Lionardo da Vinci

Commisions

Commissions 

'Workj of fame by which I could show to those who are to come that I have been! 

[Memorandum of order of events in the Battle of Anghiari, drawn up apparently for consultation by Leonardo in the composition of his picture on the wall of the Council Chamber of the Palazzo della Signoria at Florence.] 

[Leadjers of the Florentines. 

  • Neri di Gino Capponi. 
  • Bernardetto de' Medici. 
  • Niccolo da Pisa. 
  • Count Francesco. 
  • Micheletto. 
  • Pietro Gian Paolo. 
  • Guelfo Orsino. 
  • Messer Rinaldo degli Albizi. 

You should commence with the oration of Niccolo Piccinino to the soldiers and exiled Florentines, among whom was Messer Rinaldo degli Albizi. Then you should show him first mounting his horse in full armour and the whole army following him: forty squadrons of horse and two thousand foot soldiers went with him. And the Patriarch at an early hour of the morning ascended a hill in order to reconnoitre the country, that is the hills, fields and a valley watered by a river; and he saw Niccolo Piccinino approaching from Borgo San Sepolcro with his men in a great cloud of dust, and having discovered him he turned to the captains of his men and spoke with them. 

And having spoken he clasped his hands and prayed to God; and presently he saw a cloud, and from the cloud St. Peter emerged and Spoke to the Patriarch. Five hundred cavalry were despatched by the Patriarch to hinder or check the enemy's attack. 

In the foremost troop was Francesco, son of Niccolo Piccinino, and he arrived first to attack the bridge which was defended by the Patriarch] ?] * and the Florentines. 

Behind the bridge on the left he sent the infantry to engage our men who beat ofT the attack. Their leader was Micheletto who [ . . . ] was the officer of the watch at the court. Here at this bridge there was a great fight: the enemy conquer and the enemy are repulsed. 

Then Guido and Astorre his brother, lord of Faenza, with many of 
their men, reformed and renewed the combat, and hurled themselves 
upon the Florentines with such vigour that they regained possession 
of the bridge, and pushed their advance as far as the tents. 

Opposite to these came Simonetto with six hundred cavalry to 
harass the enemy, and he drove them again from the spot and reoc- 
cupied the bridge. 

And behind him came another company with two thousand 
cavalry, and so for a long time the battle swayed. 

And then the Patriarch to throw disorder into the ranks of the 
enemy sent forward Niccolo da Pisa and Napoleone Orsino, a beard- 
less youth, and with them a great multitude of men, and then was 
done another great deed of arms. 

And at this time Niccolo Piccinino pushed up another unit of his 
followers, and this caused yet another advance by our men; and had 
it not been for the Patriarch throwing himself into the midst and 
sustaining his commanders by words and deeds the enemy would have 
driven them in flight. 

And the Patriarch made them set up certain pieces of artillery on 
the hill, by means of which he spread confusion among the infantry of 
the enemy. And this disorder was so great that Niccolo began to call 
back his son and all his followers and they started in flight towards 
the Borgo. And at this spot there occurred a great slaughter of men, 
and none escaped save those who were the first to fly or those who hid 
themselves. 

The passage of arms continued until the going down of the sun, 

1 MS. has PP. 

 

IOIO 

 

COMMISSIONS 

 

and the Patriarch busied himself in withdrawing his troops and bury- 
ing the dead, and afterwards he set up a trophy. 

c.a. 74 r. b and 74 v. c 

 

MONUMENT OF MESSER GIOVANNI GIACOMO DA 
TRIVULZIO 1 

Cost of the wor\ and material for the horse 
A courser, life size, with the rider, requires for the cost 

of the metal ducats 

And for the cost of the iron work which goes inside the 
model, and charcoal, wooden props, pit for the cast- 
ing, and for binding the mould, including the furnace 
where it is to be cast ducats 

For making the model in clay and afterwards in wax ducats 
And for the workmen who polish it after it has been cast ducats 

Total ducats 1582 

 

500 

 

200 

432 
450 

 

Cost of the marble for the tomb 
Cost of the marble according to the design. The piece of 
marble which goes under the horse which is 4 braccia 
long and 2 braccia 2 inches wide and 9 inches thick, 
58 hundredweight, at 4 lire 10 soldi per hundred- 
weight ducats 58 
And for 13 braccia 6 inches of cornice, 7 inches wide and 

4 inches thick, 24 hundredweight ducats 24 
And for the frieze and architrave which is 4 braccia 6 

inches long, 2 braccia wide and 6 inches thick, 20 
hundredweight ducats 20 

And for the capitals made of metal of which there are 8, 

5 inches square and 2 inches thick: at the price of 15 

ducats each they come to ducats 120 

And for 8 columns of 2 braccia 7 inches, 4^ inches thick, 

20 hundredweight ducats 20 

1 For a discussion of the evidence relating to the project for a sepulchral monument 
of Marshal Trivulzio of which this is an estimate, see the author's Mind of Leonardo 
(Cape, 1928), pp. 336-9. 

 

COMMISSIONS 

 

[Oil 

 

And for 8 bases, 5% inches square and 2 inches high 5 

hundredweight ducats 5 

And for the stone, where it is upon the tomb, 4 braccia 
10 inches long, 2 braccia 4V2 inches wide, 36 hundred- 
weight ducats 36 

And for 8 feet of pedestals, which are 8 braccia long, 
6 l / 2 inches wide, 6 l / 2 inches thick, and 20 hundred- 
weight ducats 20 

And for the cornice that is below, which is [ . . . ] 
braccia 10 inches long, 2 braccia 5 inches wide and 
4 inches thick, 32 hundredweight ducats 32 

And for the stone of which the recumbent figure (il 
morto) is to be made, which is 3 braccia 8 inches long, 
1 braccia 6 inches wide, 9 inches thick, 30 hundred- 
weight ducats 30 

And for the stone that is beneath the recumbent figure, 
which is 3 braccia 4 inches long, 1 braccia 2 inches 
wide, 4^ inches thick ducats 16 

And for the slabs of marble interposed between the 
pedestals, of which there are 8 — 9 braccia long, 9 
inches wide, 3 inches thick — 8 hundredweight ducats 8 

Total ducats 389 

Cost of the wor\ upon the marble 
Round the base of the horse there are 8 figures at 25 

ducats each ducats 200 

And in the same base are 8 festoons with certain other 
ornaments, and of these there are 4 at the price of 15 
ducats each, and 4 at the price of 8 ducats each ducats 92 

And for squaring these stones ducats 6 

Further for the large cornice, which goes below the base 
of the horse, which is 13 braccia 6 inches at 2 ducats 
per braccio ducats 27 

And for 12 braccia of frieze at 5 ducats per braccio ducats 60 

And for 12 braccia of architrave at 1 V2 ducats per braccio ducats 18 
And for 3 rosettes which form the soffit of the monument, 

at 20 ducats the rosette ducats 60 

 

1012 

 

COMMISSIONS 

 

And for 8 fluted columns at 8 ducats each ducats 64 

And for 8 bases at one ducat each ducats 8 

And for 8 pedestals, of which there are 4 at 10 ducats 
each, which go above the corners, and 4 at 6 ducats 
each ducats 64 

And for squaring and framing the pedestals at 2 ducats 

each, there being eight ducats 16 

And for 6 tables with figures and trophies at 25 ducats 

each ducats 150 

And for making the cornices of the stone which is be- 
neath the recumbent figure ducats 40 
For making the recumbent figure, to do it well ducats 100 
For 6 harpies with candlesticks, at 25 ducats each ducats 150 
For squaring the stone on which the recumbent figure 

rests, and its cornice ducats 20 

Total ducats 1075 

 

The total of everything added together is ducats 3046. 

 

c.a. 179 v. a 

 

The Labours of Hercules for Pier F. Ginori. 

 

c.a. 21 

 

v.b 

 

Francesco. 

Antonio: lily and book. 

Bernardino: with Jesus. 

Lodovico: with three lilies on his breast, with crown at his feet. 

Bonaventura: with seraphim. 

1 From the juxtaposition of these two notes in the manuscript the first may perhaps 
be interpreted as a reference to an intended commission, probably for a work in sculp- 
ture, to be executed or studied for among the casts in that Garden of the Medici in 
the piazza di San Marco, where in the time of II Magnifico an Academy of the Arts 
existed under the charge of the sculptor Bertoldo. Its existence is referred to by Vasari 
in his lives of Donatello and Torrigiano. The fact of Leonardo having worked for a 
time in this garden is borne witness to in the short biography of him written just 
before the middle of the sixteenth century by a Florentine known as the Anon mo 
Gaddiano: 

'He lived as a youth with Lorenzo de' Medici II Magnifico who in order to make 
provision for him set him to work in the garden of the piazza of San Marco in 
Florence.' 

 

COMMISSIONS 1013 

[Diagram for Altarpiece] 

.r 1. 

Giovita Faustino 

I I 

San Piero Our Lady Paolo 

.1 I 1 I 

Elisabetta • Santa Chiara 

1 . I I. 

Bernardino Lodovico 

I I 

Bonaventura Antonio da Padua 

San Francesco 

 

Santa Chiara: with the tabernacle. 

Elisabetta: with queen's crown. 1 1 107 [59] r. 

[Notes apparently relating to some commission] 
Ambrogio de Predis. 
San Marco. 

Board for the window. 
Gaspari Strame. 
The saints of the chapel. 
The Genoese at home. lit. 

[Note with drawing — apparently of mechanism of stage scenery] 
a b, c d is a hill which opens thus : a b goes to c d and c d goes to e /; 

and Pluto is revealed in g, his residence. 

When Pluto's paradise is opened then let there be devils placed there 

in twelve pots to resemble the mouths of hell. 
There, there should be Death, the Furies, Cerberus, many nude Putti 

in lamentation. There fires made in various colours. . . . 

b.m. 231 v. 

1 Following on his identification of the names at the head of the two lists as those 
of the two patron saints of Brescia, Dr. Emil Moller has put forward reasons for regard- 
ing this sketch as intended for an altar-piece for S. Francesco at Brescia, which he 
believes to have been contemplated by Leonardo in the year 1479. (See Repertorium fur 
Kunstwissenschaft, xxxv.) 

 

joi4 COMMISSIONS 

[For heraldic devices — with drawings] 

MESSER ANTONIO GRI, VENETIAN, COMPANION OF 
ANTONIO MARIA 

On the left side let there be a wheel, and let the centre of it cover the 
centre of the horse's hinder thigh-piece, and in this centre should be 
shewn Prudence dressed in red, representing Charity, sitting in a fiery 
chariot, with a sprig of laurel in her hand to indicate the hope that 
springs from good service. 

On the opposite side let there be placed in like manner Fortitude 
with her necklace in hand, clothed in white which signifies . . . and 
all crowned, and Prudence with three eyes. 

The housing of the horse should be woven of plain gold, bedecked 
with many peacocks' eyes, and this applies to all the housings of the 
horse and the coat of the man. 

The crest of the man's helmet and his hauberk of peacocks' feathers, 
on a gold ground. 

Above the helmet let there be a half-globe to represent our hemi- 
sphere in the form of a world, and upon it a peacock with tail spread 
out to pass beyond the group, richly decorated, and every ornament 
which belongs to the horse should be of peacocks' feathers on a gold 
ground, to signify the beauty that results from the grace bestowed on 
him who serves well. 

In the shield a large mirror to signify that he who really wishes for 
favour should be mirrored in his virtues. b.m. 250 r. 

 

CHRIST 

Count Giovanni, of the household of the cardinal of Mortaro. 
Giovannina, face of fantasy; lives at Santa Caterina at the hospital. 

Forster 11 3 r. 

Alessandro Carissimo of Parma for the hand of Christ. 

Forster 11 6 r. 

One who was drinking and left the cup in its place and turned his 
head towards the speaker. 

 

COMMISSIONS 1015 

Another twists the fingers of his hands together and turns with stern 
brows to his companion. 

Another with hands opened showing their palms raises his shoulders 
towards his ears and gapes in astonishment. 

Another speaks in the ear of his neighbour, and he who listens turns 
towards him and gives him his ear, holding a knife in one hand and in 
the other the bread half divided by this knife. 

Another as he turns holding a knife in his hand overturns with this 
hand a glass over the table. 

Another rests his hands upon the table and stares. 

Another breathes heavily with open mouth. 

Another leans forward to look at the speaker and shades his eyes 
with his hand. 

Another draws himself back behind the one who is leaning forward 
and watches the speaker between the wall and the one who is leaning. 1 

Forster 11 62 v. and 63 r. 

Cristofano da Castiglione lives at the Pieta, he has a fine head. 

Forster in 1 v. 

The Florentine morel of Messer Mariolo, a big horse, has a fine neck 
and a very fine head. 2 

White stallion belonging to the falconer has fine haunches, is at the 
Porta Comasina. 

Big horse of Cermonino belongs to Signor Giulio. Forster in 88 r. 

[With drawing of foreleg with measurements} 

The Sicilian of Messer Galeazzo. 

Make this the same within, with the measure of all the shoulder. 

Windsor: Drawings 12294 
[With drawing of horse} 

The big jennet of Messer Galeazzo. Windsor: Drawings 12319 

[These verses, presumably sent to Leonardo by an admirer of his art, 
are the evidence of his having painted a portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli, 
a lady of the Milanese Court] 

1 Description of action of figures in 'The Last Supper'. 

2 MS. Morel fiorentino di miser Mariolo. Morel, a dark-coloured horse (Murray). As 
the manuscript in which these notes occur bears references to the years 1493 and 1494 
they may refer to studies for the equestrian statue of which a model was erected in the 
latter year. 

 

1016 COMMISSIONS 

Ut bene respondet naturae ars docta: dedisset 

Vincius, ut tribuit cetera, sic animam. 
Noluit, ut similis magis haec foret: altera sic est: 

Possidet illius Maurus amans animam. 
Hujus, quam cernis, nomen Lucretia: divi 

Omnia cui larga contribuere manu. 
Rara huic forma data est: pinxit Leonardus: amavit 

Maurus: pictorum primus hie: ille ducum. 
Naturam et superas hac laesit imagine divas 

Pictor: tantum hominis posse manum haec doluit. 
Illae longa dari tarn magnae tempora formae: 

Quae spatio fuerat deperitura brevi. 
Has laesit Mauri causa: defendet et ipsum 

Maurus: Maurum homines laedere diique timent. 1 

ca. 167 v. c 

1 How well the master's art answers to nature. Da Vinci might have shown the 
soul here, as he has rendered the rest. He did not, so that his picture might be the 
greater likeness; for the soul of the original is possessed by II Moro, her lover. 

This lady's name is Lucrezia, to whom the gods gave all things with lavish hand. 
Beauty of form was given her: Leonardo painted her, II Moro loved her — one the 
greatest of painters, the other of princes. 

By this likeness the painter injured Nature and the goddesses on high. Nature 
lamented that the hand of man could attain so much, the goddesses that immortality 
should be bestowed on so fair a form, which ought to have perished. 

For II Moro's sake Leonardo did the injury, and II Moro will protect him. Men 
and gods alike fear to injure II Moro.