Who was the odd looking character to the far right of this drawing by Leonardo da Vinci?

P17 LeonardoFourCaricatures

I’ve seen him before, a number of times… twice as caricatures by Leonardo, where he was more spruced up for the occasion than above:

columbus twiceand once in a rather earlier painting by Michael Wolgemut, of St Joseph and Nicodemus:

St.-Joseph-And-Nicodemus-On-Gold-Ground-Panels CroppedWe all know the man awfully well, of course, but not looking quite like this. And he was interested in ships:

ColumbusShipsIndeed, he was well known for it. One ship in particular:

columbus santamaria

Just in case you haven’t guessed, Leonardo spells it out:

columbus namedYes, the man that Leonardo was caricaturing was Christopher Columbus. Note the ‘O’ of ‘Cristoforo’ falls right over the famous ship. But there is more. Leonardo knew him well enough not only to make fun of him three times over, he even knew the Admiral’s deepest and darkest secret. ‘Bugiardo’, he writes. ‘Liar’.


Columbus lied. Indeed, Leonardo is telling us he told one of the biggest lies in all history.

Sorry… I have to walk the dogs! I’ll tell you more in the next post.