I just finished Friday night, late, Walter Isaacson's new book, "Leonardo Da Vinci."
I never read his previous book, Steve Jobs. Though I did read Isaacson's book before that on Albert Einstein. I have nothing against Jobs, or Isaacson for that matter. I just feel, as a student of history, that we need some time to reflect on an historical figure before we write about him. The Steve Jobs book seemed to come too soon.
In any event I eagerly awaited Isaacson's 600-pager on Da Vinci. For one thing, there's nothing like a biography to take you away from our current wretched era and discourse. Second, for all my vaunted edu-macation, I know nothing about Da Vinci that I couldn't have learned from Classic Comics in eighth-grade.
I've seen the "Mona Lisa" twice and I saw the "Last Supper," last time I was in Milan, but what makes those two works of art unsurpassed, I couldn't tell you. I suppose if I were to leave my office now and jet to see those works of art now, I'd come at them with more knowledge than I did the last time I saw them--I'd look at them differently and see things, meaning and technique, I hadn't noticed before, but still, the most interesting thing about Leonard is not these two paintings, his Vitruvian Man, or his fanciful flying machines.
For me, the thing to ponder on is the meaning of the last words he wrote in his mirror script in his voluminous note-books:
“Perche la minesstra si fredda."
"Whatever, the soup is getting cold."
That's all today, on a foggy and global-warming Monday in New York, as it seems like our economy will soon crater and the rich are planning on eating the poor.
Sometimes, the world is unimportant--it will go on spinning out of control, no matter what. Sometimes it's best to let relationships with the wife, the kids, your friends, your co-workers just go chugging along. Sometimes, even when you get in early, you should eschew work, I think, and take care of yourself.
After all, the soup is getting cold.