‘The smallest feline is a masterpiece.’ – Leonardo
Art is an aesthetic symbol of Reality.
Nature, especially human nature, is often the subject of art.
The difference between a ‘selfie’ captured on a smart phone and a photographic masterpiece is aesthetics: attention to light, angle, focus, texture, structure, scale, dimension, and more. And this applies, broadly, to every art form.
There is good art and bad art.
Together the power of nature, coupled with a keen sense of aesthetics,
can profoundly arouse our deepest sensitivities.
But do Art and Nature elicit the same response? Is the same chemistry recreating the same experience in our brain when we look up at the moon at night and when we hear Debussy’s piano masterpiece, Claire de Lune. How do we (our brains) react when we experience each separately, or both at the same time?
Do art and nature embrace the same qualities? Can they both arouse the same emotions in us?
Can both a symbol (art) and subject (nature) be a masterpiece? Can romantic love, a bird of paradise, the ocean, the Grand Canyon provoke the same emotions as a Van Gogh painting, Beethoven string quartet, Bach Cantata?
When Leonardo refers to the smallest feline as a masterpiece, does he mean a masterpiece of evolution, or does he mean a masterpiece that could be sold at auction?