Years ago, on Shabbos evenings, when our children were little, I would frequently grab an art book, sit in my chair, and one of the kids would climb into my lap. We’d turn the pages, look at the pictures, and make up stories about the figures in the paintings.
Ariel, Z’TL, was intrigued by the Dutch painters of the Seventeenth Century: Jan Steen, Peter de Hooch, Vermeer, and Rembrandt. Offspring #2 and #3, girls, inclined to the High Italian Renaissance: Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo.
One memorable night, I opened a book devoted to the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci.
Offspring #2 was about 5 years old at the time, and after leafing through a few pages, she grew bored. She wanted lush colors, luminous light, and dramatic figures in mysterious landscapes. Leonardo’s drawings were too stark, too black and white. And Leonardo’s anatomy drawings… totally gross.
Then I turned to Leonardo’s four sketches for the head of Leda.
Offspring #2 nearly fell off my lap.