Vitruvian vibrations: Anthony Panzera’s Leonardo Series at Dorsky

Anthony Panzera

We know and treasure Leonardo Da Vinci as much for what he represented as for what he actually created. And yet his mark is undeniable: Who does not keep, somewhere inside that ephemeral pocket of memory that we know as the mind’s eye, an image of the Mona Lisa and her smile? Or, even more importantly, his great Vitruvian Man, the image of a naked Homo sapiens centering a series of calculating designs that render our beauty understandable and our state of being somehow scientific, knowable?

“Using his own language – the visual language of drawing – Leonardo was able to do what others had failed to do,” the longstanding drawing teacher Anthony Panzera has written of the Italian master’s work, describing the roots of his own Leonardo Series, which goes on exhibition at the Dorsky Museum of Art in New Paltz this coming Wednesday, January 18, with an artist’s reception set for February 10. “The poetic synthesis linking the combined figures of the circle and the square creates a harmony of such universal proportion that the visual image allows for instant recognition and clear comprehension of the meaning behind the words. In some ways the drawing represents the very beginning of Leonardo’s investigations into human proportions, and in other ways it seems to represent the culmination of those investigations…In what finer way could his lifelong effort be epitomized than in his beautifully eloquent and most famous drawing, The Vitruvian Man?”

“The Leonardo Series: Drawings by Anthony Panzera Based on the Work of Leonardo da Vinci” features 65 drawings by Panzera, who has taught at Hunter College since the late 1960s, become a treasure of the Cape Cod area for his lifelong work capturing their beauty and stayed deeply in touch with his roots as an art student at SUNY-New Paltz a half-century ago. They are each based on notes and drawings on the human form retrieved from some 7,000 pages of da Vinci’s notebooks, yet simultaneously contemporary in their focus on modern faces and bodies and the au courant “art” of interpretation.

Beautiful and haunting while also educational, the works will be up through April 15 in the Dorsky’s Alice and Horace Chandler Gallery. The opening reception will accompany a host of other spring exhibition openings from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, February 10.

Also current at the Dorsky is the changing Museum’s current invitation to regional artists to submit proposals for its annual exhibition of mid-Hudson Valley work, to be titled “Dear Mother Nature: Hudson Valley Artists 2012” this year. The show will be under the curatorial care of Linda Weintraub, a well-known Hudson Valley art critic who has authored a number of contemporary art tomes, including the pending To Life! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet, from the University of California Press. For this year’s regional omnibus, Weintraub is asking artists “to send something to Mother Nature that expresses their relationship to her and their feelings about her.”

The exhibition will run from June 23 to November 14 in the Museum’s Alice and Horace Chandler Gallery and North Gallery, and is open to all emerging and mid-career artists with a permanent mailing address and active art practice in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties who have not had a major one-person museum exhibition and who do not have an exclusive contract with a commercial gallery. Students are not eligible. Artists who have existing artworks that are appropriate to the theme and created after 2008 should submit up to six images of work as photographs or on a flash drive, CD or DVD, with a two-minute sample of time-based works. Artists who would like to create new artworks should submit a proposal in writing (100 words) and one or more drawings, along with up to six images of related works as photographs or on a flash drive, CD or DVD. The deadline for all entries is March 1.

Send submissions to: Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, c/o SUNY-New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561, Attention: Hudson Valley Artists 2012. The submission package must include images, image captions, an artist’s biography/CV, contact information and SASE for return of materials. For information about the Dorsky Museum and its exhibitions and programs, visit or call (845) 257-3846.


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