Saturday, June 18, 2005

Leonardo without the schlongs

I'm not a prude. Most of my friends can attest to that. In fact, they'd find it amusing if someone even brought up the issue. But something recently came up that raised my level of prudishness a tad.

My nephew was visiting, and he had done some pencil sketches on paper. He had used some very nice shading and light cross-hatching that reminded me of some of the shading techniques Leonardo da Vinci used in his sketches. I told him this, and then decided to show him some examples. Dashing off to one of the many book depositories scattered throughout my house, I came back with a thick, oversized book of Leonardo da Vinci's sketches (Leonardo da Vinci: Sketches and Drawings, by Frank Zöllner). Lovely sepia ink on buff, gray, or rust-colored paper. Beautiful stuff.

I flipped it open at random, and was greeted by a sketch of a naked man with a shriveled schlong. Errr...

Flipping back and forth - military sketches, a landscape with a study of turbulent water flow, horses, anatomy studies, more schlongs. Even the front cover is the classic "Vitruvian man" sketch, The Proportions of the Human Figure, a grim-looking man with faaabulous hair standing within a square within a circle, arms and legs each shown in two positions, the prominently displayed schlong disturbingly crossed by a line indicating the limits of the torso. Ummm...

Back cover. Leonardo self-portrait sketch. No schlong. "Now, see the way he uses shading here around the eyes, and here by the edge of the beard..."

I'm not a prude. But would it kill somebody to publish a da Vinci Sketchbook for Kids, showing his greatest drawings that didn't involve schlongs?

I got a new nickel yesterday when I went to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (just out in trade paperback!) Not the new Lewis & Clark nickels - those are so six months ago - but the new nickel with the not-quite-side view closeup of Jefferson, with the word "Liberty" in script and a buffalo on the reverse*. During a slow stretch at church this afternoon, I found the nickel in my right front pocket (all "special" coins get placed there, and get passed from pants to pants until I remember to file them in a "special coins" piggy bank), pulled it out and glanced at it. The face looked interesting, but something about the buffalo caught the light, and my eye.

New Nickel Posted by Hello

I am wondering: is this the first time a schlong has appeared on U.S. coinage?**

Honest, I'm not a prude.

* Originally this said "obverse", but while adding a link to the U.S. Mint I discovered a fascinating fact: the "obverse" is the "heads" side of a coin; the "tails" side is called the "reverse". Yessiree, fascinating stuff there. Just...fascinating.

Did I mention that the buffalo has a schlong? I think I did.

**The answer to this question is "no", as about 5 seconds of research would have revealed.


Betz said...

Harold, this blog started my day off with a smile. :)
Thanks to you AND your schlong..

anne said...

And I? Do make a comment about G. W. Bush ever gracing currency? Ah, well...he'd only be third place anyway.

Anyway, a quick search on Amazon did reveal that there is, in fact, a book of Da Vinci's art for children with the very original title "Leonardo Da Vinci (Art For Children)". Yours in paperback for only $14.93.