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LEONARDO DA VINCI (VINCI 1452-AMBOISE 1519)

A design for a costume of an imaginary beast

c.1517-18

RCIN 912369

A drawing of a dragon, moving in profile to the right. It has a hairy body, a tail, short horns, an open mouth and, apparently, a hairy, clawed arm coming out of the back of its neck. In 1516, aged 64, Leonardo was invited to France to serve Francis I at his chain of palaces in the Loire valley. One of his responsibilities was apparently to design costumes for entertainments. This dragon was conceived in the manner of a pantomime horse, for a clawed arm in black chalk emerges from the side of the head, at the natural height of a man whose legs form the front legs of the beast and who supports the oversized head on his shoulders, in the manner of traditional Chinese festival dragons.
  • An A in a circle, surmounted by a P. Briquet 9608 (Milan 1495-1501, Venice 1499)

    stamp, ER VII, crowned, in oval: Lugt 901


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