365 Days of Art: November 17 – Duke of Milan Ships Out Leonardo’s Bronze, Gorky Writes Optimistic Note About Prolific Summer of Drawing

November 17, 2014

Leonardo, Studies of a Horse, c. 1482-1499

Leonardo, Studies of a Horse, c. 1482-1499

November 17, 1494

Ludovico il Moro, the Duke of Milan, sends all of the bronze that Leonardo has collected for casting a statue of a horse to his father-in-law, who makes it into cannon.

Arshile Gorky, Virginia Summer, 1946

Arshile Gorky, Virginia Summer, 1946

November 17, 1946

Arshile Gorky writes to his friend Vartoosh Mooradian:

This summer I completed a lot of drawings — 292 of them. Never have I been able to do so much work, and they are good too.”

This productive summer is one of the bright spots of Gorky’s year. His unlucky streak begins with a fire in his studio in January, caused by a stove he’s installed only the month before. The fire ruins almost all of his work. Two months later, he undergoes a colostomy for rectal cancer, and goes to his in-laws’ house in Virginia to recuperate. He draws the landscape in the fields during the day, and scenes by the fireplace each night.

This optimistic period of work is followed shortly by infidelity in his marriage, a serious car accident, deep depression and his eventual suicide.

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