I had seen countless works of art prior to my ninth grade year. Paintings from the masters, modern messes and locals trying to sell it at our Public library. My mother made sure I went through the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. as well. I knew all of those paintings and sculptures were important but none of them compelled me to look closely or to even feel slightly impressed or moved. It wasn't until I had seen a particular drawing by Leonardo da Vinci that something clicked. It was that "eureka!!! moment." I had been given a thin paperback book of some of his drawings. I remember thinking it wasn't the best gift I ever got but it was better than socks or something. Then, as I flipped thru, I saw it. It was a sketch for the The Battle of Anghiari. It was this man yelling with his head twisting toward his left shoulder. I remember stopping on that page for some reason. This reddish drawing had power lurking in it. It felt great to have it in my sight. There was strength in holding this flimsy book. It was making a personal connection in the same fashion as having that best friend. I felt like no one else had ever looked at this work the way I was looking at it then. The drawing was unfinished and treated with quick careless strokes on the shoulder and back of the figures head. No hair!!! I still am not totally sure why this picture still gets me. I have the same feelings toward it now that I did when I was 14. This brilliant man drew this face. This singular face. It survived. A simple sketch from a life of otherworldly intellect. I love this drawing.
I was given a chance to choose master artist and draw like them in my first few years at college. I couldn't wait to draw that image. It was weird that I had never made an attempt to do this on my own prior to the challenge of a college level grade. Maybe it just seemed so finished and solid that what was the point. I could draw that man's face for the next thousand years without adding anything to what took Leonardo a few minutes. Below is my drawing from that class some twenty four years ago. I regret to say that I still have this drawing but I've lost that book.