Ignis Fatuus

Allegorical Repletion


“Freud  rightly senses uncanniness in Leonardo’s doubling of St. Anne and the Virgin …. The figures are like photographic superimpositions, two images seen simultaneously, eerie and hallucinatory …. In Leonardo’s charcoal cartoon (1499) and finished panel, St. Anne’s magnetic attentiveness to her companion seems menacingly or lasciviously intense.  Anne’s blocky fist of a gesture in the cartoon turns into a mannish, piratical hand on hip in the painting.  Love in Leonardo is never normal.  His mystic doubling of Anne and Mary, their uncertain spacial placement and ambiguous smiles, and the bleached landscape give the painting an archetypal power found nowhere else in Renaissance art except in Michaelangelo.  St. Anne and the Virgin are joined in autocratic nature-rule.  These divine twin sisters are one archaic personality that has parthenogenetically cloned itself. Life is an endless series of self-replicating females.” — Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae fullstop2