The disheveled. From Leonardo to Tim Roth.
A few years ago it was very successful a television series, whose protagonist was Tim Roth, entitled "Lie To Me" or "Tell me a lie".
A gifted doctor is hired by the FBI and very wealthy individuals to find out if a person is telling the truth.
He watches you, turns his head this way, turns it there and states with excellent precision whether you have told a lie or the truth.
The precursor of this technique has a name and surname and, for a change, he is called Leonardo da Vinci.
It is he who studied, theorized and used in his portraits the involuntary "micro-movements" of the face and body, which we all do and are unable to control: the motions of the soul.
As early as 1480 Leonardo began to identify the "nerves", to use his language, which are the cause of the movements of a person's face when feeling emotions.
These very small movements manifest themselves even before we can be aware of them and, therefore, control them.
The in-depth and analytical study of which Leonardo was capable provided him with incredible means to be able to depict any "motion of the soul" not so much, in this case, to recognize who is lying and who is not, but to transmit, with endless magic, the feelings that we can read on the face of Leonardo's portraits.
The scapigliata, for example, is a small picture on a panel measuring 21 by 24 cm, a little smaller than a letter sheet of today, drawn.
With only two colors, using umber for sepia tones and white lead for white, Leonardo provides us with a sample of his unique ability to put his studies into practice.
The original tablet is kept in Parma, but we can prepare to observe it very closely thanks to the easily available high-definition photos.
None of the small signs are placed at random or in a "manner" (ie following a theoretical nuance), but it is done precisely because the face was exactly marked there, that shadow faded to communicate the person's state of mind.
Leonardo describes, with an image, subtleties that no poet or writer can give us in words. It is manifest inferiority with respect to the genius of Vinci.
Today neuroscience is lavish with reading with scientific devices, diagnostic investigations, brain scans to discover the functioning of human emotions, even for commercial purposes such as "neuromarketing".
If possible we could advise: call Leonardo we do first.
Another incontrovertible proof of the genius of this painter.
Andrea Giuseppe Fadini