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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Recto: Designs for a fortress-type palazzo, and for a figure of Neptune. Verso: Notes on Cyprus and the legend of the Sirens c.1508

Recto: Pen and ink and black chalk. Verso: Pen and ink | 27.0 x 20.1 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912591

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Recto: a drawing of a nude figure of a man, standing facing the spectator, with his head turned in profile to the right; at his feet are sea-horses. Below is a faint sketch of the same figure. On the left is a fortified building, with a plan of the same above it. There are notes above and below the drawings. Verso: a note decribing the pleasures of Cyprus. The pose of the male nude is derived from Michelangelo’s marble David (completed in 1504), transformed into a figure of Neptune by the addition of at least one sea-horse, whose reins he holds in his right hand. The architectural studies ð Renaissance details applied to a fortress-like structure ð may have been a project for a palace for Charles d’Amboise, the French governor of Milan. Leonardo’s notes above and below give instructions for the layout of a garden, and the figure of Neptune may thus have been an idea for a fountain sculpture.