Ye Olde Art: Da Vinci

Every now and again I force myself to delve into some ‘popular media’. You know the type – those pages and pages of celeb gossip etc. I, too, find it fascinating, in a sick kind of way.

The last time I did, I read about Justin Bieber and his, frankly, bad behaviour. I have no issue with partying, but if the pieces I read were anything to go by, he has no manners while he parties. And this is culture for current tween/teens, by the looks of the numbers of Beliebers. Are we breeding a generation who believe that art entails bright lights, fake boobs, maybe some graffiti on a wall (don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of graffiti, but know it’s not the only art form) and precocious teens on stage?

My sister and I took The Delicious Nephews (4 ½ years’ old now, how did that happen so quickly?) out last Friday. Half way through, I turned to my sister and said: “Do you think he was god?” I was not referring to Justin Bieber.

We were ambling through the Da Vinci exhibition at the Chavonne Battery in the waterfront, as the nephews pranced around us, loving all the movable exhibits.

Da Vinci made everything – from a scuba diving suit to a circular tank with guns coming out of all sides (another nephew favourite, blood-thirsty little things) to a (prehistoric) helicopter and a humidity measurer. In the 1400’s! And then to add to that, he drew incredibly accurate pictures of the human anatomy, male and female and the Vetruvian Man. Oh, and on the side he painted a couple of pretty pictures, like the Mona Lisa.

The Chavonne Battery, itself, is the perfect place for the exhibition, with Da Vinci’s creations scattered around old stone wall ruins and even a well. It’s low-lit and feels vaguely damp, with fabulous monk music playing. The boys insisted on wishing in the well, so we did. I heard Liam’s wish: “I wish-wish-wish that I could have my very own motorbike.” I didn’t like to tell him that he’d be waiting many, many moons before that’d come true, if ever. Precious boys on motorbikes? I think not.

We watched a bit of a movie on the painting of the Last Supper as Griffin whispered loudly: “Is this a movie about the Baby Jesus?” Well, yes, kind of. It was as we walked away from the movie, though, that my heart leapt with joy.

Standing in front of the documentary on how Da Vinci painted The Last Supper was a 12-year old boy, dressed in a Justin Bieber concert t-shirt, utterly transfixed.

I feel better now. As long as the Beliebers are getting a healthy dose of ‘ye olde art’, the next generation will be just fine.

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