Leonardo's Knots
La Belle Ferronière painting by Leonardo da Vinci
question and answer about Leonardo da Vinci's paintings
Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci
corner knot from Knot Mandala #3

Corner knot from Knot Mandala #3

17 December 2019

NBC reported about a possibility of a 2nd "Mona Lisa" painting known as the "Earlier Version Mona Lisa." The owners are trying to authenticate it to be an original painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The "Salvator Mundi" sold for $450 million dollars in 2017 as an original Leonardo painting. Can you imagine the value if they can prove this "EVML" is by the maestro!!! Whatever is their criteria for authenticating the painting as an "original" Leonardo painting I can tell you the knot work is NOT by the hand of Leonardo da Vinci. By 1490 (the year they are saying the painting was executed Leonardo da Vinci) he was a MASTER on knot patterns and crossings and whoever painted the knots on this "EVML" was a journeyman at best!
Group claims to have early version of 'Mona Lisa' (NBC News)

Los Gatos Lions Club — 2 March 2019

I presented Leonardo's Knots to the Los Gatos Lions Club. Great service group! I struck up a conversation with one of the members who told me he no longer draws. I could see his hands trembling. He boosted about his art days how he liked starting with a sharpen pencil and run the lead till the wood scraped the paper.

I told him he should get back to it and reminded him that French artist Monet was nearly blind and painted some of his most famous artworks. My words fell flat.

An unexpected surprise happened after my lecture. The guy who couldn't hold a pencil made a mind shift. He came up to me to let me know he wanted to get back to drawing. It reminded me why we are celebrating Leonardo da Vinci's 500th anniversary. Leonardo's work still has the power to inspire and after five centuries — even through his knots!

Italian Athletic Club SF — 14 December 2018

I spoke at the Italian Athletic Club in San Francisco. I know it's a bit of DNA bragging but I do add a plug to my Italian groups. I remind them in our lifetime we are celebrating two Italians 500th anniversary: Christopher Columbus and now Leonardo da Vinci. Proudly, I let them know no other heritage can make that claim.

It was a luncheon and the woman seated next to me was an Italian-South American. I remember my uncle telling me after the war Italian's leaving Italy for a better future, had three possibilities for citizenship. Their first hope was American citizenship, second line of defense was to try Canada and then, if all less failed head to South America.

She and her husband were from the fishing village of Agrigento, Sicily. Like so many immigrants they left Italy and prospered big time in Venezuela. They own one of the largest fish canning businesses and sold their product around the world. She even boosted about having a yacht. However, with the current regimen in Venezuela they valued their lives and left their fortune behind. She said even with barbwire around the house and security it wasn’t enough.

Now the couple lives with her sister in San Francisco but she still doesn't speak English. I suggested she listen to American cartoons. When we lived in Italy I watched lots of Italian cartoons and it helped to learn Italian. With our common language Italian I told her I didn't think she would get any benefit from my lecture on Leonardo's Knots since I was going to be speaking English.

I had to do my presentation during the guest's lunch — between the pasta and their entrée When I got back to my entrée plate I received the most delightful comment from the woman lunching next to me who spoke no English. Leonardo's knots evoked a memory from her past. She remembered living next to the monastery in Agrigento where the nuns taught her how to knit and crochet. She didn't need to say much more than that. No language was needed to translate her body language. She was home.

12 March 2020

Luca Garai book cover I have the most serendipitous story to tell you. I’m teaching a class entitled, The Apprentice, Master and Renaissance Woman about the three Renaissance luminaries Leonardo da Vinci, Luca Pacioli and Isabella d’Este. I begin the story of Leonardo with the Festa del Paradiso. It was a theatrical play Leonardo da Vinci designed and produced in 1490. There is only one book on the play by author Luca Garai and the only place I could find a copy was at Stanford library. Yesterday I made a trip to Palo Alto to read the book. I open my email this morning and I see I had sold my book Leonardo's Knots to Luca Garai from Italy. The same as the author of the book on Festa del Paradiso. What are the odds??