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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

The head of an old bearded man in profile c.1519

RCIN 912500

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This must be one of Leonardo’s last drawings, executed on low-quality paper with hard, scratchy chalk. The hesitant lines suggest that his physical powers were failing, and the decrepitude of Leonardo’s imagined subject surely expresses his feelings about his own decay. This not how Leonardo looked, but it is perhaps how he felt as he approached his death.