Pictures must not


Pictures must not

Take a piece of glass of the size of a half sheet of royal folio paper, and fix it… between your eye and the object you wish to portray. Then move it away until your eye is two-thirds of a braccio away from the piece of glass, and fasten your head by means of an instrument in such a way as to prevent any movement of it whatsoever. Then close or cover up one eye, and with a brush or a piece of red chalk finely ground mark out on the glass what is visible beyond it; afterwards, copy it by tracing on paper from the glass, then prick it out upon paper of a better quality and paint it if you so desire, paying special attention to the aerial perspective. Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci XXIX Precepts of the Painter, Tr. Edward MacCurdy (1938).

If you wish to thoroughly accustom yourself to correct and good positions for your fingers, fasten a frame or a loom divided into squares by threads between your eye and the nude figure which you are representing, and then make the same squares upon the paper where you wish to draw the said nude but very faintly. You should then put a pellet of wax on a part of the network to serve as a mark which as you look at your model should always cover the pit of the throat, or if he should have turned his back make it cover one of the vertebrae of the neck. …The squares you draw may be as much smaller than those of the network in proportion as you wish your figure to be less than life size…

Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci XXIX Precepts of the Painter, Tr. Edward MacCurdy (1938).

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