Leonardo & I

by barabeke

Some people have asked me how I relate to Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps because of the masked Mona Lisa on my homepage presenting the Ten Commandments for the Digital Millennium, for the recurrence of his works in my works, or for the article I wrote about Mona Lisa’s identity.

Leonardo is indeed a great influence for me, although by no means I mean to compare myself to his genius. I am not even good at drawing, what I share with Leonardo is mostly being Italian and eclectic.

How he influenced me then? In the cradle, I believe.

little Barabeke in the cradle

As a baby, I have been sleeping for years with Da Vinci’s The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist above my head, or better with a big print of the cartoon you can admire in London at the National Gallery. My father bought it there, before I was born, because he thought St. Anne looked a lot like my mother (true).

I suspect that mysterious work from DaVinci, about which both Freud and Jung wrote, had a profound influence on me. I have memories of me as a kid fixating St. Anne in a trance. It may be for this reason that I connect with Da Vinci more deeply than with any other artist. I recognise the source of our inspiration to be similar (although I cannot express it as masterfully, not even by far).

My visual art consists in mixing ordinary pictures I take with my iPhone in wild ways, without any hand drawing involved, creating with reality as we see it a new visionary reality of psychic and archetypal nature. The core of my technique is expressed through my transmutations series.

Barabeke, Holy Trinity, BBK17V063

We are worlds apart, and yet I have a special intuition for him. Fortuitous circumstances led me to do research on Leonardo and Mona Lisa and find visual and historical evidence in support of an uncomfortable theory about her identity. I presented my findings in the article Mona Lisa is not Mona Lisa: On Da Vinci’s Life, Sexuality, and Inspiration, which attracted some interest (21K views on Medium as of May 2020) and gave me the opportunity of debating with two leading Da Vinci experts.

Works by Leonardo have frequently appeared in my creations, sometimes in almost invisible ways. Here you have some images I created in the past featuring his works (click to open slideshow).





My best (and most recent) work on Mona Lisa or Leonardo though is my Mona Lisa after sex (or transmutation 5).

I also called my newborn son Leonardo. It’s not my intention to charge him with expectations but I hope the name he bears will make him proud of his Italian roots and inspire him to be a free man with a humanist outlook.

That’s all I share with Leonardo Da Vinci. Maybe also some personality trait. It’s not little but not even too much. It makes life more interesting on my side, and that’s all that counts.

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