I have a printed reproduction of the artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci commonly known as Vitruvian Man hanging in my home. It has gotten me to wonder about who or what could possibly have inspired the great works of Leonardo Da Vinci.
Although Da Vinci studied architecture he is most often viewed by modern culture as an artist; I imagine that he himself drew no distinctive separation of the two disciplines. Da Vinci studied the works of Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius and, like many others inspired by the architect, set about to draw out what Vitruvius has only documented in textual form in his famous treatise on architecture entitled “De Architectura”. He wrote a ten book treatise on the different aspects of architecture, it is in book three in discussion of temples where the concept of the mathematical structures of man transpires. It was from this inspiration that Da Vinci takes what Vitruvius has spelled out and re-imagines the text in an artistic more visual format.
From these ideas I began to consider the great musicians of our time. There is almost always an ode or requiem or dedication to an inspiring predecessor. Many musicians pay homage to their musical mentors by remaking their songs and yet putting their own mark on it; even reinventing an old song with their own personal style.
What does any of that have to do with writing? My own literary inspirations are many, but primarily Earnest Hemingway and Leonard Cohen come to mind. Hemingway for his format and structure and Cohen for his original and creative use of language and words. When I write I try very much to emulate and honour these great stylists. These are my greatest inspirations. Hemingway was respected by his contemporaries for his great ability of realistic descriptive works of both characters and scenery. A skill I endeavour to improve upon with everything I write.
Like Leonardo Da Vinci I want to take that which inspires me to a higher level. Like many great musicians I want to take what inspires me and make it my own. I’m no Da Vinci of course but I am working at creating my own masterpieces, my own arrangements with words.
If you care to leave a comment please share who has inspired you.
Thanks; peace always;