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.

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Posted: May 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Leonardo proposes to TV presenter partner live on air

Paris St-Germain sports director Leonardo attends the annual reception of the Paris St Germain team at the Paris town hall January 11, 2012. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Paris St-Germain sports director Leonardo attends the annual reception of the Paris St Germain team at the Paris town hall January 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

ROME | Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:26am EDT

ROME (Reuters) – Paris St Germain sports director Leonardo asked his Sky Italia presenter partner Anna Billo to marry him live on air after Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw.

Billo, who was presenting Sky’s Italian coverage of the draw in Switzerland, was speaking to Leonardo about PSG’s quarter-final pairing with Barcelona when she asked him if he had any questions for the studio panel.

The former Brazil midfielder, a former AC Milan and Inter coach, leapt on the opportunity, saying: “Anna, do you want to marry me?”, surprising a clearly embarrassed Billo.

Leonardo, who already has a son with Billo, carried on while everyone in the studio laughed.

“Do you want to marry me? You have to answer me now. I’m waiting for your answer. It’s not that difficult,” he said.

The shocked but smiling Billo stuttered: “OK… We’ll see.”

While going to an ad break her microphone remained on and fanning herself with a piece of paper, Billo said: “He’s gone mad.”

Five years ago, then France coach Raymond Domenech made a similar move, proposing to French TV presenter Estelle Denis in a live interview minutes after Les Bleus had been eliminated in the first round of Euro 2008 with a 2-0 defeat against Italy.

Other Champions League match-ups feature Bayern Munich v Juventus, Malaga v Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid v Galatasaray.

(Reporting by Terry Daley; Editing by Julien Pretot)

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