More evidences on the second travel of Leonardo to Catalonia


If you are interested in this topic, you must read my book EL VIAJE SECRETO DE LEONARDO DA VINCI (Editorial Base).











A few years ago, a good friend made me to know that an article in the newspaper EL PAIS literally said:

"Alongside Salses, castle erected by impulse of Fernando el Católico in the French Roussillon 1, La Mota was the late medieval fortress that inspired the science of fortification masterfully developed during the Renaissance by Leonardo Da Vinci, that Cesare Borgia, a condottiero son of the Spanish (Valencian) Pope Alejandro VI, entrusted to the fortification of the port of Piombino, whose manuscript strokes incorporate (Codices Madrid). (…) In the leonardesque Codex 'the analogies of scale in texts and drawings with the castle of La Mota and Salses is evident', according to the architect Fernando Cobos-Guerra, restorer of the Spanish Castle. 'All evokes the forts built by the Spanish engineers, architects of the science of fortification'." (Rafael Forges, May 22, 2009).

In my book LEONARDO LOS AÑOS PERDIDOS I made reference to the possibility that Leonardo had visited the Catalan lands two times, as I noted in a footnote:

"Or is that just you returned to this place, twenty years after your first trip to Barcelona, to take notes from this 'vivid landscape'? In short, it is possible that you visited Catalonia on two occasions: following the first (1481-1483), you painted the Virgin of the Rocks and the St. Jerome; after your second trip (to early 16th century?) you would have painted the Mona Lisa and made some changes in the Annunciation (hence the detail of the araucaria)" (page 365).

In two articles published by PortalHispano I summarize the essence of this thesis, so I will not insist more on the subject. On the other hand it is necessary to outline the knowledge that Leonardo could have about the fortress of Salses, which from my point of view -as we will see below-, is much alike to the strokes that Leonardo reflected in his drawings that, of course, the castle of La Mota (in the province of Valladolid). For example, in the Codex Atlanticus (fol. 41v/117-b) we can find the following drawing:

On the left, Codex Atlanticus (1504-1508). On the right, the fortress of Salses (1497-1503).

In my book EL VIAJE SECRETO DE LEONARDO DA VINCI I notice that certain details of the Annunciation reminds a repaint. It is true that the picture was painted originally (so is dated) between 1972 and 1975. But the pentimenti ("regrets") on the first version were subsequently made. Several authors make reference to these "pentimenti":

"The x-ray examination (of the picture) has revealed a different initial conception: the angel had a bent head and his gaze was heading to the ground". (Angela Ottino Della Chiesa, 1967. Published in Spain by Noguer-Rizzoli publishers, in 1969) .

The strech of wall leading away from the right-hand foreground behind Mary was not part of the original conception. X-rays have also revealed that the head of the Virgin has undergone significant alterations: the first version of the area around her hair was removed and then completely repainted (Brachert, 1974). The panel also exhibits numerous pentimenti (Sanpaolesi, 1954; L’Annunciatione, 2000): the angel’s head was originally lower, and the Virgin’s right hand shorter, its little finger neither raised nor bent. In the first version, too, her dress was adorned with a chain and decorative pendant…” (Frank Zöllner, Taschen).

On the other hand, The Annunciation shows a landscape that I identify with the city of Barcelona, the mount Tibidabo, the mountain of Montserrat, and the peak of Canigou. All this explained in the book EL VIAJE SECRETO DE LEONARDO DA VINCI .

Above, detail of the Annunciation. Below, example of octagonal towers (typical of Barcelona), and an antique painting showing the old pier of Barcelona, with the lighthouse, originally located on an island (Illa de Maians).

I did notice that the port of Barcelona began to be build in the year 1477, four years before Leonardo's first visit to this city, what would be indicated by the half-built pier (which appears to have a few arches) of the Annunciation. In this regard, Santiago Sobrequés, author of Joan Margarit i Pau, la trágica fi de l'edat mitjana a Catalunya (Base, 2006), writes:

"The Bishop Margarit was some time more in Barcelona, where on 20 September (1477) was actor in a bright ceremony: the solemn blessing of the new pier that was going to be build in the city".

Note that here is said "was going to be build". This is what Leonardo finds in his way through Barcelona: a dock half built, as it appears in the Annunciation. But moreover, that "bright ceremony" took place at "the marina" of Barcelona, beside the Major Tower. Perhaps the tower that appears in an island (the island of Maians in Barcelona?), in the picture of Leonardo?

But there is also a reference to his second trip in this picture: it seems an araucaria, above of the wing of the angel:

On the left, the so-called aracucaria of the Annunciation (though can be an example of "topiary ars"). In the centre, drawing of a young araucaria (extracted from the popular Sopena encyclopedia). On the right, map of Alberto Cantino in 1502.


On the left, detail of the Annunciation (angel wing). Compare with the shape of the coast of America that can be found on the Cantino map. And notice the detail of the whorled-branched trees, like that in the picture of Leonardo.

The araucaria (in this case, of the Brazil: Araucaria Braziliensis) is characterized, when it is young, by a slightly pyramidal shape, and by their whorled branches (i.e., distributed by horizontal floors along the trunk). It is curious that the wings of the angel of the Annunciation are so similar to the profile of the coasts of Brazil and Guiana, according to Alberto Cantino in 1502 map 2. Significantly Cantino draws, near the shores of Brazil, a series of trees that roughly seem araucarias (branches are not horizontal, but the leaves are distributed on horizontal floors). Leonardo was interested in novelty involving the discovery of the new world, perhaps as a result of his friendship with the Italian navigator Americo Vespucci, who explored the Atlantic coast of South America  between 1501 and 1502 3. This man, as I noted in the documentary El viaje secreto de Leonardo da Vinci, possibly belonged to a lineage of catalan origin (the one of the Despuig) 4. Leonardo certainly not alluded to the "discovery" in their manuscripts, but this is not the case of his paintings, and of this map:

Map of America according to Leonardo Da Vinci, supposedly drawn in 1515, although I presume contemporary to the Cantino one in 1502 (despite the allusion to the land of Florida).

In short, Leonardo reveals in the Annunciation details that make us think in his two trips to Catalonia: the pier of Barcelona under construction, as well as its octagonal towers (in 1481), and the so-called araucaria, which seems to emerge from the wing of the angel, so similar to the well-known profile of the America known in his day (early 16th century). However, this is not the only allusion to his trips to Catalonia. The Mona Lisa began to be painted in 1503, shortly before -as we shall see- his second trip. And in the Gioconda, in addition to the features of the landscape that I highlighted in my book EL VIAJE SECRETO DE LEONARDO DA VINCI and in he documentary El viaje secreto de Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo makes a nod to the Spagna known at the beginning of the 16th century. As says Charles Nicholl in Leonardo, el vuelo de la mente:

"It is quite likely that both the black veil and the muted tones of her clothing have much to do with the fashion of the time: the look 'to the Spanish', which had already worn Lucrecia Borgia at her wedding with Alfonso d'Este in 1502, was the most fashion" (page 407).

Why Leonardo painted La Gioconda, that woman with sardonic smile with an Spanish look? Perhaps, as further details of his paintings, is a message, a nod to the viewer awake and intelligent? Maybe as a reminder of his recent stay in Spain; more specifically, in Catalonia?

Later we will see that this is not the only link that, around the year 1504 (when supposedly made a portrait to Vespucci), related him to Spain.

I said before that Leonardo reflected in his paintings his own "vital landscape". He seems to attest it in the following paragraph, taken from his Trattato della pittura: "To look a painted landscape can evoke memories of other places, 'in which one was pleased in the past'" (Nicholl, page 66).

When we look at the Virgin of the rocks or his St. Jerome, we can recognize landscapes of Catalonia (Montserrat, with its rocks and vegetation), that Leonardo could not have known in Italy at the beginning of the 1480. The closest thing to the rocks of the Virgin of the rocks, in Tuscany, would be the Balze of the upper Valley of the Arno. But these are a caricature in relation to the imposing landscapes depicted by Leonardo in his paintings and his drawings (for example, those of the Windsor collection). On the other hand, the landscape of Montserrat fits perfectly with this visual description. It is to note that Montserrat is an special case, almost unique in the world.

That does not mean that Leonardo doesn't translate the "vital" landscape of Tuscany in his work: both in the drawing known as "Landscape near Vinci" (1472) as in the Annunciation (1472-1475) represents, with great fidelity, monte Monsummano, not too distant to his hometown of Vinci (it is found under the wing of the angel).

Frame left, Italian vital landscape. Frame right, vital landscape in Catalonia.

On the left, in the red frame, detail of the monte Monsummano, close to the town of Vinci.

As I indicate in my book EL VIAJE SECRETO DE LEONARDO DA VINCI, in this picture Leonardo seems to allude to two places that are part of his own vital history: on the left, his native Italy; on the right, the Catalonia visited on two occasions (at least). In between, the sea that separates one place from the another.

Under the cypress, framed, allegedly a detail from the port of Piombino, on a shore of the Western Mediterranean, which separates Italy (left) of Spain (right).

Notice how on the left of the image appears a port, which from my point of view could be that of Piombino (or perhaps Porto Pisano?). To the right we see the city of Barcelona, at the foot of the Tibidabo, and in the vicinity of Montserrat. In the background, the Canigou, which rises near Vinça, the ancient Vinciano, maybe the land of his ancestors.

But ultimately, when could have done this second trip to Catalonia, to which I have been referring throughout all this article?

I have previously made allusion to the similarity between the fortress in the Atlantic Codex and the castle of Salses. This may have two explanations: 1) Leonardo was in Salses and was "inspired" by this fortress to do the drawing; (2) Leonardo had in his hands a document that represented the castle of Salses, or a similar scheme of building. I tend towards the first option, for the following reasons:

  1. Salses castle was built, by mandate of Fernando el Católico, King of Spain, between the years 1497 (shortly after the destruction of the ancient medieval castle) and 1504 (the first reconstruction, after the French attack in 1503). The drawing of Leonardo is dated in 1504 (and the inscription that is on the side in 1507).
  2. Leonardo represents, in his drawing, a bastion in a wedge shape, severely damaged in September 1503, as well as the ramps of the walls, built after the French attack of the same year. Thus, Leonardo should have seen the castle of Salses, in a personal and direct way in the period between the end of 1503 (when still there was the wedge-shaped bastion) and the end of 1504 (when the ramps began to be built) 5.
  3. Although Leonardo drawing differs from the castle of Salses in its overall shape and in other details, appears to be an "ideal plan" of what should be a fortress "to the Salses style", which was ahead of his days in what refers to the art of building fortresses 6.

Drawing of Leonardo: comparison with the castle of Salses. A) bastion wedge shaped, identical to Salses in 1503. (B) round tower. (C) arcaded courtyard. Of these arcades the book La fortaleza de Salses (edited by Éditions du Patrimoine) says: "North-East angle of the patio, surrounded by arches typically Spanish". (D) ramp, added after the year 1503.

The fortress of Salses was not yet finished, in 1503, when in September of this year was attacked and besieged by French troops. It endured well, but as a result of the destruction was added an important detail: the ramps of the walls. Wedge bastions were eliminated.

Wall paintings of the medieval Molí dels Frares, in Valencia, which represent the Salses attack in September 1503. Featured, part of the arcades, and a wedge-shaped bastion.

Representation of the site of Salses in 1503.

The castle of Salses, in 1538, after its reconstruction. The stronghold in wedge disappears; the ramps are already built.

When did took place the visit of Leonardo to Salses, and why was it done? From my point of view, there are three possible alternatives:

  1. To 1502-1503, when Cesare Borgia (son of the Pope Alexander VI, of Valencian origin) provides the following "Passport" (18 August 1502):

Caesar Borgia de Francia Dei Gratia Dux Romandiole Valentieque, Princeps Hadrie, Dominus Plumbini etc. Ac Sancte Romane Ecclesie Confalonerius et Capitaneus Generalis. Ad Tutti nostri Locotenenti, Castellani, Capitanij, Conducteri, Officiali, Soldati et Subditi ; A li quali de questa peruerra notitia ; Commettemo et Commandamo che al nostro Prestantissimo et Dilectissimo Familiare Architecto et Ingengero Generale Leonardo Vinci dessa ostensore; el quale de nostra Commissione ha da considerare li Lochi et Forteze de li Stati nostri ; Ad cio the secundo la loro exigentia et suo iudicio possiamo prouederli Debiano dare per tutto passo libero da qualunque publico pagamento per se, et li soi Amichevole recepto et lassarli uedere, mesurare, et bene extimare quanto uorra ; Et ad questo effecto, Commandare homini ad sua requisitione, et prestarli qualunque adiuto adsistentia, et Fauore recercara, Volendo che dell opere da farse neli nostri Dominij Qualunque Ingengero sia astrecto conferire con lui, et con el parere suo conformarse ; Ne de questo presuma alcuno fare lo contrario per quanto li sia charo non incorrere in la nostra Indignatione.1 Datum Papie die Decimo octavo Augusti, Anno Domini Millesimo Quingentesimo Secundo Ducatus Vero Nostri Romandiole Secundo.

With this letter, Cesar Borgia, "gonfaloniero" of the troops of the Pope, gives total freedom of movement to Leonardo to check and intervene in the works of fortification of the Papal domains, especially in Rome and its vicinity. First he went to Piombino, where inspected the port and castle, which we can see in the following images:

Old port of Piombino. Remember the port (above) that appears in The Annunciation, on the left side (Italian) of the sea.

Castle of Piombino. Leonardo aimed to fortify it 'in the manner of Salses".

  1. In 3 July 1503  a letter left Genoa, sent by Leonardo, destined to the Sultan of Constantinople. In the header, written with Turkish calligraphy, it is said: "Copy of a letter sent from Genoa by an infidel named Lionardo". Therein it is proposed the construction of a bridge over the Golden Horn (another failed project). The most interesting in this case is that it was sent "from Genoa". Was perhaps Leonardo on the way to somewhere in the Western Mediterranean? Why no Salses? Not in vain Charles Nicholl says: "It was believed that around 1502-1503 (Leonardo) had traveled to Constantinople, but that hypothetical trip does not fits with the testimonies that we have" (page 307). Indeed: In June 14, 1503, Leonardo was in Florence, where he removed from his account 50 gold florins; in June 21 he is close to Pisa, working on the diversion of the Arno River; and a month later, between 22 and 23 July, he returns to the works in the Arno. So, this period of time makes impossible a boat trip, either to the West (in Catalonia) and to the East (to Constantinople). We can keep track of almost every day because of his many activities and responsibilities (public and private) in the years 1502 and 1503.
  2. On the other hand, in September of 1504 disappears from Florence: "In September or early in October 1504 (Leonardo) left Florence" (Charles Nicholl, page 427). He was irritated with the Signoria because they had imposed the ungrateful company of Miguel Angel in the decoration of the Hall of the great Council of the Palazzo Vecchio. He could go even before: the last payment by the so-called Fresco of Anghiari took place at the end of July 1504; on 3 August 1504 arrives to his workshop Jacome the German; and on 9 August extracts 10 ducats of the savings. Shortly thereafter, Leonardo was no longer there. Charles Nicholl writes: "And as unfolded this monumental fiasco in the Pisa plains (the failure of the diversion of the Arno), a fiasco in which (Leonardo) had his share of blame, where was Leonardo? Outside the city, surely"(page 432). We have not notice of him until the 20 October 1504, in which Leonardo resides in the castle of Piombino. On the 1 November 1504 "does makes the show" to the Lord of the place (Jacopo of Appiano). What show? Perhaps the defensive value of the ramps in the fortification of the walls of the castle of Piombino? Was this the reason to visit, on August and October 1504, the castle of Salses, as well as other places of the catalan lands?

We have other evidence of the presence of Leonardo in catalan lands. In Florence, in April 1505, performs a payment of 5 gold florins to Ferrando Spagnolo. He was, in fact, Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina, which painted some works of "leonardesque" aesthetic. In addition to Italy, worked in Valencia, Cuenca and Barcelona 7.

In that period he must have drawn the portrait of Americo Vespucci, who at the end of 1504 was in Spain (after his fourth voyage, carried out between may 1503 and June 1504) at the service of the Court, to prepare an expedition in search of the passage of the Southwest. In April 1505 (at the same time that Fernando Yáñez joins the team of Leonardo), Vespucci obtained Spanish nationality. Was tasked with the preparation of an expedition headed by Vicente Yáñez Pinzón (perhaps this one belonged to the family of Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina, the Ferrando Spagnolo which Leonardo alludes to?) 8. Notice that both (Vicente Yáñez Pinzón and Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina) share the same last name.

Noticeable similarity of his designs of fortresses with the castle of Salses; Spanish look of La Gioconda; portrait of an elderly Vespucci (according to Vasari), residing at that time in Spain; Fernando Yáñez de la Almedina joined the workshop of Leonardo a year later... Too many links with Spain in such a short period (between 1504 and 1505). Consequence of Leonardo's second trip to Catalonia?

In a map of the Atlantic Codex (page 361 v.b) Leonardo displays, along with a map of Europe, another smaller, but more detailed, of the Iberian Peninsula (with inverted writing, as usual in him, puts the name of Spain). A little later (Atlantic Codex, page 367 v.c) refers to a number of French and Flemish cities  (Perpignana, Roano, Lionne, Anvers, Paris, Guanto, Brugia, Olanto). Why includes Perpignan (Perpignana) in this list, when in those years belonged to the Spanish sovereignty? Perhaps because it is near (a few kilometers) from the castle of Salses? Because he visited it, or because he had interests there? It is worth noting that in front of this listing of cities, presents another list of florentine bankers doing business in France. Had this bond with Perpignan, or more specifically, with Vinça (the old Vinciano), located just 30 kilometers west of Perpignan, something to do with his decision to spend his last days in French territory, protected by the King Francis I? Did made the King of France to Leonardo citizen of his Kingdom because considered Perpignan (the Roussillon, the possible origin of Leonardo's ancestors) his own territory?

Whatever it is, the Anonimo Gaddiano (1540), one of the oldest sources of the life of Leonardo, speaks clearly of two trips of Leonardo to France, not one (as it is said normally). It would give faith of his second trip to Barcelona and Salses, in 1504, where he would have taken notes for painting La Gioconda. It says literally:

"He was with Cesare Borgia [1500-1503], and later went to France and elsewhere [1504?, also at Spain?] [first journey]. He returned to Milan [1506], but because of the disturbances that ravaged the State while working to fuse the horse in bronze, he returned to Florence [1507; note the confusion with his first stay in Milan]. There he lived six months in house of the sculptor Giovan Francesco Rustichi, via Martelli [1507]. He returned again to Milan [1508], and then to France [1516] [second journey], to serve the King Francis... In his will left to Messer Francesco da Melzi, Milanese gentleman, all the money, clothes, books, writings, drawings, instruments and portraits, i.e., everything to do with the painting, art and industry that there had, and named him executor of his will".

On the left, map of Europe according to Leonardo. On the right, map of Spain.

That is to say, according to Anonimo Gaddiano, Leonardo was twice in France. The first stay took place in 1504, and in addition to the Gallic country (Salses?), visited "other places" (presumably Catalonia). Time will tell if I am wrong. Whatever it is, the life of Leonardo is still a box of surprises.

One last thing: I would like to express my appreciation to the staff of the castle of Salses, which atended me and my friend Toni Babia with the utmost kindness. The opinions I express here are personal and not commit to these public servants of French heritage. And I want also to express greetings to my friends Toni Babia and Manel Capdevila. Without their support this work had not perhaps seen the light.

José Luis Espejo (21 may 2012 and July 9, 2009)

Notes (in Spanish)

1 El Norte de Cataluña, cedido a Francia en el año 1658 por uno de esos oscuros acuerdos diplomáticos que no entienden de pueblos ni de fronteras.

2 Estas alas ya existían en la primera versión, por lo que es más probable que Leonardo aprovechara la similitud con el perfil de América para dibujar encima el icono del nuevo continente: la araucaria.

3 Vasari afirma en la segunda edición de sus “Vidas” (“Leonardo da Vinci, pintor y escultor florentino”, Giunti, 1568) que poseía un retrato a carboncillo de Americo Vespucci, efectuado por Leonardo, en el que aparece como “un anciano muy apuesto”: “De esta suerte realizó numerosas cabezas de mujer y de hombre, muchos de cuyos dibujos, hechos a pluma de su mano, se hallan en mi poder, en nuestro libro de dibujos, tantas veces citado, como aquella de Americo Vespucio, una bellísima cabeza de anciano, dibujada a cartón”. Ante la imposibilidad, según la doctrina establecida, de que Leonardo pudiera conocer a Americo Vespucci ya anciano (como veremos más adelante, desde comienzos del siglo XVI estuvo de viaje en ultramar, o residió en la Península Ibérica), Charles Nicholl señala que este Americo Vespucci podría tratarse del abuelo del primero (Leonardo, el vuelo de la mente, página 600). Sin embargo, Jean Paul Richter, compilador de la escritura de Leonardo (The Noteworks of Leonardo Da Vinci), incluye el siguiente párrafo: “Il Vespuccio mi vol dare un libro di geometria” (Br. M. 132 b). Y afirma explícitamente: “Amerigo Vespucci, with whom Leonardo was personally acquainted” (Americo Vespucci, a quien Leonardo conocía…) Es decir, el retrato de leonardo de un Vespucci ya anciano parece indicar un contacto personal en una etapa en la que el navegante florentino residía en España; lo que supone que Leonardo habría visitado este país en torno a los años 1504-1505 (única fecha en la que ambos podrían haber coincidido, como ya se verá). Por otro lado, el mapa de Cantino de 1502 está basado en los últimos descubrimientos de Vespucci.

4 En su testamento (Consuelo Varela: Colón y los florentinos) Americo Vespucci dice: “Por ende, sepan cuantos esta carta de testamento vieren, como yo miçer Americo D’Espuchi, florentín, piloto mayor de España…”

5 En su dibujo del Codex Atlanticus (41 v-b) Leonardo escribe el siguiente texto: "Nessuno angolo sia fatto in quelle difese dove l'artigleria po' battere, se non è forte ottuso, perchè quello fie causa di dar principio alla ruina de' muri. Non si facci le scarpe delle torre sopra delli angoli delle fortezze che sien di figura rotonda, acciò ch'essendo tali torre sanza piombatoi, il nemico non sia sicuro al tagliamento che si pò fare infra le bombardiere che battan per fianco li 2 muri che si congiungano a esse torre. Che li provisionati possino esser battuti di dì e di notte dal castellano e ogni sua requisizione; e a questo fine essi debono dormire in abitazioni di sottile asse, sotto portici che abbino rettitudine e le bombardiere nelle fronti di tal portici. E questo è fatto per li soccorsi falsi, come fu chi tradi Simon Arrigoni. Non sia fatto alcun buso nelle bassezze di fori delle fortezze. Non sia congiunto alcun muro dalle ghirlande delle fortezze a esse fortezze. Sia fatto tanto di massiccio nelle scarpe delli primi procinti de' muri, quanto è la comodità del nemico del fare le cave sotterrane. Sia messo li alberi nelli sproni de' muri, acciò che tali sproni non si separino da le pariete d'essi muri. Nè sia dato il comodo, nel dentro de' muri delle fortezze, per li quali si facci il discenso de' nemici, di tali mura insignoriti. Tutte le obbliquità delli ismussi delle argine di fori, e similamente de' rivellini (rivellino, o revellino, un'opera di fortificazione distaccata oltre la scarpa interna, la quale si pone innanzi alla cortina), sieno riguardatori delle bormardiere delle los fortezze. Quanto il rivellino fia più distante alla sua fortezza, tanto più sarà percosso dai moti traversali, e così de converso sarà men percosso, dove fia più propinquo a essa fortezza".

Manuel Capdevila, del Institut Nova Història, hace la siguiente traducción: “Ningún ángulo sea hecho en esas defensas donde la artilleria pueda batir, si no es muy obtuso, porque ello sería causa del principio de la ruina de los muros. No se hagan zapatas de la torre por encima de las esquinas de las fortalezas que sean de forma redonda, de manera que siendo tales torres sin "piombatoi", el enemigo no esté seguro del corte que se puede hacer bajo los "bombarderos" batiendo por el flanco los dos muros que se conectan a esa torre. Que los que luchan estén "batutti" (a disposición) de día y de noche del castellano y todos sus peticiones, y para este fin deben dormir en habitaciones de perfil sutil, bajo pórticos que sean rectos, y los "bombarderos" en el frente de tal galería. Esto se hace para los falsos socorros, como fue el que traicionó a Simon Arrigoni [éste fue capturado a traición por Charles d’Amboise en febrero del 1507, lo que ayudaría a datar este texto]. No se haga ningún agujero en los bajos de la parte exterior de las fortalezas. No se una ningún muro por guirnaldas de de la fortaleza a esas fortificaciones. Háganse macizos en el lugar de la primera pista de los muros, ya que es la "comodidad" del enemigo para hacer cuevas subterráneas. Deben ponerse "ejes" en los espolones de los muros, de manera que estos espolones no se separen de la pared de estos muros. No se de "comodidad" en el interior de los muros de las fortalezas, por la cual se facilite el descenso de los enemigos que hayan "conquistado" esos muros. Toda la oblicuidad de los "ismussi" del terraplén exterior, y también del revellín [rivellino o revellino, una obra de fortificación destacada en la rampa interna, la cual se pone antes de la cortina], deben tener en cuenta los "bombarderos" de los baluartes. Cuanto más alejado esté el "revellín" de su fortaleza, tanto más será golpeado por movimientos transversales y una vez convertido será menos golpeado, donde esté más cerca de su fortaleza”.

6 Fue diseñada por el castellano Francisco Ramiro López; su función era guardar el corredor mediterráneo que comunica el Norte de Cataluña con el Reino de Francia.

7S Leonardo hace dos alusiones a este “Ferrando Spagnolo, dipintore”. La primera, de 30 de abril del 1505, y la segunda, del 30 de agosto del mismo año. La personalidad de este artista ha sido largamente discutida. Se le suele confundir con otro Fernando (Fernando de Llanos), que al igual que Fernando Yáñez, del que hablamos, pudo haber trabajado con Leonardo, si bien en fechas anteriores (se habla de la segunda mitad de la década de los 1490, en su primer período florentino). Esto es lo que sostiene Carlo Vecce en su biografía sobre Leonardo (página 250): “Se paga aparte a los pintores colaboradores: Raffaello d’Antonio di Biagio, Ferrando Spagnolo (es decir, Ferrante de Llanos, que ya fuera alumno de Leonardo en Milán)…” Tanto uno (Fernando de Llanos) como otro (Fernando Yáñez) pintaron obras de estética “leonardiana” (Fernando de Llanos su Epifanía o la Huida a Egipto; Fernando Yáñez su Santa Catalina o la Sagrada Familia). Es destacable el hecho de que Fernando Yáñez imita en algunos de sus cuadros (San Juan Bautista y San Sebastián, así como el San Antonino y San Vicente Ferrer) el gesto tan leonardiano del “señalamiento hacia el cielo”.

8 He consultado numerosas biografías y estudios de Americo Vespucci (el de Roberto Levillier, publicado por Editorial Nova; la Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, volumen LXXV, escrito por Martín Fernández de Navarrete; o la biografía de Stefan Zweig, entre otros) y en ninguno de ellos he encontrado una sola evidencia de que Vespucci visitara Florencia, o Italia, a partir del 1500 hasta su muerte en 1512. Si nos atenemos a la horquilla temporal que he mencionado más arriba, a partir del 1503 ciertamente estaba muy ocupado con sus viajes y sus estancias en España y Portugal. Cuenta Vespucci que tras su fallido cuarto viaje entró en Lisboa el 18 de junio de 1504. El 4 de septiembre envía una carta datada en esa ciudad, con destino –se afirma- al gonfaloniero de Florencia, Pietro Soderini. Su título latino: Quatuor Americi Vespucii navigationes. En dicho relato Vespucci relata sus famosos “cuatro viajes”. Con fecha del 5 de febrero de 1505 el Almirante Cristóbal Colón envía a su hijo la siguiente misiva: “He hablado con Américo Vespuchy (cámbiese la V por una D y tendremos Despuchi, que es como firmaba Americo Vespucci en España), quien se dirige a la Corte, donde ha sido llamado para ser consultado sobre unos cuantos asuntos relacionados con la navegación”. En abril de 1505 Vespucci recibiría la “carta de naturaleza” (la nacionalidad) “por sus buenos servicios”. En 1508 fue nombrado “piloto mayor” del reino de Castilla.