Leonardo and the idea of freedom

Leonardo da Vinci was a young man of rare beauty. According to what Vasari says – ” He , with the splendor of its air , which was beautiful, was cheering up every sad soul .” Leonardo spent much of his youth just enjoying life. However, this period of ease ceased abruptly when, shortly before the age of twenty-four, Leonardo was arrested and dragged in front of the council of the Florentine Government to answer to the charge of sodomy. The charge of what was then a capital crime and the imprisonment itself had a traumatic effect on a person so sensitive as the young Da Vinci. As he himself wrote, ” where there is more feeling, there is the real martyrdom.”  Eventually Leonardo was acquitted for lack of evidence , but this episode profoundly marked his life: that explains his immediate departure from Florence and his continual wanderings . Leonardo said in his writings that a female of goldfinch , seeing her little ones locked up , fed them with a bit of a poisonous plant  and said : “Better the death rather than lose the freedom .”

Vasari relates that during the frequent walks through the streets of Florence, he often was meeting merchants of birds and that he used to stop and pay the asking price and then open the door of the cage, freeing the birds that were locked. The infinite vault of the sky was becoming again their home. Leonardo’s insatiable thirst for knowledge was being equaled only by his boundless love for freedom.

Sometimes, I feel like a prisoner : a prisoner of the social conventions and of my own education, which prevent me from fully expressing myself. The strong strings shaking my wrists and the temptation to rebel against the meanness and pettiness that surrounds us is strongly felt. What is your relationship with the idea of freedom? Do you feel fully free? If not, which are the strings that imprison you?

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