Allegory (c.1516; Paris, France) by Leonardo da Vinci

Allegory - Leonardo da Vinci - c.1516; Paris, France

Artwork Information

ArtistLeonardo da Vinci
Datec.1516; Paris, France
Dimensions17 x 28 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance

About Allegory

The artwork entitled “Allegory,” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, is believed to have been created around 1516 in Paris, France. This allegorical painting, which utilizes chalk on paper as its medium, adheres to the stylistic and thematic principles of the High Renaissance. It measures 17 by 28 centimeters and, like many allegorical works, it is likely to be rich with symbolic meaning.

The artwork presents a scene that is complex and evocative, characteristically Renaissance in its blend of naturalistic detail and emblematic imagery. At the center, a large, curved vessel reminiscent of a boat is juxtaposed with a barren, leafless tree. This stark contrast may suggest themes of life and death, growth and decay, or the passage of time—common motifs in allegorical art.

On the left side of the artwork, there appears to be a bear sitting on the vessel, consuming from a bowl, which carries its own implications of nature, necessity, or perhaps vice. To the right, an illustrious eagle perches atop a globe, crowned and bathed in radiant light. The globe beneath the eagle could represent the Earth, and the eagle itself might symbolize royalty, sovereignty, or divine providence, common symbolic attributes during the Renaissance. The presence of the crown and the radiance suggest a connection to celestial or imperial power.

The background is less defined, drawing the viewer’s focus to the drawn figures while providing a sense of setting. The fluid, swirling lines on the bottom right corner suggest the presence of water or wind, which could be interpreted as a reference to the forces of nature or change.

Overall, the drawing demonstrates exquisite control of line and form, and the delicate rendering of the subjects reflects da Vinci’s mastery of anatomical detail and his deep interest in the natural world and its symbolic representation. The artwork invites contemplation and interpretation, challenging the viewer to uncover the layers of meaning within this enigmatic scene.

Other Artwork from Leonardo da Vinci

More High Renaissance Artwork

Scroll to Top