Monday, May 02, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci - the greatest womb twin survivor ever?

It is often said that Leonardo da Vinci was a genius, that he had a modern mind and invented machines far ahead of his time, even though  he lived 500 years ago, between April 15, 1452  and May 2, 1519. So today, being the anniversary of his death, I though he deserved a mention. Not just because he was so gifted as an engineer and artist but because it seems that he was a womb twin survivor - probably the greatest womb twin survivor in the world, ever.

Leonardo was born the illegitimate son of  Ser Piero, a notary. He grew up in the tiny vilage of Vinci, near Florence. 

Museo Leonardiano
Leonardo Museum. This museum is considered to be one of the largest and most original collections of machines and models of Leonardo the inventor, technologist and engineer. Each model is shown together with precise references to the artist's sketches and annotations.
The machines exhibited exemplify various fields of interest: there are military machines, machines for construction, scientific instruments and machines for moving through air, water and on land. Palazzina Uzielli, a newly added section of the museum, houses the temporary exhibitions and an educational center which offers cultural programs.
BlBLIOTECA Leonardiana
A complete and specialized documentation center for the work of Leonardo da Vinci, that has facsimile reproductions of all of Leonardo's manuscripts and drawings.

His most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, hangs in the Louvre. Millions of people pass by every year to gaze at this  little painting, almost lost among the other pieces and now behind glass, but its attraction is hypnotic.

It has been said that the painting relies on optical illusions to do with the action and reaction of light and shade ; it has also been said ( in February this year in fact) that the face in this painting is a man, dressed as a woman.  The assumption is that the face is Leonardo himself, but female.

So now lets look at what evidence has come to us down five centuries that may explain this man in terms of being a womb twin survivor:

1. Same sex attraction. ( An early idea on this blog, 2008) There has been much speculation about this. Sigmund Freud had a great time revealing Leonardo as homosexual and wrote about it.  (Not unsurprisingly, Freud blamed his mother, but then that says more about Freud himself than anyone else. )

But what if Leonardo was the sole survivor of an identical twin pregnancy?  He was left handed and often used mirror writing, which is clear enough as a sign of monozygotic twinning, but  this idea would also explain how he sought after men much younger than himself and formed a deep bond with one of them. - the first  and most significant was "Salai"

Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno (nicknamed Salai (Little Devil). Gian entered Leonardo's household around 1490 at the age of 10. Leonardo himself has recorded in MS. C the precise date of this event. "Giacomo came to live with me on St Mary Magdalene's day (22 July) 1490, aged ten years.

Salai as Saint Sebastian by Leonardo

Salai  has been  described "as an adoptive son, protégé, companion, or servant."  But it may have been a deeper need than that- a deep spiritual bond, made at considerable personal cost to Leonardo because Salai was a compulsive thief as a boy and required constant supervision.  There was no sexual union here, but the presence of Salai  seemed to be essential it seems to Leonardo's mental well being.

2. A love of the feminine?
Although he drew naked bodies often, for he studied anatomy, he seemed to know little of the female form other than the face. His men as depicted in his art were always beautiful and clearly Salai was a pretty boy.  Leonardo himself was very good looking, with  an aesthetic kind of face, and a long nose that was to be found in almost every portrait he made. 

It has been suggested that he painted pictures of himself, again and again.

As a young man

And that the Mona Lisa was a portrait of himself too.

A self portrait and the Mona Lisa superimposed

So why women? What was it about this man that he made such feminine images of men? That the one picture he never finished and kept until his death was one of himself but as a woman? 

What if, along with a lost identical half of himself there was also a sister, just a faint touch of oestrogen from another embryo nearby who was there for a while and soon gone, leaving a vague but profound impression? 

That would make Leonardo da Vinci a multiple womb twin survivor and as such  the greatest womb twin survivor in the world - ever.

 ( ...........and I didnt mention his inability to finish things, his self sabotage and his narcissism - that will have to be another blog, another time!)

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