Monday, August 28, 2006

(50) a Leonardo parody

The gigantic ears and knife are only one of several parodies of Leonardo da Vinci's numerous designs for real and preposterous war machines (see the notes for another Leonardo parody). An interesting difference is that none of the ones in The Garden of Delights/El Jardín de las Delicias has wheels. They may be a comment on the Indians not having the equivalent of European war machines, especially since the only easy-to-recognize American artifact in the triptych is a feathered disc which might have reminded people of European armor but whose main military purpose would have been to look impressive.

The right-side-up and upside-down people transporting one of the "war machines" may be demonstrating what wheels might have looked like from an Indian perspective, or according to an Indian joker. The image of people going around and around on a wheel of fortune is European.

Wheels are shown as dangerous things in the Haywain triptychs.


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