Nov 10th – Da Vinci’s Canvas

November 10th – Da Vinci’s Canvas


Leonardo’s boat was a small one, but he liked it. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than idly drifting down the Arno, or unfurling the small canvas sail and watching it catch the wind, swelling into life as the small boat picked up speed.

Just like everything else he turned his hand to, Leonardo was a good sailor. Perhaps not yet a master, as he was in many other areas, but he had skill. Everyone on the river acknowledged that, even those that didn’t know, or care, about the Medici connection.

And he needed his skill today. His sail had been torn from the mast a couple of days previously, and so under the power of his own oars he was making his way to the opposite bank of the Florentine waterway, in the shadow of Ponte Vecchio, to Giorgio’s.

Giorgio was a sailmaker, like his father before him, and, although he didn’t know Leonardo was coming, was not surprised to see him. They were friends, of a kind, and although they moved in very different circles, they took a simple kind of pleasure in each other’s company. So when Leonardo entered, and announced that he needed a sail, Giorgio, rather than send him away with a request to come back tomorrow, simply unrolled a large canvas sheet and got to work, as Leonardo watched.

Despite some concern at Giorgio’s measuring technique, and seeing some easy ways in which Giorgio’s stitching could be improved, Leonardo kept quiet and watched his friend work. It was a good way to spend a morning in Florence in late spring, and he had nothing to do that couldn’t wait. He would pick up the panels for the painting later, as he made his way back across the river. For now, he accepted his friend’s offer of a shared bottle of wine, and stretched out his legs on the sailcloth in the corner of Giorgio’s atelier.

Leonardo Da Vinci painted all of his works on wooden panels. Canvas as a medium for painting did not come into common use until after Da Vinci’s death. Although he may have experimented on a couple of Giorgio’s offcuts.

Inspired by prompts from here

Da Vinci’s Canvas – The Writeycorn

Da Vinci’s Canvas

it was a normal day for Leonardo da Vinci. He was painting a picture of a lady who had a peculiar expression. 2 days later. He was finished and he sold it for a lot of money to  the woman herself. But a few weeks later she came over to his house and said “Help, the picture has come to life!” and just then he heard some voices upstairs and thought “Dammit those boys have got in again.”

“Wait a minute,” he said and went upstairs and he was amazed; his paintings were all alive… 

Inspired by the November Writing Prompts.

Da Vinci’s Canvas – Dead Deer

This is morning. A clean, pure white canvas. A large rectangle of opportunity, of promise. But with this fresh start comes new worry. It is a daunting prospect, the first brushstroke. HIs model sits patiently, waiting for him to start. She is expecting to sit for some days.

Leonardo frets and bustles about. He checks his brushes, mixes his colours, draws the curtains a little further, checks his brushes again. He is merely putting off that moment when he first stains the accusing blank in front of him. Rather as one hesitates momentarily before entering the shower; fully aware that once in there the soothing warm sprinkle will be a delight, but still nervous to cross that boundary.

He is undecided how he wants this to be, surely not yet another straight portrait? He must try to capture something new. He has no ideas. He looks at his model, still waiting expressionless. He explains gently that he is nearly ready to go, and once more fusses over his equipment. No really, he tells her, I know what I’m doing. His attempt at confidence is seen for what it is, she sees through him and is entertained by the master’s dallying.

He looks up once more, she is amused by his indecision, and involuntarily gives a knowing half-smile.

Inspired, he begins. 

Prompted by ideas here. My other writings here. All my prompted writing here, and my tweets here.