If you need glasses for reading or seeing things up close, then be sure to take them with you to see the the High Museum's Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit. I thought that the magnifying glass they offered would would do the trick.... um.... no. I retrieved my glasses from the coat check and used them ALONG WITH the magnifying glass. Perhaps you're beginning to get a sense of how small and intricate some of these works are. Forget being able to read or write forward or backwards, heck, all the notes on Leonardo's manuscripts are scribed so so tiny. Many sketches and images were no more than a inch or two tall. And herein lies the joy of this exhibit for me.
First, when you have your face merely inches away from a small sketch by this artist/engineer, it is as if all time compresses. Leonardo and I have about 500 years between us but when I was so close to his work (tiny work) such that I was able to see the weave of the paper, each hash mark and stroke of his pen and the subtle shading of his chalks, I felt close to the man. I felt his presence, or at least I saw it in his work.
Second, because you have to get pretty close to much of the work to view it, by default you end up pretty close to anyone else viewing the same artifact. Two very dear friends of mine gave into my pleading today and joined me at the High on their way home from work. Here we are going to every piece in the collection, closing in on a work with our magnifying glasses, and saying "Wow, look at this," like kids discovering ants carrying objects. As grown-ups, we just don't generally get that close enough to one another to be fascinated by the discovery of something intricate, deliberate, and creative between us.
I am most enjoying this challenge (seeing lots of art each day of this month) when I share it with friends and loved ones. We have all had fun meeting up for one event or another. We've had great conversations afterward. We've seen and heard beautiful things together.
Between the three of us, today, we reached a consensus that the Drapery Study for a Kneeling Figure Seen in Profile (1470's) was absolutely stunning and one of our favorite pieces. The image is available in the Museum Gift Shop matted and enlarged 2 or 3 times its original size and it does not have nearly the same impact. The smaller original image packs a whallop. [Hey Catherine Fox, how about that for a critique... "packs a whallop."]
Look for works like Study for the Casting of the Sforza Monument (1492-1493) to get a real glimpse into the mind of a man who was, yes, a genius.
This exhibit will remain at the High Museum until February 2010. Other notes: Lunch today was at the Landmark Diner across the street from the Rialto after the Resource Market for the Arts concluded. From there, I hopped on the MARTA two blocks away and took the newly named "Red Line" from the Peachtree Center to the Arts Center station (well... not exactly... I headed south first for a station or two until I realized that the Woodruff Arts Center --where the High Museum is located--is really nowhere near the airport.)