 10 figlioli maschi e 2 feminine. he wrote "Adi 9 Luglio. 1504. Era d'eta d'anni 80." (E. mercoledi. 1. as if Leonardo had forgotten at the end of the sentence that he had already written it at the beginning. mio padre. a ore 7 mori Ser Piero da Vinci notalio al palazzo del Potesta. It is only a triviality to is * "On the 9th of July. 13." The notice as we see deals with the death of Leonardo's father. 1504. Miintz.

Perhaps he would not even notice it." The psychoanalyst thinks differently. tike the funeral account of Caterina and the expense account of the pupils. of if his attention would be called to it he would say "that can happen to anybody during absent-mindedness or in an affective state and has no further meaning.* f'We i> call such a repetition a perseveration. the same pushing forward of numbers. * I shall in . to him nothing is too trifling as a manifestation of hid. too. it shows the same pedantic precision. We would say that.96 LEONARDO DA VINCI which any one but a psychoanalyst would pay no attention. and the long hidden feeling forcibly obtained a distorted expression. this notice. and that one is indebted to the "absentmindedness" when it makes possible the betrayal of otherwise concealed feelings. corresponds to a case in which Leonardo was unsuccessful in suppressing his affects. - overlook a greater error committed by Leonardo his notice in that he gives his 77-year-old father 80 years. [ den psychic processes he has long learned that such forgetting or repetition is full of meaning. Also the form is similar.

il luogo mio." "He who usurps on is which of my earth my place." Without Leonardo's follows: affective inhibition the entry into the diary could perhaps have read as To-day at 7 o'clock died my father. has made out cemetery a sewer. my poor father! But the displacement of the perseveration to the most indifferent determination of the obituary to dying-hour robs the-notice of us recognize jthat there conceal all pathos and lets was something here to and tojsuppress. recalls for One diso: 8 "Quegli ch'usurpa in terra il luoga mio II luoga mio. was a man of great energy who attained respect and affluence. Ser Piero da Vinci. He was married four times.LEONARDO DA VINCI It is 97 an excellent means to indicate the affective example Saint Peter's angry speech against his unworthy representative on earth. void in the presence of the Son of God. notary and descendant of notaries. che vaca Nella presenza del Figliuol di Dio. ." Canto XXXVII. my place. Fatto ha del cimiterio mio cloaca. Ser Piero da Vinci. my place. as given in Dante's Paraaccentuation. the two a first wives died childless.

it was not only in a negative first sense. With the fourth and last wife whom he married when he was already. To be sure the father also assumed importance in Leonardo's psychosexual development. and had long ago changed his father's home for the studio of his master Verrocchio. but also directly through his presence in his later childhood. and this brought him into that relation of 4 It phantasy and later task to triumph over him. in his seems that in that passage his sisters erred in the number of of the diary Leonardo also and brothers.g8 and not the first LEONARDO DA VINCI till the third marriage has he gotten legitimate son. . in 1476. Albiera. cannot help wishing to put himself in his father's place. certainly must have taken the place of his mother in his feeling. which stands in remarkable contrast to the apparent exactness of the same. in the 4 fifties he begot nine sons and two daughters. when Leonardo was 24 years old. the young step-mother. through his absence during the boy's childhood years. He who as a child desires his mother. and what is more. to identify himsetf with him jnake it his life's As Leonardo was not yet five years old when he was received into his paternal home.

Whoever works as an artist certainly feels he as a_." and to show his father exactly how the real high rank looks. The identification nardo's works of art.LEONARDO DA rivalry to his father VINCI 99 as normal. with his father had a fateful result in LeoHe created them and . We hear that he was fond of luxury and pretty raiments. near When Leonardo ac- cepted this preference the^idenHEcation^/lth the!iather_lQsi_iir^^ life." We shall not hold his artistic taste entirely responsible for all these special likings . but continued in other spheres of non- erotic activity. we recognize in them also the compul- sion to copy his father and to excel him. He played the part of the great gentleman to the poor peasant incentive that girl. father to his works. and kept servants and horses. although according to Vasari's words "he hardly possessed anything and worked little. the preference for itself till homosexuality did not manifest the years of puberty. hence the son retained the he also play the great gentleman. had the strong feeling "to out-herod Herod. As is which may be designated known.

every artist was in need of a gentleman of rank to act as his benefactor. This patron was wont to give the artist commissions for work and entirely controlled his destiny Leonardo found his patron in Lo^iovjcersifQrj nicknamed II Moro. who died a prisoner in a French prison. and in the equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza. while in his service he evinced his most uninhibited productive activity as is evidenced in The Last Supper. At the time of the Renaissance. He left Milan before the catastrophe struck Lodovico Moro. as the latter originated from the impressions of the first years of childhood. Leonardo spent the best period life. The later worriments of his father could change nothing in this compulsion.loo LEONARDO DA VINCI no longer about them. and even much later. a man of high aspirations. and the repression having remained unconscious was incorrigible through later experiences. as his father did not trouble himself jthen troubled himself just about him. In his court in Milan. of his When the news of his benefactor's fate reached . ostentations^ diplomatically astute. but of an unstable and unreliable character.

were all still He dared utter this bold principle which contains the justification for all independent investigation "Chi disputa allegando Vautorita non adopra I'ingegno ma piuttosto la memoria" (Whoever refers to authorities in disputing ideas. wealth. while the others asleep. According to Merejkowski's beautiful comparison he was like a man who awoke too early in father-series. . 1. Seidlitz. and liberty. his resistance against the father was the infantile determinant of his perhaps equally vast accomplishment as an artist. c." It is remarkable and surely not without significance that he here raises the same reproach to his benefactor that posterity was to apply to him. if the imitation of his father hurt him as an artist. p. 270. as if he wanted to lay the responsibility to a person who substituted his he himself left his works unfinished. for the fact that the darkness. II. As a matter of fact he was not wrong in what he said about the Duke. not one of his works will be finished by 5 himself. works with his memory rather : 1 v. However.LEONARDO DA VINCI 101 Leonardo he made the following entry in his diary: "The duke has lost state.



Thus he became the first modern natural philosopher, and his courage was rewarded by an abundance of cognitions and suggestions; since the Greek period he was the first to investigate the secrets of nathan with his reason).®

on his observation and his But when he learned to depreciate authority and to reject the imitation of the "ancients" and constantly pointed to the
ture, relying entirely

own judgment.

study of nature as the source of
tainable to


wisdom, he

only repeated in the highest sublimation

man, which had already obtruded on the little boy who surveyed the world

with wonder.


retranslate the scientific ab-

stractions into concrete individual experiences,

/we would say that the "ancients" and authority only corresponded to the father, and nature

again became the tender mother who nourished him. While in most human beings to-day, as
in primitive times, the need for a support of

some authority is so imperative that their world becomes shaky when their authority is menaced.. Leonardo alone was able to exist without such support; but that would not have been
6 Solrai,


fior, p. 13.


his fa-

had he not been deprived of

ther in the first years of his




and independence of

his later scientific

investigation presupposes that his infantile sex-


was not inhibited by his fasame spirit of scientific independence was continued by his withdrawing from
ual investigation




If any one like Leonardo escapes in his childhood his father's intimidation and later throws
off the shackles of authority in his scientific in-

would be in gross contradiction to our expectation if we found that this same man remained a believer and unable to withdraw from dogmatic religion. Psychoanalysis has taught us the intimate connection between the father complex and belief in God, and daily

youthful persons lose soon as the authority of In the parental comthe father breaks down. plex we thus recognize the roots of religious need; the almighty, just God, and kindly nature

demonstrates to us


their religious belief as

appear to us as grand sublimations of father and mother, or rather as revivals and restorations of the infantile conceptions of both par-


and need of help
in the

ents. ^Religiousness is biologically traced to

the long period of helplessness

of the

little child.


the child grows up


realizes his loneliness

and weakness

presence of the great forces of
his condition as in childhood

he perceives
to dis-

and seeks


his despair through a regressive revival

of the protecting forces of childhood)
It does not seem that Leonardo's life disproves this conception of religious belief. Accusations charging him with rreligiousness, j

which in those times was equivalent to renouncing Christianity, were brought against him already in his lifetime, and were clearly described in the first biography given by VaIn the second edition of his Vite ( 1568) Vasari left out this observation. In view of the extraordinary sensitiveness of his age in matters of religion it is perfectly comprehensari.

sible to

us why Leonardo refrained from directly expressing his position to Christianity

in his notes.


investigator he did not per-

mit himself to be misled by the account of the creation of the holy scriptures; for instance,





Religion de Leonardo, p. 292,


reads as fo lows: "People talk to people who perceive nothing who have open eyes and see nothing. p." them and receive no answer.: LEONARDO DA VINCI 10. e.j things that would perforce offend the sens feelings 6 Praying to the images of Saints. Among tive his one finds sow Christian." It th was asserted of Leonardo's art that h away the last remnant of religious attacr /ment from the holy figures and put them int human form in order to depict in them grea took 8 Herzfeld. he disputed the possibility of a universal flow and in geology he was as unscrupulous in ca culating with hundred thousands of years "prophecies" of a religious a modern investigators. they sha who have ears and hear nothing they shall burn lamps for those who do nc Or (p. : Concerning mourning on Good Frida b< 297) "In all parts of Europe great peoples will wail the death of one man who died in Orient. . they sha talk to adore those see. 392.

the last cause of all these wonderful but nothing indicates that he wished to hold any personal relation to this divine force. Muther praises him for having overcome the feeling of decadence. From our views mentioned before in the development of the infantile psychic life. The notices which show Leonardo absorbed in fathoming the great riddles of nature do not lack any expressions of admiration for the creator. and for having returned to man the right of sensuality and pleasurable enjoyment. But he him- .io6 LEONARDO DA VINCI - and beautiful human feelings. " tian. and through his work of investigation he had withdrawn far ^ from the world aspect of the religious Christhe kindness or grace of God. it becomes clear that also Leonardo's first investigations in childhood occupied themselves with the problems of sexuality. wisdom of tion of the his last years breathe the resigna- man who subjects himself to the laws of nature and expects no alleviation from There is hardly any doubt that Leonardo had vanquished dogmatic as well as personal religion. The sentences which contain the deep secrets.

him through special concatenations of A very obscure as well as a prophetically sounding passage in his notes dealing with the flight of the bird demonstrates in the nicest way with how much affect ive interes t he_cl ung to the 1 wish that hf hi™*** * should h<» ahto to imitate^ the art of flying "The human bird shall take his first flight. to the recognition of which one can reach by more than one linguistic or objective bridge. and bringing' eternal glory to the nest whence he sprang. all writings with his fame. : But why do so many people dream that they Psychoanalysis answers this question by stating that to fly or to be a bird in the dream is only a concealment of another wish. 107 betrays it to us through a transparent jw that he connects his impulse to investi- gate with the vulture phantasy.' LEONARDO DA VINCI self veil. and we know from the wish fulfilling dreams of people what bliss one expects from the fulfillment of this hope. filling the world with amaze-> ment. are able to fly? j . and in emphasizing the problem of the elaboration flight of the bird as one whose devolved upon fate." He probably hoped that he himself would sometimes be able to fly.

This wish instigate s all thei r playing. . But if children themselves could inform us about it they would probably give different reports. all these facts are only small fragments from a large collection which teaches us that the wish to be able to fly signifies in the dream nothingmore or less than the longinj* f or the_ability of sexual accomplish- Thj sjs an earlylnfahtile w isE! When the grown-up recalls his childhood it appears to him as a happy time in which one is happy for the moment and looks to the future without any wishes. when the is man male member is directly called I'uccello (bird) by the Italians. when the popular designation of the sexual activity of man expressed in Gerby the word "to bird" (vogeln). that on the contrary children are lashed through the years of childhood by the wish to become big. If in ment. it is for this reason that he envies children. the ancients have formed the phallus winged.108 LEONARDO DA VINCI the inquisitive child is When when told that a big little bird like the stork brings the children. and to imitate the grown ups. *Tt seems that childhood is not that blissful Idyl into which we later distort it.

that both wishes were denied to him. or^reparethlsllisguise of the tion. slightly varied. what they are prohibited from knowing or doing. has also its infantite[jrotic~rooJsr By admitting that he entertained a special personal relation to the problem of flying since his childhood. in his cherished art in the . wish for their later flying dreams. namely. continued to hold his interest. that his childhood! — investigation was directed to sexual matters/' At least this one problem escaped the represl sion which has later estranged uality. Thug Aviawhich has attained its aim inT»ur times. they _are_seized with a violent wish to know it. and dream of it in the form of flying. him from sex-) From childhood until the age of per- fect intellectual maturity this subject. Leonardo bears out what we must assume from our investigation of chil-j dren of our times.LEONARDO DA VINCI 109 the course of their sexual investigation chil- dren feel that the grown up knows something wonderful in the mysterious and yet so important realm. and it is quite possible that he was as little successful primary sexual sense as in his desires for mechanical matters.

He himself did not seem averse to giving his time to such things. to When he constructed the ties - most artistic mechanical toys for court festiviand receptions we are dissatisfied thereby because we dislike to see the master waste his power on such petty stuff. tamed and put it in a . when he blew them they flew in the air. which sometimes made said that all great him appear strange and incomprehensible his mained LEONARDO DA VINCI fact the great As a matter of ^tfhole life. Vasari reports that he did similar things even when not urged to it by request: "There (in Rome) he made a doughy mass out of wax. For a peculiar lizard caught by the wine-grower of Belvedere Leonardo made wings from skin pulled off from other lizards. he then made for it it eyes. lit- a beard and horns. and when it softened he formed thereof very delicate animals filled with air. As a grown up he still continued playing. which he filled with mercury so that they moved and treminto bled when it walked. it is Leonardo re- infantile in some ways throughout his men retain something of the infantile. and when the air was exhausted they fell to the ground.

" 9 Such playing often served him as an expression of serieus thoughts: "He had often cleaned ihe intestines of a sheep so well that one could hold them in the hollow of the hand . The plays and jumps which Leonardo allowed his phantasy have in some cases quite misled his biographers 9 "> who misunderstood 1843. and attached them to a blacksmith's bellows which he kept in an ad- them up until they up the whole room so that everybody had to crowd into a corner. he then blew filled to a remarkable degree devoid of wit.LEONARDO DA VINCI tie 111 box and terrified all his friends with it. this Vasa ri. In this manner he showed how they gradually became transparent and filled up with air. and as they were at first limited to very little space and gradually became more and more extended in the 10 big room. almost all are rich in ideas and jacent room. Ebenda. p. the riddles were put into the form of prophecies. 39- ." His fables and riddles evince the same playful pleasure in harmless concealment and artistic investment. he compared them to a genius. he brought them into a big room. translated by Scborn.

p. 11 finally dis- cusses a big elementary event which occurred while he was J. L c. and that while in the Orient he embraced the Mohammedan religion. However. for example. viceroy of the holy Sultan of Babylon. 82 for the wording of the same and for the notices connected with them see Herzf eld. In these letters he defends himself against the reproach of laziness. . Richter had endeavored to prove from these documents that Leonardo these traveler's observations when he really was in the service of the Sultan of Egypt. outlines of letters to the "Diodario of Sorio (Syria). p. P. it was not difficult for other authors to recognize the il- made 11 Concerning these letters and the combinations connected with them see Miinti. and there. before he removed to the court of the Duke of Milan. . This sojourn in the Orient should have taken place in the time of 1483.112 LEONARDO DA VINCI In Leonardo's Milanese manuscripts one finds. In 1881. that is. he furnishes geographical descriptions of cities and mountains." in part of his nature. 223. which Leonardo presents himself as an engineer sent to these regions of the Orient in order to construct some works. L c.

. 8). placed such ornament on the cover of his big work on Leonardo belongs believe in the reality few who of an "Academia Vinto the ciana.. in the center of it one can read the words : "Leonardus Vinci Academia" (p. A phantastic formation is probably also is the "Academia Vinciana.the other. namely." It is probable that this impulse to play disappeared in Leonardo's maturer years. until it formed a perfectly circular figure a very difficult and beautiful drawing of this kind is engraved on copper. LEONARDO DA VINCI 113 lustrations of this supposed journey to the Orient as what they really were. phantastic productions of the youthful artist which he created for his own amusement. and experience adventures. that it became discharged in the investigating activity 12 Besides." the acceptance of which due to the existence of five or six most clever and intricate emblems with the inscription of Vasari mentions these drawthe Academy. 12 Miintz who ings but not the Academy. and in which he probably brought to expression his wishes to see the world. he lost some time in that he even made a drawing of a braided cord in which one could follow the thread from one end to.

.114 LEONARDO DA signified the highest VINCI which long personality. development of his But the fact that it continued so may teach us how slowly one tears himself away from which his infantilism after having en- joyed in his childhood supreme erotic happiness is later unattainable.

no one should really be blamed for not doing something which one never promised.VI It would be futile to delude ourselves that at present. this criticism is so clearly unjust that it can only be grasped when viewed as a pretext and a disguise for something. This attitude is pathography unexcused with the re- proach that from a pathographic elaboration of a great man one_n^y^r~ol)tajns^an under- standing of his importance and his attainments. readers find every savory. when one bears fixed in One finds them mind that biographers are us on their heroes in quite a peculiar manner. does not aim at making comprehensible the at- tainments of the great man. As a matter of fact pathography . The real motives for the opposition are quite different. thaFTFislKerefore useless mischief to study in hinTthings wEich could just as well be found in the Irsf corner However. .

and for the sake of let slip tile phantasies they nature. the infantile conception of the father. as in- were. strange. ideal form instead of the man distantly related. for reasons of their personal life. would have is 1 This criticism holds quite generally and Leonardo's biographers in particular. judging from his love for and his inquisitiveness. they rub out the traces of his struggle with inner and outer resistances. they bear him a special affecfrom the very outset. they then givs us a to cold. They then devote themselves to a work of idealization which emotional tion strives to enroll the great fantile models. whom we could feel It is to be regretted that their infan- they do to this. 1 the opportunity to penetrate into the most attractive secrets of hu- man the truth Leonardo himself. For the sake of wish they wipe out the life's dividual features in his physiognomy. it men among their in- and this to revive through him. for they thereby sacrifice the truth an illusion. not aimed at . and do not tolerate in him anything of human weakness or imperfection.ii6 LEONARDO DA VINCI Frequently they take the hero as the object of study because.

must the compile factors which child from the Let us expressly emphasize that we have never considered Leonardo as a neurotic or as a "nervous person" in the sense of this awk- ward term. Whoever takes it amiss that we should even dare apply to him viewpoints gained from pathology. are sharply distinguished from each other. normal and nervous. his development does no injury to his greatness to study the sacrifices which have entailed. and that neurotic traits must be judged as proof of general inferiority. We that neurotic symptoms are subformations for certain repressive acts which have to be brought about in the course of our development from the child to theTculstitutive know to-day . dices still clings to preju- which we have at present justly given up. We reIt spect him by learning from him.LEONARDO DA VINCI 117 interposed no objections) to the effort of dis- covering the determinations of his psychic and intellectual culiarities development from the trivial peand riddles of his nature. We no longer believe that health and disease. and to have stamped on his person the tragic feature of failure.

and his inhibitions with the so-called "abulias" of the latter. his hereditary factors. We were unable to gain any knowledge about feriority. For this purpose we shall now sumjip what we could discover concernre bourse of his psychic deyelopment. and that amount. that tive formations. in- tensity^ and jjistribu tion oQhese substitutive formations justify the practical conception of illness and the conclusion of constitutional in- Following the slight signs in Leonardo's personality we would place him near that neurotic type which we designate as the "compulsive type. His him of the influence of a father until perhaps his and left him to the tender seduction of a mother whose only consolation he was. u8 LEONARDO DA VINCI we al^ produce such substituonjy^ the ttiraljnan. fifth year. The object of our work was to explain the inhibitions in Leonardo's sexual life and in his artistic activity.. . on the other hand we recognize that the accidental circumstances of his childhood produced a far reaching disturbillegitimate birth deprived ing effect." and we would compare his investigation with the "reasoning mania" of neurotics.

we can conclude that this infantile period did not lack in strong sadistic traits. the intensity of his infantile sexual investigation. The most striking result of this transformation was a turning away from all gross sensual activities. . namely.LEONARDO DA VINCI turity. An energetic shift of repression put an end to this infantile excess. When the floods of pubescent excitement came over the boy they did not make him ill by forcing him to costly and harmful substitutive formations owing to positions . From his later contrasting behavior. and established the diswhich became manifest in the years of puberty. The impulse for looking and inquisitivensss were most strongly stimulated by his impressions from early childhood. as the exaggerated sympathy for animals. Leonardo was able to lead a life of abstinence and made the impression of an asexual person. 1 19 Having been kissed by her into sexual premahe surely must have entered into a phase of infantile sexual activity of which only one single manifestation was definitely evinced. the enormous mouth-zone received its accentuation which it had never given up.

a painter. and sculpthanks to a specific talent which was probably enforced by the early awakening of the impulse for looking in the first years of childhood. was preserved in his unconscious but remained for the time in an inactive state. the greater part of the sexual needs could be sublimated into a generaTthlrst after knowl- edge and so elude repression. life portib^roflfielibido was applied and represented the stunted sexual of the grown up. the obscure age of boyhood Leonardo appears to us as an artist. 1 A much smaller to sexual aims. From tor. In this manner the repression. and sublimation participated in the disposal of the contributions which the sex- ual impulse furnished to Leonardo's psychic life. In consequence of the repression of the love for the mother this portion assumed a homosexual attitude and manifested itself as ideal love for boys. fixation. The fixation on the mother. as well as the happy reminiscences of his relations with her.i2o LEONARDO DA VINCI the early preference for sexual inquisitiveness. We would gladly report in what way the artistic activity depends on the psychic primitive .

and in the case of Leonardo we can referto the information imparted by Vasari. that the almost complete suppression of the real sexual life does not furnish the most favorable conditions for the activity of the sublimated sexual strivings. The figurativeness of his sexual life asserted itself.LEONARDO DA VINCI forces 121 is were it not that our material inade- quate just here. But the experience of others was soon confirmed in him. that the productions phasizing the fact. attracted attention among his first artistic attempts. We content ourselves by emexists. where favored by fate he found a substitute for his father in the duke Lodovico Moro. As he took his father as a model for his outer conduct in life. to wit. namely. that heads of laughing women and pretty boys. concerning which hardly any doubt still of the artist give outlet also to his sexual desire. It seems that during his flourishing youth Leonardo at first worked in an uninhibited manner. he passed through a period of manly creative power and artistic productivity in Milan. his activity and ability to quick decisions reflection began to weaken. or representations of his sexual objects. the tendency to and .

the substitute-for his fa- and with the increasing difficulties in his the ixe^ressiyedisplacejtneni extended in dimension.122 delay LEONARDO DA VINCI was already noticeable as a disturbance in The Holy Supper. and with the influence of the technique determined the fate of this magnificent work. (fiis development at puberty into the artist was outstripped by the I early infantile determinant of the investigator. first in service of his art. which now took the place of his artistic production. He became "impacientissimo al pennello" (most impatient with the brush) as reported by a correspondent of the countess Isabella d'Este cost a painting who from desired to possess at any his hand. 271. the second sublimation of his erotic impulses turned back to the primitive one which was pre- pared at the first repression. later independently and ther. seems to have born past 3 Seidlitz II. 2 i | His infantile had obtained control over him. Slowly a process developed in parallel only to the re- him which can be put gressions of neurotics. p. however. He became his aft?) an investigator. . away from With the loss of his patron. The inyestigation. life.

He painted Monna Lisa. Still a new transformation came over this further regres- deeper strata of his psychic content benefit to his art became active again. but sion which was in a state of deterioration. not infrequently ventures into an ener- getic advance. and a number of mystic pictures which were characterized by the enigmatic smile. At tics the summit of at a time his life. and when the man him. in the age of the -first fifties. and under the influence of this awakening he acquired back the stimulus which guided him in the beginning of his artistic efforts when he formed the smiling woman. when the sex characterislibido in the of the woman have already undergone a regressive change. this satiability. He met the woman who awakened in him the memory of the happy and sensuously enraptured smile of his mother. and in his lack of ability to adjust himself to actual conditions. his was seen regardless obstinacy. was of With the help of his old- est erotic feelings he triumphed in conquering .LEONARDO DA VINCI certain traits 123 which betrayed the activity of unin his in- conscious impulses. Saint Anne.

. for this manner of arranging his life and exscience. But before this his intellect rose to the highest capacity of a view of which was far in advance of his time. But whatever may be the truth about Leonardo's life we cannot relinquish our effort to investigate it psychoanalytically before we have In general we must finished another task. that that I certainly did not overestimate the reliability of these results. once more the inhibition in his This last development faded away in the obscurity of the approaching old age. plaining his wavering between art and If after accomplishing these things I should provoke the criticism from even friends and I have only written a psychoanalytic romance.124 LEONARDO DA VINCI art. in whose being one seems to feel powerful propelling passions. Like others I suc- cumbed to the attraction emanating from this great and mysterious man. I should answer adepts of psychoanalysis. tation of Leonardo's course of development. In the preceding chapters I have shown what justification one may have for such represenlife. which after all can only evince themselves so remarkably subdued.

only the author who forced psychoanalysis to . therefore. If this succeeds then the is reaction of the personality explained through If the cooperation of constitutional and accidental factors or through inner and outer forces. which on the one hand consists of accidental events and environmental influences. and on the other hand of the reported reactions of the individual. mechanisms it now seeks to investigate dynamically the character of the individual from his reactions. as perhaps in the case of Leonardo. such an undertaking. Psychoanalytic investigation has at its disposal the life.LEONARDO DA mark out VINCI 125 the limits which are set up for the working capacity of psychoanalysis in biography so that every omitted explanation should not be held up to us as a failure. Based on the knowledge of psychic. It is. does not yield definite results then the blame for it is not to be laid to the faulty or inadequate psychoanalytic method. but to the vague and fragmentary material left by tradition about this person. and to lay bare his earliest psychic motive data of the history of the person's forces as well as their later transformations and developments.

in another individual it would perhaps not have taken place or it would have turned out not nearly as profuse. through the fact that the sexual repression following this infantile phase jcausedhiiiL to sublimate his libido into a_Jthirst ^£ter_knowledge.126 LEONARDO DA who is to VINCI furnish an expert opinion on such insufficient material.^nd thus determined •his sexual inactivity for his entire later repression. even if one had at his disposal a very rich historical material and could manage the psychic mechanism with the greatest certainty. a psychoanalytic investigation could not it possibly furnish the definite view. Concerning Leonardo we had to represent the view that the accident of his illegitimate birth and the pampering of his mother exerted the most decisive influence on his character formation and his later fate. be held responsible for the However. failure. We must recognize here a degree of freedom which . life. The first which followed the erotic gratification of childhood did not have to take place. however. that the individ- and not differently. if ual could turn out only so con- cerns two important questions.

must be traced back to the organic bases of the character. It is quite probable that another person would not have succeeded in withdrawing the main part of his libido from the repression through sublimation into a desire for knowledge. The two characteristics of Leonardo"' which remained unexplained through psychoanalytic effort are first. upon which alorw§ the psychic structure springs up. The H^iceforth vestigation. _____—impulses and their transformations are the last things that psychoanalysis can discern. and second. his particular tendency . it leaves the place to biological in- The tendency to repression. manent injury to his intellectual work or an uncontrollable disposition to compulsion neurosis. his extraor- dinary ability to sublimate the primitive impulses. to repress his impulses. One is as little justified in representing the issue of this shift of repression as the only possible issue. under the ""same influences as Leonardo another person might have sustained a per-.LEONARDO DA VINCI 127 can no longer be solved psychoanalytically. As artistic talent and productive ability are . as well as the ability to sublimate.


we have
artistic attain-

intimately connected with sublimation

admit that also the nature of


psychoanalytically inaccessible to us.

Biological investigation of our time endeavors
to explain the chief traits of the organic constitution of

a person through the fusion of male and female predispositions in the material
sense; Leonardo's physical beauty as well as

his left-handedness furnish here

some support. However, we do not wish to leave the ground of pure psychologic investigation. Our aim

remains to demonstrate the connection between
outer experiences and reactions of the person


over the path of the activity of the impulses. Even if psychoanalysis does not explain to us the fact of Leonardo's artistic accomplishment, it still gives us an understanding of the expressions and limitations of the same.


seem as if only a man with Leonardo's childhood experiences could have painted Monja Lisa and Saint Anne, and could have supplied his works with that sad fate and so obtain unheard of fame as a natural historian it seems as if the key to all his attainments and failures

was hidden



in the childhood phantasy of the

at the results of an investigation which concede to the accidents of the parental constellation so decisive

But may one not take offense

an influence on the fate of a person, which, for
example, subordinates Leonardo's fate to his illegitimate birth and to the sterility of his first step-mother Donna Albiera? I believe that one has no right to feel so; if one considers
accident as unworthy of determining our fate, it is only a relapse to the pious aspect of life,
the overcoming of which

Leonardo himself

prepared when he put down in writing that the sun does not move. We are naturally grieved over the fact that a just God and a kindly providence do not guard us better against such influences in our most defenseless age. We
thereby gladly forget that as a matter of fact

from our very origin through the meeting of spermatozoa and ovum, accident, which nevertheless participates in the lawfulness and fatalities of nature, and lacks only the connection to our wishes and
everything in our
life is



division of life's determinants

and the "accidents" of our childhood may still be indefinite in individual cases, but taken altogether one can no longer entertain any doubt about the importance of precisely our first
into the "fatalities" of our constitution

years of childhood.
respect for nature,

We all


show too little

in Leonardo's deep


recalling Hamlet's speech "is full of inreasons which never appeared in experis ence." Every one of us human beings corresponds to one of the infinite experiments in

which these "reasons of nature" force them
selves into experience.


La natura e piena d'infinite ragione die non f urono mai M. Hcrzfeld, 1. c. p. U.






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