The Kite and the Drowned Man




At the beginning of the 20th century, a pupil of Freud discovered that Leonardo, in his work: The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, hid an image of a kite. Still others later noted in the mountains on the left side of the painting, the shape of a masculine face. It is this face that Federico Zeri, in a critique of the painting, dubs "the drowned man". And what is a kite if not an "animal composition" which Leonardo talks about in the Treatise on Painting? And what can one say about the drowned man? It is simply the portrait of a person, one of the various "men compositions" concealed in his works.

In this image I have outlined "the kite", tracing the lines that are there as part of cloth that enfolds the Virgin. Observing with  particular attention the head of the bird in the original painting, one can see the details of the bird's eye.

We have found this image by turning the upper part of St. Anne 90 degrees counterclockwise. In the inner part of the oval, in the part that really is a group of mountains, one can make out the figure of a masculine face, the so-called "the drowned man".


Wonderful Inventions:

Italian - Spanish

(The text and illustrations published at this site in reference to the graphic elaborations of St. Anne's work are exclusive property of the author. They may be used prior authorization of the author).

Home Page   |   Treatise on Painting