Leonardo Da Vinchi collaborated with Marcantonio della Torre, an anatomist from the University of Pavia. Their collaboration is important because it marries the artist with the scientist.

Can marries be replaced with married without meaning difference because the action happened in the past?

Or is the present tense preferred to have an agreement with the verb tense of the main clause?


This look like an example of the historical present. You are quite right, it could have been written in the past tense, and many would say it should have been.

Just to be even more clear, there is no need to agree "marries" with "is". "Married" would be fine.

| improve this answer | |
  • Your second paragraph isn't right. While marries doesn't need to agree with celebrated, it does need to agree with is. You would not say their collaboration was important because it marries the artist with the scientist. Nor would you say their collaboration is important because it married the artist with the scientist. – Jason Bassford Mar 27 '19 at 14:54

I believe the cause of your confusion is that you assume the "marriage" referred to here (not a literal marriage of course, but a metaphor for a "union") is between the two persons Leonardo Da Vinci and Marcantonio della Torre. I'm not sure that is the case.

Da Vinci is primarily thought of as an artist, but he is also regarded as something of a scientist himself. Much of his work was not simply artistic but he went to extreme lengths to sketch with anatomical correctness. I located the source of your quotation and the overarching theme does seem to be about Da Vinci's sketching accuracy.

I feel that the intended meaning of your quotation is that the relationship between these two men (an artist and a scientist) explains Da Vinci's interest in science and helps to "marry" the two sides of Da Vinci's work - Da Vinci the artist and Da Vinci the scientist.

Therefore it is quite correct to say that this "marries the artist with the scientist" because it is not referring to a union made between two men in the past, but rather the reconciliation in the mind of the reader now of the two sides of the one man.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.