Back to the court of Sforza
Leonardo da Vinci is back in Milan, with the largest and most important exhibition ever organized in Italy about him. The first time he came to this city was around 1482, when he was called by the Sforza as they wanted to entrust him with a prestigious position in their court. Leonardo stayed in Milan for almost twenty years, constantly creating proof of his multifaceted genius in all the arts from painting, sculpture and music, as well as in the design of machines extraordinary for that period. He also devoted himself to the study of the anatomy, urban planning, philosophy and the whole of nature. The “mistress of their masters”he wrote of himself.
He was the universal mind. He wanted to embrace all knowledge, to understand it and unravel the secrets of the world, in the full spirit of the Renaissance.
This thrill of knowledge runs throughout the exhibit, which took five years to prepare and was inaugurated on Leonardo’s birthday, April 15th but was opened to the public on April 16th. The exhibit will run until July 19th in conjunction with the Expo 2015, the World’s Fair in Milan.
The exhibit “Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519. Drawing the World” is presented transversally and not chronologically; divided into 12 thematic sections, with more than 200 pieces including drawings and paintings, among which pieces on loan of inestimable worth.
It is possible to view three masterpieces from the Louvre (La Belle Ferronnière, The Annunciation, St. John the Baptist) and four other extraordinary paintings from various venues (Madonna Dreyfus from Washington, St. Jerome from the Vatican, The Scapiliata from Parma and Portrait of a Musician from Milan’s Pinacoteca Ambrosiana). There are also 30 original drawings from the Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and around forty drawings from the famous Codex Atlanticus. One of the pieces which will draw the largest number of visitors is the celebrated Vitruvian Man from Venice, the ink drawing with touches of watercolor which depicts the proportions of the human body according to Vitruvius.
Art and science to celebrate the perfection of the Universe
Each section dividing the exhibit touches areas dear to Leonardo, such as inventions and the visionary utopias for allowing men to fly, or physiognomy with grotesque portraits revealing the movements of the soul. Together with Leonardo’s works are pieces from other renowned artists such as Botticelli, so as to demonstrate the great influence his models had on his contemporaries and subsequent followers.
Drawings remain the common thread of the entire exhibit and their immediacy seems to allow the visitor to get into touch with the whirlwind of Leonardo’s mind in a continuous flow of ideas and images.
Emotions are in full swing, in every hall visitors are spellbound before the works, as if enraptured by the intuitions of Leonardo’s genius and by the beauty of his accomplishments, able to involve, at the same time, reason and feeling. For Leonardo, in fact, science and art coincide, each studied the perfection of the Universe and with equal dignity he examined them both.
At the end of the exhibit, there is a space dedicated to diverse interpretations of the Mona Lisa, including that of Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp; there are even a daring few depicting her nude.
It is a journey into the mind of a genius, surprisingly actual and always inspiring which was welcomed with great affection even in the words of Milan’s Mayor, “Milan welcomes back Leonardo with an enthusiastic greeting, like that of a friend and teacher.”
A beautiful friendship which has lasted for over 500 years.
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Skyra
Photo Editing: Luca Pradella