Geometry and Dnamics..
Submitted to the Journal: Cognitive Semiotics; On Aesthetic Cognition Wolfgang Wildgen (University of Bremen) GEOMETRY AND DYNAMICS IN THE ART OF LEONARDO DA VINCI ♦ Abstract After a short biographical sketch in chapter one, chapter two explains how Leonardo contributed to a “semiotics of art”. Two central concepts of his analysis of art are “geometry” and “dynamics”. The application of these two notions to the frescopainting “Last Supper” and to sketches for it is the topic of chapter three. The geometrical solutions for the distribution of 13 persons are discussed in relation to the iconographic tradition and to the art of some followers of Leonardo (e.g., Dürer). Chapter four specializes on figural composition and valence patterns in a series of works by Leonardo (Epiphany, “Virgin in the rocks” and finally “St. Anne”). In the analysis of bodily configurations, gestures of grasping, reaching, and gaze-directions a semantic structure comparable to valence-patterns (case-frames, scenes) in sentences or short narratives is uncovered. In chapter five these patterns are related to the models from dynamic systems theory and social psychology. The final chapter asks if the geometrical and dynamical features discussed are also relevant in the analysis of modern art. ♦ A first version of this paper was given at the Aarhus Conference on “Semiotics of Art” in 2001. Subsequently the topic was treated in lectures at Limoges (France) and Urbino (Italy). More specific elaborations lead to papers given in Kassel (2002) and Frankfurt (Oder) 2005. The publications Wildgen (2004, 2005 and 2006) in French and German treat more specific aspects of the topic. GeometryandDynamicsLeonardonew.doc 1 VON 33