Many experts feel that this drawing mirrors the maturity associated with the later life of this artist and while containing many of the same elements that have come to define his genius, there are also several interesting observations which can be drawn.
Let us take a closer look at this masterpiece in order to appreciate its impact upon the artistic community over the years.
Deluge Over a City: A Stunning Turbulence
Turbulent discord may be the one phrase which can serve to define this painting. Created through the use of black chalk and canvas, this work is actually one in a series of eleven pieces created by Leonardo da Vinci.
However, each depicts a city or fortress being nearly overwhelmed by large waves and a formidable tempest. Although the physical dimensions of these works is rather small, the amount of detail to be observed is amazing.
It is almost as if Da Vinci wished to emphasise the fact that nature itself cannot be adequately contained within man-made confines. This piece is said to have been completed between 1517 and 1518.
The Meaning Behind the Strokes
Many contemporary experts feel that Deluge Over a City reflects the tendency for da Vinci to focus upon cataclysms later in his life. This piece certainly exhibits such an intense quality.
We can see a hilltop fortress positioned in the lower right-hand corner and what appears to be a crumbling city to the left and centre of the painting.
What is most striking is the fact they they are both almost completely engulfed by the raging tempest. However, the eye of the viewer is relentlessly drawn back to the swirling clouds and wind which dominate the piece.
These tend to be emphasised by bolder chalk strokes while any existing structures are more blurry; perhaps a testament to the fact that the creations of man pale in comparison to the power of nature.
A Fascination with Raw Natural Power
There is perhaps no better way to appreciate the perspective of Leonardo da Vinci than to quote his own words in describing this series of paintings. He wrote:
"The air was darkened by the heavy rain whose oblique descent, driven by the rush of the winds, flew in drifts through the air… But it was tinged with the colour of the fire kindled by the thunderbolts by which the clouds were rent and shattered, and whose flashes revealed the broad waters of the inundated valleys."
One of the reasons why da Vinci was able to indulge in such fantasies is that he was financially secure and stable by the time that this piece was created. Thus, he could follow his own whims as opposed to producing works intended for fiscal gain alone. It should also be pointed out that this entire series was apparently intended to be used to guide other budding painters of his era.
Regardless of the ultimate goal, the fact of the matter is that Deluge Over a City exhibits all of the hallmarks which have come to define this masterful painter.