[NetBehaviour] speculation about renaissance knots

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 16 18:47:55 CEST 2020

Hi all,

Just some free-association ideas of late.  The Italian for knot is "nodo," same as node and nexus:

node (n.)early 15c., "a knot or lump," from Latin nodus "knot" (from PIE root *ned- "to bind, tie"). Originally borrowed c. 1400 in Latin form, meaning "lump in the flesh." Meaning "point of intersection" (originally in astronomy, of planetary orbits with the ecliptic) is recorded from 1660s.

nexus (n.)1660s, "bond, link, interdependence between members of a series or group; means of communication," from Latin nexus "that which ties or binds together," past participle of nectere "to bind," from PIE root *ned- "to bind, tie."

Leonardo made a number of knot images for his own "academy."  Many read "Academia Leonardi" with the word "Vici" at the center which means "won" in Latin and is a pun on his surname "Vinci" which means "win" in Italian, and "worsted" (as in the type of yarn) in Latin.


firmly twisted yarn or thread spun from combed, stapled wool fibers of the same length, for weaving, knitting, etc.Compare woolen.
wool cloth woven from such yarns, having a hard, smooth surface and no nap.
consisting or made of worsted.

Many of Leonardo's compositions use the concept and motif of the knot.

  *   The neckline embroidery of the Mona Lisa uses the same knot pattern as the border of Leonardo's sixth Academia logo.
  *   The Battle of Anghiari, per Rubens' copy of the lost original, is a highly knotted composition of helicity, vortices, and sub-vortices as well as crossed swords/horses/limbs/figures
  *   The Salvator Mundi uses an angular knot pattern on the diagonal sashes as in the angular First Knot logo of the Academia
  *   The Academia logo knots all have "corners" on the diagonals, rather than the compass or cruciform points
  *   The lamb's foot reaches out and crosses Mary's in The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
  *   The diagonal lines and cruciform spindle in Madonna of the Yarnwinder
  *   Encompassed diagonals and interiority in both versions of Madonna of the Rocks
  *   Knots in the tablecloth and colliding wave-form of the line of figures in The Last Supper
  *   Possible minimalist reference to knots by simplification in John the Baptist
  *   Compositional involution of Adoration of the Magi
  *   Interwoven foliage and branches in Sala delle Asse
  *   Embroidery and architectural detail in Annunciazione

Durer made some detailed copies of Leonardo's knots and works as well, one with his own initials at the center


Coronavirus is also a kind of a knot in a way too.  Knots are not unrelated to prehistoric stone circles, labyrinths, medicine wheels, mandalas, and the like.  Perhaps questions, decisions, and selections are kind of like knots as well?

All best regards and happy Friday to all!



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