All Images Copyright of James Mellick
The Art of James Mellick: Da Vinci's Dog
Da Vinci's Dog, 1987
Collection of Calvin College,
Grand Rapids, MI
30" x 48" x 72”; cherry, walnut, copper
"Here Boneninni! Come here boy."
Leonardo's Italian Greyhound leapt onto the table and came face to face with a giant raptor of wood and canvas. It was a glider constructed especially for him. The sight curled his tail well beneath his delicate frame. Digging his toenails into the table, Boneninni spun around and leapt for the open door just as Leonardo caught him in mid-air.
"It's all right, boy. Nothing to be afraid of, it's just a flying machine. You'll be fine."
As the dog sat forlornly, Leonardo lowered the glider onto Boneninni's back, and being careful not to hurt the dog, attached two straps about the chest and waist.
"Wouldn't you like to be a bird for a few moments, Bone? This isn't going to hurt. Trust me."
Leonardo lifted his faithful but wimpish whippet to the ledge of his studio balcony and sent him sailing. Bone let out an inaudible cry, and as his world spun beneath him, he saw prophetic visions of dogs and monkeys floating in strange weightless machines of a future time.
How could his master betray him, leaving him vulnerable to the high technology of his day? Why did the sun melt the wings of Icarus? Why did the space shuttle Challenger explode? How dare the technology we trust turn against us! We have created a technology to which we are expendable, and at the same time, upon which we rely.
Hanging on the technological cross of his day, the dog could ask his master,
"My God, why have You forsaken me?"