New Theory Sheds Light on Leonardo da Vinci’s Artistic Decline

SATURDAY, May 4, 2019 — A fainting-related fall that caused nerve damage in his right hand could explain why Leonardo da Vinci’s painting skills declined later in life, a new paper suggests.

The report, published as the world marks the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, contradicts the common belief that da Vinci’s difficulties stemmed from a stroke.

To arrive at that conclusion, the report authors compared a drawing of an elderly da Vinci with an engraving of the artist and inventor when he was younger. They also studied a biography of da Vinci.

The drawing shows da Vinci’s right arm in folds of clothing as if in a bandage, with his right hand suspended in a stiff, contracted position, according to the paper published May 3 in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

“Rather than depicting the typical clenched hand seen in post-stroke muscular spasticity, the picture suggests an alternative diagnosis such as ulnar palsy, commonly known as claw hand,” study co-author Dr. Davide Lazzeri said in a journal news release.

Lazzeri is a plastic surgeon at the Villa Salaria Clinic in Rome.

Based on the drawings, he said it’s likely that the ulnar palsy was caused by injury to the right limb when da Vinci fell after fainting. The ulnar nerve runs from the shoulder to little finger. It manages nearly all of the hand muscles used in fine movements.

Lazzeri noted that da Vinci’s hand impairment was not associated with mental decline or other impaired movement, suggesting a stroke was unlikely.

“This may explain why he left numerous paintings incomplete, including the Mona Lisa, during the last five years of his career as a painter while he continued teaching and drawing,” he said.

While the problem with his right hand affected da Vinci’s ability to hold palettes and brushes to paint, he was able to continue drawing with his left hand and teaching, Lazzeri explained.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on ulnar nerve dysfunction.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2019

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Domee Shi’s Pixar Short ‘Bao’ Satisfies Artistic Appetite

Bao

For so many of us, food is home. The type of food made by parents or caregivers becomes as much a part of who we are as anything else that we experience growing up. And so it was for filmmaker Domee Shi when it came to her short, Bao, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and will play in front of The Incredibles 2 in June.

“Growing up, I’d just eat these amazing dumplings that my mom made all the time and I didn’t understand how hard she’d worked on them,” says Shi, who is the first woman at Pixar to direct a short film. “My mom usually made these half-moon-shaped, Beijing-style boiled dumplings, or bao, and that really inspired me when I was thinking of this story, of something you care for and work hard to create and kind of coddle, because I was definitely overprotected as I was growing up as an only child.”

Shi, who was born in China and raised in Toronto, started as an intern at Pixar just after college in 2011. A devotee of anime, she worked as a storyboard artist on Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur and Toy Story 4. Around 2014, Shi started to put together elements of what would eventually become Bao, but with the idea that the project would be “a side hustle” because she didn’t think Pixar would be interested in her very personal, unusual project.

Just the same, she found herself pitching the idea of a traditional Chinese mom who “nearly nuzzles her little baby dumpling until it dies” to one of Pixar’s legendary directors, Pete Docter.

“My mom has always told me to believe in myself and to work for what I want, and I think that’s a big part of why I pitched the idea,” says Shi. “And he loved it — even the dark or strange parts of it.”

Plump and Appetizing

As difficult as dumplings are to make in the real world, they’re even more complicated to pull off in the digital realm. The texture of the dough has to look both plump and full of ingredients while also smooth on the outside. And, in this case, the character Dumpling also had to have the kind of human qualities — like the rounded mouth of a baby — that would made him relatable, and more than just another delectable for someone to pop in their mouth.

“I think the hardest thing for our effects artists was getting the texture of Dumpling just right, because it can’t be too wet or too full or not full enough. So, we had my mom come in and make dumplings for reference so everyone could see how they’re made and how they look,” says Shi. “I think they really enjoyed eating her cooking and my mom was very proud of her food.”

Shi gave the animators oodles of references of Japanese animation that leaned into a more “cartoony” style. The director was after a look that was organic, squishy and round. Things needed to look like they’d been handmade, and the surroundings needed to give the audience a sense of warmth.

One of Shi’s major influences on the project was Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata’s My Neighbors the Yamadas. Shi loved how Takahata explored culture through seemingly ordinary moments in the lives of his characters. And this led her to document the lives and habits of many Chinese matriarchs living in the neighborhoods near her. The director was inspired to create environments that conveyed the world she knew growing up.

“I was excited to show every detail of what a Chinese immigrant home would look like, what kinds of things would be common for them to have, how they would set up their house and every detail of how the mom in the film would make her dumplings, how she would stuff them and then pinch the dough to seal them up,” says Shi. “Our production designer Rona Liu is a Chinese-American artist, too, and I loved her aesthetic. She also understood the details of a Chinese immigrant household, and we took trips to Chinatown in San Francisco and Oakland for reference. I was fortunate to make a film about so many things that are important to me and to my mom.”

Bao plays before The Incredibles 2 in theaters.

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Bao

Domee Shi

Domee Shi

Animation Magazine

An Artistic Journey: Concept Artist Luca Pisanu

Luca Pisanu

Luca Pisanu

Italian visual development and concept artist Luca Pisanu’s creative passion has taken him on an international voyage. This openness to adventure comes through in his personal artwork and in the pieces he has created for high-profile properties like Disney’s Moana and Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. Pisanu currently works at Disney Publishing on upcoming titles like Coco, The Incredible 2 and Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet.

How did you get your start in animation?
My love for art started when I don’t even remember thanks to my father that put a pencil in front of me and started what I can call today a job. My family has always been very supportive about my choices and I focused all my studies into something that could be creative somehow. Studying graphic design and then fine arts in Florence helped me tremendously. Drawing was something that I was doing constantly, I remember that the best gift at Christmas was always lots of paper and nice pencils. After Florence, I left Italy to go to London to work on commercials and I joined the VFX industry, always keeping my goals clear and working a lot on my portfolio.

What was the toon that changed your life?

I clearly remember when I saw The Rescuers, the first VHS ever that touched the table of my house. I was just impressed. I couldn’t understand what I was looking at in terms of art but I knew that was something I wanted to learn and do. Then Toy Story, Bug’s Life and so on came out and by then and they were just confirming that that had to be my life one day.

How you got your big break in the business?

It’s a combination of events. I started with my feet into photo retouching and matte painting while I was creating concept arts. I was learning all I could on both sectors and trying to put together all that knowledge and new things into something mine, fresh and appealing. That’s still the goal today. That was the goal and got me many contacts during the years I spent in London. I slowly started to grow, and fortunately people started to [know] my work on their projects more often month after month.

Do you have any words of advice for artists just breaking into the industry?

The best advice I can give is indeed to stay focus, never lose confidence and be open to critics, changes and different opinions. Work hard and try to see what’s really necessary in the short distance in order to get you in your long distance goals.

Of course be nice with people, teamwork is crucial!

I know it sounds very cliché, but there are no shortcuts unfortunately. The art journey is like climbing: in order to go up you have to move right and left, making decisions step by step. My journey is still very, very long hopefully, but my friends I can tell you that our job will give you lots of satisfaction.

You can find more artwork and information for Luca Pisanu at http://luca-pisanu.com.

dreamer painting

dreamer painting

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eclipse location

The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur

Moana

Moana

Luca Pisanu

Luca Pisanu

Animation Magazine

Disney TV Animators Show Off Artistic Side

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Disney Television Animation played host April 29 to “Man Vs. Machine: The Robot Show!,” an exhibition of artwork by its artists, executives and staff.

Here are some images and video from the event, which was held at the studio’s headquarters in Glendale, Calif.

CRAIG MCCRACKEN (CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "WANDER OVER YONDER")

CRAIG MCCRACKEN (CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “WANDER OVER YONDER”)

DARON NEFCY (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "STAR VS. THE FORCES OF EVIL")

DARON NEFCY (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “STAR VS. THE FORCES OF EVIL”)

SAM LEVINE (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "PENN ZERO: PART-TIME HERO")

SAM LEVINE (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “PENN ZERO: PART-TIME HERO”)

DAN POVENMIRE (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "PHINEAS AND FERB")

DAN POVENMIRE (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “PHINEAS AND FERB”)

DISNEY CHANNEL CORPORATE - Disney Television Animation hosted a

DISNEY CHANNEL CORPORATE – Disney Television Animation hosted a “Man Vs. Machine: The Robot Show!” art gallery spotlighting individual pieces from its talented pool of artists, executives and staff at the studio headquarters in Glendale, California on Tuesday, April 29. (DISNEY CHANNEL/Rick Rowell) CRAIG MCCRACKEN (CREATOR/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “WANDER OVER YONDER”), SAM LEVINE (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “PENN ZERO: PART-TIME HERO”), DAN POVENMIRE (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “PHINEAS AND FERB”), LISA SALAMONE-SMITH (SVP, PRODUCTION, DISNEY TELEVISION ANIMATION), ERIC COLEMAN (SVP, ORIGINAL SERIES, DISNEY TELEVISION ANIMATION), DARON NEFCY (CREATOR/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “STAR VS. THE FORCES OF EVIL”), GARY MARSH (PRESIDENT AND CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, DISNEY CHANNELS WORLDWIDE)

Animation Magazine