Leonard da Vinci's "Annunciation" is now on exhibit in the Tokyo National Museum. Taking a good look at it, I realized how it is not only an excellent manifestation of the artistry of painting, but also a fine expression of human intellect.
There is this misconception that the natural media for academism are papers and essays. A piece of art, on the other hand, is often considered as something separate from these expressions of human wisdom, something in coherence with the primordial emotions and urges that are rather curbed in the pursuit of excellence in academism.
But such a view is clearly ill-conceived, and Leonard's work is a fine proof in residence. For a starter, in this painting everything looks alive, vibrant, not only Mary and Gabriel, and the flowers at the foot of the angel, the trees in distance, all those which are considered alive in the conventional world view, but also the stone wall, the mountain, the clouds, the air, and even the Bible. Such a spiritual timbre captured on panel can only come from a deep understanding of the coherences and differentiations between life and materials, the mind and matter, space and time, the essence of all living things, and the relation between man and god.
In short, "Annunciation" is an exquisite expression of a deep thinking intellectual that was Leonard, just as Origin of Species was the culmination of Charles Darwin's intellectual endeavors over many years. Leonard was in his early twenties when he did this "thesis in oil"