The blinded trout must use means other than vision to find its way. The stream is its only world. Is this freedom, or is it captivity? Both? There are obstacles and dangers. Some are natural, while some come from beyond the trout’s understanding. Nevertheless, bound to its life purposes, the trout is compelled to strive onward, still confident in its ability to choose and move through the waters. Isn’t this freedom?
In the back hallway are stored many things—things too dear, too essential, too important to us to be given away and certainly not to be taken to the dump. Times change, purposes change, as do understandings, but we keep these things, for who knows when they might be needed again. Meanwhile, Polaris, unreachable, can be found fixed and unchanging in the vast night sky.
Captured here is an altered image of Cecilia Gallerani, the subject of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s few remaining portraits. It was completed in 1491 when she was about sixteen years old. She was the mistress of the married Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, who was about twenty years her elder. In the year of the portrait, Cecilia bore him a son. She was a favorite in the court and certainly lived a privileged life, albeit with many constraints. As I was developing this painting many years ago, I asked myself many questions, among them, what did Leonardo think about all this?