Thursday, May 8, 2008

Da Vinci is not Leonardo's surname

This is, and always has been, one of my (many) pet peeves. Folks. Please. Poor Leonardo. He was from the small village of Vinci, near Florence. He should properly be referred to as "Leonardo," as the Italians always do. His full name means Leonard from Vinci. I don't know how Dan Brown got away with calling his book by its title. But that is one reason I didn't read it, or see the movie. As someone from Massachusetts, I tend to think that Brown's being from New Hampshire has something to do with it. Even the Italian translation, which was a best-seller, is called Il Codice Da Vinci. Povero Leonardo. After all he contributed to humanity. La gratitudine non e' di questo mondo (gratitude is not found on this earth.)

This, of course, is not the only case. Another is the splendid Sicilian artist Antonello da Messina. Tony from Messina. I know, it doesn't sound as good. A detail of Tony's beautiful Madonna is shown in the inset.

This does not only apply to artists. The philosopher Marsilio da Padova is also such an instance.