Monday, 4 December 2017


The always engrossing Hyperallergic invites us to consider another uniquely enigmatic aspect of Leonardo da Vinci’s work aside from Mona Lisa’s smile with his attention to human anatomy found in the feet of his subjects. Living and working in age when feet and toes were not generally shod and kept out of public sight, the artist was doubtless keenly aware of feet physiology and endowed his super human subjects with speculatively his own minor deformation (not a sign of lycanthropy)—called Morton’s toe (for an American orthopaedic surgeon) and classically a “Greek foot” (pied grec, piede greco) where the second toe appears longer than the big toe.
Many statues of antiquity were executed in this way—including homages like the Statue of Liberty—as opposed to the Egyptian foot where the greater toe is longer. Many more pedary profiles (there’s no science behind this—sort of like palmistry or phrenology) are to be found and Da Vinci’s characters amazingly exhibit them all.