Unfinished and Unfinishable Notes

Rafael Capurro


On Ontological Difference(s)
On Imagination
On Time and Infinity
What is a Point?
What is Painting?
On Being as Time
The Vitruvian Man
On Points, Forms, and Time
On Perspectives
On the Painter
After Leonardo
La vita bene spesa lunga è

Source: Understanding Leonardo


On Ontological Difference(s)

H: being / beings
L: nature / art

H: time: ecstatic, finite transcendence
L: time: linear, in-finite transcendence

H: Dasein: project (Entwurf)
L: Ocular: perspective

H: "Life is hazig" ("Das Leben ist diesig")
L: chiaroscuro, sfumato

H: World-openness
L: Nature

H: transcendental imagination: analogon to interpretation
L: pictorial imagination: analogon to nature

H: hermeneutic as (implicit) - apophantic as (explicit)
L: nella mente (implicit) - painting (explicit)
Sheehan on hermeneia and apophansis

nature's space - time
painter's space - time

Source: Leonardo filosofo.

On Imagination


L difference between nature and imitation

- nature can never be fully explained by design and/or language
- infinite / finite difference (mathematical approximation)

- paragone of arts:
time as presence in painting but only approximately
uniqueness of painting

What was the epochal philosophical discovery of L? Humans are natural beings but they transcend nature through imagination.

Source: Paragone delle arti

On Time and Infinity


The painter shows how to transcend nature by showing / painting:
infinity in finity
time in timelessnes

Measure of (any) human comportment?
re-specting nature
artificial things as different from natural things

il nulla / punto
Nothingness / now (nichts / jetzt-sein)

There is a being, the painter, who yields the 'there' ("Da") for the manifestation of everything what is in its own being / movement / time

Entering into a conversation with L on what remains un-thought namely the ontological difference:
L the being of nature
H the being of beings

Being and nothingness in L:
- the point: time
- on time-space infinity.

Source: Trattato della Pittura.

What is a Point?

What is a point?
- mathematical definition
- natural definition

Time and points: linear time.
Infinite points: sfumato.
Each point is a potential perspective.
Infinite perspectives but: finite observer / situation.
Grasping the (in-)finite as the task of the painter.

Source: Trattato della Pittura.

What is Painting?

The painter and the poet: aisthesis and logos.
The primacy of aisthesis as the via regia for opening a presence of the world.

The precondition(s) guiding the constitution of painting.
The painter in relation to nature (epistemic relation).

In-discrete natural beings.

Source: Trattato della Pittura.

Leonardo on Nature and Time

L's pre-understanding of being:
- the openness of nature
- the (un-)veiledness of nature

Nature as form-in-time:
- trans-formation (Ovid: Metamorphosis)
- living: life as movement.

Time above nature.

Source: On time and transformation

The Vitruvian Man


Priority of nature as the leading being
but: Vitruvian man
prima facie: homocentric (androcentric) (Kantian)
but: pre-modern:
nature -> man

- nature
- man: vita (Bios) finitude
- eath: trans-formation

What underlies all trans-formations? time 
Being as form (Plato / Aristoteles)
Form as (being-)in-time
Is time forma formarum?

Kantian schematism

- meta-morphosis
- form(s) in time
- not a priori in the subject

The L observer is not the condition of possibility of trans-formations
microcosmos <―> macrocosmos
(hermeneutic circle)

The Vitruvian circles is the 'Da'
On decentering human-being: the Vitruvian difference

Vitruvian man
On Being Human

On Points, Forms, and Time

ontolog. trattato: Trattato della Pittura
ontic trattati:

- an ontic/ontological activity
- an act of transcendence: the givenness of beings into what makes them and the painter possible.

Is L aware of this ontological difference?
He turns into his mind in order to find the form / idea of what appears.

He paints this form (pre-formation) in his mind.
but the form in his mind is not the form of his mind.

Where do forms come from  into his mind?

He must take a distance:
- from others
- from beings

This distance-taking is not itself a form it is transcendence!

forms / in-form
distance-taking: time

nature -- ∞ -- time
painter (as mediator)

Time and number: ground difference

L differences:
finity - infinity
line - point
being(s) - nothingness (nulla)
form - movement

Analogy: inventor: machines / artificiality  (mathematics)

Counting time (points)
- let counting be (time)
- time as a point
- points in/as time/lessness
- The paradox of time as paradox of point

What/how is to be a point?
is the being of points the basis of all beings? of being itself?
Being = point - nothingness
The point of no-being
The being of no-point
where / how do points come into being? In the (human) mind
pre-understanding of being (of a point)?
is god a point?
is nature a point?
is a point the appearence of god?
are we points?
point-less questions! Sophistic!

Attempts to appropriate L's theory of painting by interpreting it as a theory of understanding and re-presenting nature
- in the mind of the painter
- in his painting

Source: Trattato della Pittura

On Perspectives

The discovery of (pre-) Renaissance perspective:
Source: Hans Belting

- Copernican revolution as perspectivism.
Copernican revolution by L
- L's way of retrieving (Wieder-holung) the essence of Renaissance perspectivism into a theory of painting / Dar-stellens of what is in its being.
- Through the mind of the painter (ontological perspectivism) vs. byzantinism: god's mind = human (painter) mind.

- Painter (poet:
Plato: Ion  (text & transl) as god's mediator (Ficino?) vs. L: the painter is not god's mediator but nature's: The birth of philosophy in contraposition to divine messengers/messages.
Source: On the Genealogy of Information

A retrieval of its own; more original possibility which is the movement of human transcendence manifesting time as its driving force towards transformation.

The historical/geschichtlich inquiry into the meaning of being starts with Graf Yorck.

The turning around of the question of being:
Being and Time --> Time and Being

Kant / time : Schemata
H---> L / nature:  number - perspective: forms as mediators
time - transcendence - schemata (forms)

L prioritizing natural beings over meta-physics:
- invisible
- divine
- eternal
- beyond perspective
but without a view from nowhere (byzantinism): hieratic, non-situational, psyche-less (pathemata tes psyches):
- to transpose the earthly epiphany
- to see the world form the perspective of nature as it appears to a human observer (phenomenon).

L's  foundation of painting:
- forgotten-ness of nature (prioritizing the meta-physical / eternal).
- redirecting arts prioritizing painting as what makes possible the manifestation of perspective i.e. of time.

A Leonardian analogue of 'lying the foundation': the movement of temporal transcendence as what L. dis-covers when imitating nature.

L mimesis of nature a mimesis of time in painting but time as presence in paiting vs. music.

The apparent steady state of time in painting: the disappearence of byzantinism.
Source: Understanding Leonardo

Grounding Leonardian schematism
forms in the soul (in transcendental imagination)

Un-covering the problem of the ontological difference in L:
- analysis of beings through disegno / paiting: infintiy
- What is the common source underlying all phenomena? vs. metaphysics (God)

Showing and concealing itself:
- time as the being of beings
- the mathematical follows of nows / points
- natural: past, present, future

Removing the roadblocks that obscured L's access to the question of being:
religion / metaphysics
nature / phenomena
artificial being

- eternity
- infinity (finis / counting / points)

Ontological difference: the movement of transcendence itself (being) vs. all other movements of trans-formation (beings) that L. dis-covers in the act of painting, i.e. of transposing the forms in the mind to the forms in the painting.

Painting as analogy to the soul receiving the forms of things.

Creative 'imagination' (Ein-bildung) in the soul of the painter::
- needs time: forms arise through thinking
- thinking of the painter as a analogon to the ideas in God.

- Introduction

- On Religion

On the Painter

Who is the painter as painter?

L. adopts the metaphysical position of the painter as
- I imagine therefore I am (a painter)
- L. and Descartes: cogito, litterae, logos
- L. and Kant/H: forming , sinnlich, aesthetics has the priority over abstract thinking
- back to the senses: objectifying it in painting
vs. noesis ton adiaireton: knowledge of the indivisibles, in-formatio.
Source: Plato: Ion  (text & transl)

Pacioli: mathematische Methode

Hist. Wörterbuch der Philos. II, 652
Descartes: Idea entis, Idee der Unendlichkeit
Natur: nicht substantiell, sondern mechanisch als Prozess der Erzeugung von formen in exakten formulae als Bedingung der Möglichkeit des endlichen cogito.
Erforschung empirischer Ursachen: Substanzen, Kräfte, Geschehnisse vs. Abstraktion, Dialektik

Hist.Wörterbuch der Philosophie, VII, 516
eidola poietike (Bilderzeugung)
eikastike (Abbilderzeugung)
phantatsike (Scheinerzeugung)

Aristoteles, Peri Psyches, 432a
hand: cheir
thinking: nous
perception: aisthesis

Pythagoras, Vitruv, Plinius

- Pacioli
metaphysics - nature
abstraction - esperienza
language - mathematics

L's deconstruction  gen. subj/obj
- inverts the arts (paragone)
- mathematics - esperienza: grounding in time

forms in the mind (not: out there)
projects forms
perceives forms

The self of the painter: each one unique
uniqueness of paintings vs. reproduction (books)

vs. Aura (W. Benjamin)

- painting time
- painting space

L on care: nature: air, water, earth, fire

Source: On Nature and Machines

After Leonardo

Retrieving L.: a change of perspective

L. as he saw himself:
- the hierarchy of arts
- time as criterium:
but: mimesis of natural time trans-formation
time ---> nature ---> arts

What remains un-thought?
- Copernican revolution
- Prioritizing of time through human finitude
- schematic portrayal of the temporal horizon: relativity knower/known

Looking back to L.
- perspectivism
- time: human finitude
- schematic portrayal: (arts / nature)
- forms: construction of objects
- painter/painting

What is transcendence?
- Kantian:  S - O
- H: ontological difference
- L: esperienza, nature (but nature -> mind ) (not: S/O)
- Kant: a priori knowledge of possibility of objects (not: objects)
no a priori in L. esperienza
but: constitution of objects in the mind of the painter according to mathem./causality?

L is the thinker of the a posteriori but:
- Frame of reference:
- excepting: Mathematics, causality
- Reason
- continuum of nature
- power of imagination

What remains unsaid in L's transcendental philosophy?
Concrete: singularity of its manifestations (painting)

L. pre-post-modern
- time
- collapse of Logic
- what being/time is, is not anything universal, abstract but occurs in concert with the singularity of what occurs
- therefore: painter of singularity.

L. Primacy of the singular
- uniqueness of painting
- responds to the singularity of nature in its infinite manifestations
- singularity - infinite

imagination (imago - forma)
- as a place-holder for disclosedness
- on the Ab-grund of the ontological difference

L: what appears (finitude) --- infinity
- a-letheia:
- apophantic as (painting)
- hermeneutic as (painter, imaginatio)
- interpretation: schematizing the ontological task of the painter: original act of disclosedness

L: practice of painting
- his interpretation in terms of the horizon of Renaissance: nature, mathematics, experience comes to a limit where imagination is  the abyss out of which the painter / painting relation arises as unique.
- The painter dis-closes a possible 'as' a hermeneutes bringing a message: thinking as painting.

L: The matter of painting: the disclosure of being as time. Being - time is the un-ground of painting.
- painting / paintings
- time/finitude / 'timelessness', infinite
- form / colour / points
- matter / situation / 'object'
- beings / paintings
- painting (time) transcends infinite in finite time

Source: Leonardo filosofo

"La vita bene spesa lunga è"


A painter's life as bene spesa
- as relation finitude - infinite
- relation: time: in-form - imagination
- painting becomes question-worthy and withdraws from explicit consideration

Only paintings remain for Western aesthetics or the artist as genie (19th/20th century) that disappears in the digital age: mathematics of in-formation.

The painting difference withdraws as paintings and painting become superseded by: media, photo, digitality

Nothingness - nihil

L. calls back the difference hidden in his paintings.

Source: Leonardo's Library

Last update: December 10, 2019


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