La Bella Principessa     © Franz Gnaedinger 2009/14

The profile of a beautiful princess  bella1.JPG  on vellum on an oak panel measures about 10 by 13.5 inches and contains a precise and meaningful geometry we can ascribe to Leonardo da Vinci. The head of the young woman is framed by a circle (invisible, of course) around the ear (opening of the ear). Add one radius on the left side, on top and on the right side of the circle, and three radii below the circle and you obtain the original format 5:4  bella2.JPG  (You may add half a radius for the frame on each side, outer format 6:5 inner format 5:4.) Proportional divisions of the sides yield important diagonals. Divide the top line in the proportion 1+3 and the bottom line in the proportion 6+5. The straight line between them connects meaningful places of the profile of the young woman: her ‚Scheitelansatz’ (beginning of the parting of her hair above the forehead) and corner of her eye and throat and line of neck – in Leonardo symbols of thinking and seeing and talking respectively.

Another geometry is found in the profile of Isabella d’Este on the carton in the Louvre, starting again with a circle framing the head, radius 1, as on a small scetch by Leonardo, while the circle of the body has radius 2, a larger circle holds the two circles, the big middle circle of radius 3, yielding the original format 8:6 or 4:3, confirmed by the hair that follows an arc of radius 4 around the left upper corner

Ginevra de Benci looks out of her picture, her head fitting closely into a circle around the pupil of her left eye. Add one radius on the left side, on top and on the right side of the circle, and three radii below the circle and you obtain the original format 6:4 or 3:2 that goes along with the painted decoration on the back of the panel.

Ginevra de Benci, La Bella Principessa and Isabella d’Este are stations on the way to the Mona Lisa, allegory of seeing (original format 4:3 or 8:6 or 40:30, with a way more complex geometry, and a multiple meaning, painted philosophy).

Here again the princess in her wider space  The young woman looks out of a window on the left side, listening to someone talk, considering what she hears, ready to turn around and answer, perhaps making a decision? Her finely modulated face appears lively.

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